Seniors: Metamorphosis Is Not Just for Butterflys

Jul 3rd, 2009 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

My first real question is why do we call them butterflys?  Butter works, but why the fly part? Sounds like a creation oxymoron.  Flys are pests.  Butterflys are a touch of heaven.  This is not really a point I choose to push all the way to the linguistic courts, but it seems it needs some rethinking. 

Butterflys, as all know from early educational training, go through a metamorphosis.  The question is “doesn’t everything?” 

Everybody who wakes up in the morning has just completed another cycle of metamorphosis.  One day older, maybe even “deeper in debt” we aren’t the same person we were 24 hours ago.  We have changed. Our lives have undergone subtle, but nonetheless real, adaptations.  It may be reflected in our health, our faces, our step, our sight and insights, our view of ourselves and the world. 

Sometimes it confronts us dramatically.  Especially for those who are older, we begin to envision our need to make plans and expect alterations in our living patterns, even our homes, our diet, our regimen of activities, sometimes influenced by less quick agility. 

Among the really big ones to be faced are things like the children moving back home.  That is one increasingly parents of 20’s, 30’s and 40 years old have had surprise them at their front doors. What happens when a sour economy forces children into no other option?  That’s tough all around, a metamorphosis requiring huge adjustments, sometimes even a referee. 

What about divorce or do we even want to go there?  It happens and to people well into their retirement years.  A couple, in their  70th year of marriage, was asked why they waited so long to get a divorce.  Their reply “we wanted the children all to be gone.”  Metamorphosis has a way of exacting its presence in subtle, but very definite ways.  Even, late in life there are no guarantees that change won’t happen, that disruptions  and dislocations won’t occur. 

Moving from a long term domicile to another less large and more convenient location is often a major metamorphosis.  It requires struggling with the reality of why it is necessary, conversations and deliberations on the pros and cons, the reality of sorting through and ridding yourself of all the memorabilia, or most of it, that has defined your life.  This is, along with giving up driving, among the most depressing and inevitably pressing of the changes we face. 

The really big one, however, is not just choosing or deciding or recognizing or having others help one adjust to the need to move into a “facility.”  It may be an assisted care facility, a nursing home, a care center for specific need patients, i.e. Alzheimer’s. Whatever the facility, it requires a huge, “ginormous” pliabilty, likely never before experienced in any other way. 

These metamorphoses are out there awaiting us.  Denial of their presence and ultimate reality is not an uncommon coping mechanism.  While it doesn’t work, it allows procrastination for a while to be the solution.  Inevitably, change prevails.  So, what and how we do about it is up to us, “in the final analysis.”

My English teachers always told me that using that cliche was unacceptable.  I wonder, if in their “final analysis,” they realized that it is, however, apt to the universal condition of aging .

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