I’ve been thinking about my friend Muriel. For thirty years, we were the best of friends, even though she is fourteen years older than I am. We always seemed to be able to solve each other’s problems.
Over the past few years, she hasn’t done so well. She has lost her husband of more than fifty years. I just heard through a mutual friend that she is having short-term memory problems, and needs an aide to help her read her mail.
I have a copy of an essay that Muriel wrote about how she felt about being in her 70’s. She started the decade with a white-water rafting trip in the Grand Canyon. But she was feeling less adventurous as the years went by. She wrote about how much she enjoyed exercising and the memoir-writing classes she taught. She wrote about losing friends and the looming “statistical scoreboard.” But she was happy.
Now, I am in my seventies, feeling less immortal, and wondering what I’ll be like in fourteen years. But I am still asking myself, “What Would Muriel Do?