My greatest teacher died the other day, at age 91.
For the last 34 years of her life — since retirement — Mom became increasingly angry and bitter. Her disdain for humanity and her smoking isolated her from the rich potential of time and untapped talents.
She talked of volunteering and painting and travel, but did none of it.
She used that talk to buy stuff that would let her pursue those passions, but let them sit in the closet.
Mindless consumerism — manifest most absurdly in the serial purchase of yet another house, just a few blocks from the old one, 12 in that period — filled her days.
Trips to discount stories to buy or return previous purchases consumed the hours outside her Realtor’s office.
She was smart and educated, but off the rails. Her misanthropy further expressed itself in openly cruel comments to strangers, and racist dismissal of black and Asian immigrants.
One of them was with her when she passed.
What a sad, wasted time.
But a great lesson, in how not to engage aging.