Recently been thinking of my apartment as my pyramid. If we are lucky we create around us a living environment that combines things we love with things we use regularly, all well thought out as the material reality that enriches and strengthens our lives. I moved into 42 Grand Street in 1978 just 3 years after moving to NYC from New Haven CT. At the time it seemed quite large, but over these now 45 years it seems to have gotten smaller. Last renovation was in 2000 just before the towers went down (watched them fall from West Broadway and Grand holding hands with Dona Ann McAdams who had been at the Downtown Courthouse for jury duty.) New landlord in 2016 managed to paint and repair wall & ceiling cracks. The apartment was left to me by my old University of Maryland friend Suzette Martinez Theodorou who lived here with her husband for several years and then moved to Vermont to start a family. It is basically 3 rooms unseparated by doors. Over the years I have customized it so that the quirks (no bathroom sink, for instance) are workable. I control my own heat and have a window air conditioner, but there is no light, as the windows all look out onto the brick walls of neighboring buildings so I often also think of it as my cave, as in Plato’s allegory.
So in this project of aging in place and avoiding falls and hospitals I turn to this home, my customized survival unit, and find, thanks to a seemingly clear mind, I have everything I could want to do just that, even though I drop things and spill things and rarely can perform even the smallest task without mishap and/or pain.
Life has become a series of bubbles. Each one providing a time of tasking towards the ultimate burst when something happens - like someone coming to visit or work with me, or a delivery of delicious food. Never really know much ahead of time what I am working at or what I expect to happen in each developing bubble. This is just the way I am spending whatever time left to me.
No longer capable of taking on the uncomfortable. Going anywhere unknown where I will be expected to comply to circumstances that do not support my limitations is just no longer something I am willing to attempt, especially at night. Any physical exertion cannot happen unless I am mindful of exactly what I am attempting - personal mindfulness being the only safe way to go anywhere.
It is not selfish to practice self-care and cultivate self-awareness. Our personal senses are indeed the center of whatever happens, no matter who we also help and love, even when it is the other who motivates us and gives us purpose. Until we have made peace with our relationship with the self, we cannot ultimately relate to a wider role in the dance of life and help others find their way.
I seek to nurture what is, reach out for what may be, and forever apply three hard-learned maxims for going forward-Acceptence, Gratitude & Patience.
Thanks for all you do.