I remember when I first heard about the concept of planned obsolescence. It was in the eighth grade when I read for a book report Vance Packard's "The Hidden Persuaders." I was horrified. But now I'm changing my tune. I see that many of my clothes and personal effects are wearing out, and I kind of like that idea. It has definite appeal for a clutteroholic like me who is missing the throwaway gene and who says, in feeble self-defense, that she sees the poetry in everything. It's hard for me to get to the second step of discarding the "dead" item. But instead of making excuses, I've begun to ask myself, where would I be if everything lasted forever?
I'm realizing that the same is true of my old body. As any gardener knows, to give a declining plant a new lease on life, some serious cutting back is necessary. We all get our moment (as my Italian neighbors like to say, "E' suo tempo") and then it's time to make way for new blood. As good as I like to think I am at my work, I admire the youthful energy I see in the next generation getting ready to step into my shoes.
I can also say that other families than mine seem to do better with the concept of "game over." That is something we just never learned. So when my brother died unexpectedly at age 63, following in my father's footsteps, it was a terrible shock.
I now see what a tricky business it is to try to protect a child from the truth of the life cycle. A number of dear friends have currently been hit with some very bad prognoses. We hope for the best, but need to ready for whatever comes.