Looking over the hill

Aging has been on my mind for the past couple of years: Dad’s passing; Mom’s ongoing health issues (culminating with breast cancer and ultimate death from stroke); Liz’s decline and transition to assisted living; and my own body afflicted with more aches and pain, diminished strength and slower healing, even my vision with accelerated presbyopia and my optometrist recently informing me of my cataracts (granted: a level 1 on a scale of 10, so very early stage).

I see advancing age everywhere. We recently bought a Google Nest Hub smart home device which displays random photos from years past, and I notice how much younger we all seem in the pictures. Especially me… I see a far more youthful self in photos just a few years old. And I see Paul aging in pictures too. With his retirement in the past months I see behavioral changes in his daily habits, routines and schedules.. even attitude.

50 was my crossover point. At that age everything started to look and feel differently for me. I’m now 52 years old and have always felt younger than I actually am… and I still do. Just looking at the number “52” doesn’t seem applicable to me. And that’s a good thing: I do want to have energy, health and a generally positive outlook no matter my age.

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Welcome to 2022! It’s a relief to turn the page on 2021 and finally look forward to some exciting prospects and new adventures. While I have some specific milestones, the timeline remains unclear due to the continued COVID pandemic.

We are now in a significant surge with the US reporting several days of 500,000+ new cases. The new omicron virus variant is highly contagious but fortunately not as dangerous as the previous delta variant, which took a heavy toll last year. New studies indicate that omicron doesn’t infect the lungs, so hospitalizations are not expected to rise in proportion to the infection rate. This week South Africa (where omicron was first detected) reported that new infections are on the decline, so researchers in the US are expecting a similar fast climb (and fall) of infections with the peak hitting in the next 1-2 weeks.

Of course this has thrown my company’s return to office plans into question. We were expected to be on site starting January 10, but shortly before our December break they announced that this had “softened” in light of omicron and that we should follow the guidance of our managers. And since my boss was on vacation, I haven’t received any update. But I would be surprised if this date still holds given the rapid spread, and if for some reason it remains firm I’ll give immediate notice since I don’t plan to return to San Diego. And even if I were planning to relocate to San Diego and continue working, I wouldn’t be comfortable right now staying in AirBnBs, apartment hunting, furniture shopping, etc. and this would be an excessive ask from my company.

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