Lately, nary a day goes by that I don't hear news of another illness, and tragic illness at that, people my own age with terminal cancer, MS, ALS, Parkinson's disease. I'll be honest with you - I feel as if I'm in a war zone of sickness, dodging bullets filled with disease. Every night I'm able to go to bed unscathed is another battle won. Where is this all death and darkness coming from? I'm not buying the fact that its purely demographics, that all my acquaintances are "of a certain age" and therefore prone to illness. There's simply too much of it.
I'm more likely to give credence to the theory that our combination of additive filled foods and polluted environment are slowly but surely contaminating us. The cumulative effect of years of poor nutrition and exposure to environmental hazards is finally catching up with us, setting off all sorts of adverse chemical processes in our bodies and causing them to turn on us.
I'm also becoming more and more convinced that the 21st century lifestyle is lethal. You know what I'm talking about - the constant stresses about money and jobs, the worries about terrorism and war, the persistent gloomy predictions about everything from the economy to the survival of planet earth. Add to that the frantic pace of daily life, the constant bombardment of phones and e-mail and social media demanding our attention, the feeling that there's never enough time in the day to accomplish all the tasks clamoring for our attention.
Frankly, I'm completely exhausted.
Last week as we attempted to jump through all the necessary hoops to satisfy our insurance company's requirement for reimbursement, I collapsed on the sofa in frustration.
"F*@# it," I said. "I give up. Let's take all our money and go live in a hut in some third world country where they've never heard of insurance. We'll just live there until we get sick and then we'll die in peace in our own bed."
"Fine," my husband said, tossing his pencil and calculator aside. "When do we leave?"
I was only half kidding then, and the more I think about, the more serious I become. The thought of living this kind of lifestyle for the remainder of my days is becoming almost too daunting to contemplate. Not to mention trying to cope with the myriad of ways life will change over the next 25 or 30 years - there's me, quaking in my proverbial boots.
Here's what I'm really looking for, the image that comes to mind as the ideal lifestyle - Mayberry. The little town in North Carolina that was home to Sheriff Andy Taylor, Aunt Bee, little Opie, and daffy detective Barney Fife. Life was slow and easy, and the biggest problems were whether Otis would need to dry out overnight in his comfy jail cell or Barney would lose his single daily bullet allotment. Supper was shared every night at the same time, followed by a spell of settin' on the porch. Maybe Andy would get out his guitar and sing a few songs before everyone headed off to bed.
I dream of going back to a time and place like that, and I know it's an impossibility. But I feel as if I'm living on borrowed time here - if the economy and the crime and the stress don't get me, then one of those horrible diseases everyone seems prey to surely will.
I also feel like a sitting duck, waiting here powerlessly for it all to happen.
I don't like that feeling one bit.
How about you? Where would you go to escape the stress and dangers of modern life?