The older I get, the more I think about what my old age might be like (assuming I get there at all, that is). If I outlive my husband, I picture myself living in a small apartment in the city with my pet dog and cats. But is a city the best place for an old person to be?
If you live alone, is it better to be in a city like New York and be surrounded by so many people so you can feel a part of something just by virtue of proximity? Or does being that close to humanity without any significant connections only exacerbate feelings of loneliness?
A lot has to do with who your neighbors are. I've been really lucky throughout my life to have had, for the most part, pretty great neighbors. It makes you feel as though someone might actually notice if you didn't emerge from your apartment for days, and that you wouldn't end up like a typical CSI episode where the corpse isn't found for weeks. And then I realize that actually that experience, as awful as it sounds, really happens (see the film Dreams of a Life if you don't believe me).
If I lived in the country, I'd probably wake up to beautiful scenery every day, but I think I'd feel removed from the world at large. Granted, a lot has to do with whether I'd be mobile or not, since when you have a car you can get to other people. But who wants to be driving in their old age? Frankly, I could quit driving tomorrow and be just fine, but that's a bit impractical at this stage in my life, unless I strike it rich and hire a chauffeur, which is rather improbable.
I think it would be great to be old in New York City. I'd take the dogs out for a walk in Battery Park, I'd sit on the park benches by the river with a stack of books that I'm plowing through, and I'd rock up to PJ Clarke's for a big juicy burger for lunch (clearly I'm not suffering from high cholesterol in my old age). I'd then check out the latest flicks on offer in Tribeca, and emerge from the theater just in time for happy hour, where I'd pony up to the bar and the bartender would look sympathetically at me and say, Now do you think a third Bloody Mary is such a good idea?
You'd better believe I think a third is a good idea. This is my old age, after all, and I don't live in the suburbs and have to get in my car to drive home, so keep ‘em coming.