Sunday, March 8, 2015

Marigolds, Aging, and Community

Yesterday I met a friend to see The Second Amazing Marigold Hotel.  Is that the name of this film?  My confusion over the title aptly demonstrates that I am not a devotee of the first film; in fact, I have yet to see it.

Now I'm not opposed to this movie.  There's no good reason why I haven't seen the first one.  I haven't seen many movies in the past few years, either at the theatre or on DVD/other delivery systems.  The tides will turn again, and at some point, I'll find time to watch movies again.

Luckily I have friends who occasionally insist that we must go see a certain film.  And if I'm free, I go.  Hence, my movie outing yesterday.

I loved this movie, as I knew I would.  I'll save some of my more secular comments for my creativity blog.  Here I'd like to consider community and aging.

Many of the characters in this movie are quite old--the one age mentioned is 79--what a change to see characters who are much older and yet still living vibrant lives.  They work, they have sex, they travel.  We should all be so lucky as to age that well.

One of the reasons why they are living vibrant lives is that they all live together in this hotel.  They have a substitute family.  They look out for each other, from the basic check in the morning to make sure no one has died in the night, to the boosting of each other's spirits, to the encouraging each character to live his or her best life.

I loved the basic message of the film, that it's never too late to reach for what one wants--but one day it will be too late, and we should all take action while we can.

The one place where the film is a bit fanciful is that none of these characters seems to experience much in the way of debilitation.  They are not hampered by mobility issues.  They all have well-functioning brains.  No one has a chronic disease or anything more life-threatening, except, of course, for death, an event that is not too far off.

I want to believe that if one of them suffered one of the many catastrophes of aging, that the others would figure out a way to take care of the one who needed more care.  And since there are so many of them, the caretaking would not be too onerous.

I know so many people who are engaged in onerous caretaking.  I have a few friends who could use some additional people nearby to help occasionally.  And I suspect that we'd all do better if we had wider communities.

I wrote a short story set in the near future.  A character stops at a church camp where his great grandparents had been counselors and realizes that part of the camp has been transformed into retirement living, including care of the aged who need more attention.

I love this idea of moving to Lutheridge in my senior years. I have a vision of a crafts lodge where I'd meet with friends to work on projects.  I have a vision of daily chapel.  I have a vision of long walks around the lake loop while we watch the seasons change.

The Second Amazing Marigold Hotel touches on some of these longings.  But it doesn't go nearly far enough or deeply enough.

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