I gave myself one task per month
to prepare for the terrifying role
of being old.
I was confused but I was committed.
Month by month I tackled
my housing and hobbies
friendships and finance
diet and exercise
learning and voice.
Then meditation and happiness
late stage identity
and lastly, reluctantly, carefully
attempting to face my mortality.
That was the plan, you can call it obsessive
call it silly or selfish, neurotic, excessive
but hey, it was at least systematic
and a plan gives you power, a sense of control.
You can’t control death and it’s coming regardless
but you can get to grips in advance
with small things
so you know
you can still be yourself and the boss of yourself
you’re getting the gist, keeping up with the play
making decisions and having a go—
those precious and familiar gifts
that can slither away as you grow old.
Poem and photo Rachel McAlpine, CC BY 2.0