Oliver: Retirements test resolve of the change-resistant

Joan Oliver
Joan Oliver

So many changes come with this process of aging – things that most of us just don’t think about. Or maybe we don’t know to think about them.

Sure, we know about the graying or thinning hair, the spread around the middle, the inevitable aches and pains. Most of us come to expect at least a few, mostly because we’ve heard our elders talk about them. Who didn’t have a grandparent or aunt or uncle who made a production out of getting out of a chair? Sure, we laughed then, but somehow it’s not so funny when it happens to us. Or maybe it’s even funnier now because we recognize that we’ve gotten there, too.

When we are young, we often think our choices will last forever. If we just make a good choice now, we’ll never have to think about it again. Or maybe that was just me. Particularly when it came to service providers. Once I found someone I was happy with, my loyalty was a given.

That’s probably why I’ve had the same hairdresser since I lived in Woodstock after graduating from college. He’s been great, so I’ve seen no reason to go elsewhere.

When I got married, I latched onto my husband’s eye doctor and dentist. I loved them both.

Once I found an allergist, I’d dutifully go weekly for shots, then every other month or so to check in and manage what needed managing.

When Tony’s mother died and we inherited some stock, we found ourselves a great accountant who’s been doing our taxes for years. As our lives have gotten more complicated, it’s been a relief to have someone who knows what he’s doing.

All of these folks have been in my life for decades.

Of course, when I met them, I was a much younger woman. At the time, most of them were at least a little older than I was. This was something I honestly never even gave a second thought.

As time has passed, though, none of us has gotten any younger. Sure, I’d hear each of them mention that wonderful day in the future when they’d call it a career and head off to rest and relaxation. In my mind, that day was always off in the distance.

Unfortunately, that future is now.

First, my wonderful dentist decided to teach instead of practice in a sort of quasi-retirement.

Then, my beloved allergist retired, leaving me to find another doctor.

Just recently, my longtime, awesome accountant informed me that he’s retiring in December.

And my hairdresser, well, he’s already counting the days until his wife retires and they can move to Montana. In the meantime, he’s scaled back to working just a couple of days. Happily, he still has time for me.

I’m afraid to call my eye doctor, since he’d already started scaling back his work schedule a couple of years ago.

Did I mention how much I don’t like change? Did I also mention that all of this is making me feel, well, old?

The good news, so far at least, is that my “replacements” all seem to be working out.

My new dentist couldn’t be nicer, spending a lot of time getting to know me. My new allergist has a caring demeanor and no-nonsense approach that I appreciate. And my accountant already has introduced me to my new accountant at the firm. All good.

Still, they all seem to be a lot younger than I am. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Then again, that probably means I won’t have to watch them retire anytime soon. Thank goodness.

• Joan Oliver is a former Northwest Herald assistant news editor. She has been associated with the Northwest Herald since 1990. She can be reached at

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