Keeping Things in Perspective (Kloé Desrosiers)
Below is a guest blog from Kloé Desrosiers in Ottawa regarding a conversation she had with an Uber driver who was struggling with being retired and growing older, as we all must:
I once got into a car where the Uber driver told me that he was a pilot for years for a very big airplane. He made lots of money, travelled everywhere and had lots of loves. I joked and said that he must have had the life. He abruptly said no. I tensed up as I thought that the car ride was about to get really awkward. It kind of did.
He said that even though he’s lived the “perfect life”, he doesn’t feel like it anymore since retiring. He began to tell me how growing old can really take a toll on your mental health. He doesn’t see his family anymore. He doesn’t enjoy his hobbies anymore. He doesn’t do anything anymore. He was really open about the fact that he is incredibly unfulfilled and depressed. He also said that he is only an Uber driver at night to de-stress and keep himself busy.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about this conversation a lot. I came up with two conclusions:
1. A fulfilling life is arbitrary, and fulfillment can be taken away from someone. (in other words, we really shouldn’t take fulfillment for granted).
2. We don’t really talk about the mental impact of becoming old. Needless to say, it was one of the most real conversations I’ve ever had.
So thank you Uber driver that I will probably never meet again. I am more aware about the elderly and the mental health challenges that they may be facing – I’m a little bit of a better human thanks to you.