Mary,

You’re welcome to your take. I appreciate that you say you “mean this nicely,” but I rather question that based on your subsequent comments.

You are also making assumptions here that are erroneous. I neither see a naturopath nor eat organic food. My comment stated that “we eat organic when we can and lean towards naturopaths.” I was speaking of the larger community which works hard on its health. I can see how you might make that assumption but in my case, it’s not the case. Well, with one exception: when my local health store offers free sessions with their in house-naturopath. Then, of course I do.

My health care comes from the VA which has its own set of issues, about which I write in detail elsewhere. In my case, Mary, I can afford neither. I go on adventures because I carefully save my pennies by not buying stupid stuff. I have a roommate who helps pay the rent and utilities. I live on a military disability income. Does that make me privileged? Entitled? When I go on trips I stay in cheap youth hostels, find the least expensive way to stay, and pay for them in part by writing for clients who want me to talk about them. That said I still have to take care of my own airfare. I find every single possible creative way to pay for what I love. This is hardly a life of five star-resorts and comfort.

People have this incredible knee-jerk assumption about the word adventures- which to them means scads of money, National Geographic cruises, the like- when if you would ask, or do your research, you might learn that the industry has offerings that are remarkably inexpensive if you’re willing to subject yourself to serious discomfort. I most certainly am. People say I’m lucky to go on them but here’s the lie in that: I worked my living rear off for forty years to become a good writer. I’ve marketed my tush off to get hired by some of these companies to pay part of the cost. They aren’t free. They’re reduced in cost, but at least I can make trade outs. Is that privileged or lucky? NO. I put four hard decades into learning how to write well enough, sell, and market. That’s earned. Nobody handed that to me because I was white.

I understand and value your point. But on some things you are dead wrong. Many, many people do precisely what you appear to do here: assume perfect health, assume scads of money, assume all kinds of things that are patently untrue. What makes it even more sad is that I get this a lot from women in your and my age category.

You can read anything you like into what I write. You can make any manner of assumptions about what you call “privilege.” Given that I not only lost organs in the military but also got brutally and repeatedly raped- well, does that also make me “privileged?”

I am sorry for your health issues. However you are one of those people I am referring to in this article who goes out and moves. Takes charge despite the conditions or issues in their lives. Others would call you privileged, Mary, to be able to kayak and do what you love. At 77. To me that’s awesome. It’s all a matter of perspective.

I’m sorry that you got the impressions you did. However, clearly that brings up issues for that are not of my making. You are indeed living out loud. So am I, in my own way, to my best ability and within the very real financial limitations I have. My savings account is damned near empty because of some very bad international clients. I’m doing my level best to refill it by doing what I love and getting paid a bit here and there for it.

Is that entitled? Privileged? No, Mary. It isn’t. I’m busting my ass as hard as I can. I just took one angle here and developed it.

What is heartbreaking about your post is this: I’m fit, walk, hike, ski and kayak despite having had open heart surgery and a triple bypass three years ago.

Yet you say you “hate it.”

Do you honestly not see how amazing this is? How fortunate you are? How remarkable your story is?

Consider the options, Mary. Just consider the options. We can be bitter and angry about getting older or, we can get out into the world and do something about it. You have. But based on your comment, you’re still very unhappy. That’s nobody else’s doing, and accusing someone else of being privileged due to their being white is genuinely unfortunate. To say the least, since I’ve done years of prize winning work in diversity I think I might have a bit of an understanding about “white privilege.” Especially since I grew up with two families: one white, one Black. Both were poor, one slightly more than the other. That hardly makes me privileged.

Out of respect, I checked your profile. There’s nothing on it. You haven’t published anything yet. So I can’t do you the respect of hoping to understand the larger Mary.

We all have our battles. You have won a big one, Mary. It might be a wicked wondrous gift to yourself to take a touch more joy in what you have accomplished. By doing what you’ve done you’ve not only bought more time for yourself, but it’s quality time.

A great many people don’t have that “privilege.”

When you read articles on Medium, it sometimes makes sense to read a few other articles by an author to get a larger sense of who they are and what they talk about before you make these kinds of assumptions, Mary. I try to. That honors who they are, the larger view of their world, and if I have a comment, it’s tempered by taking the time to invest in understanding.

I wish you the best. You ARE living out loud. I hope you realize that some day.

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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