Aging

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What is your age?

  • Are younger than 60?

    Votes: 37 17.1%
  • Are you 60 to 70?

    Votes: 83 38.4%
  • Are you 70 to 80?

    Votes: 85 39.4%
  • Are you 80 to 90?

    Votes: 11 5.1%
  • Are you over 90?

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    216

Seevee

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Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
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usa
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430 Mainship
After reading Teds thread about the end of the line with slow hand, it prompted me to start a new thread about how to handle aging, and what limits and changes we make with boating.


I made it to 78 last year and am still alive. The biggest toll on my body has been the lack of strength and energy. It became significant in my early 70s.


My mind is also slowing down. I go the garage to get a screwdriver to fix something. On the way I divert over to the laundry room to close the door. While there, I put the washer load into the drier and forget to turn it on. So, I head to the garage and when I get there... what was I here for? On the way back, I see the laundry door open and the light on, but just walk past to get back to my coffee.


I love the boat and really feel that it's an "old man's boat". Is super easy to handle and I've got a great place to keep it and easy to launch. So, I make a regular solo run a few times a week over to the American Legion to see friend, grab a bite and perhaps a beer. On the way back, I'll often get it up to speed to dust the cobwebs off for a few minutes.



So far, so good, so what are the options as age continues?


Keep the boat until I croak? (Probably not the best idea)



Sell the boat and retire to the land, permanently? (don't think that's for me)


Get a motor home? (No frickin way!)


Get a smaller boat? (good idea)


Do one more Loop trip? (would love to)


Keep my mind active? (great idea, I don't read books, so I'm a forum junkie to keep my mind going)


Other thoughts?
 
........My mind is also slowing down. I go the garage to get a screwdriver to fix something. On the way I divert over to the laundry room to close the door. While there, I put the washer load into the drier and forget to turn it on. So, I head to the garage and when I get there... what was I here for? On the way back, I see the laundry door open and the light on, but just walk past to get back to my coffee......


I read that and thought, I don't remember writing that! anyhow what is the Post that has a dock. There is one in Jacksonville, Post 237 I believe on a canal to the St Johns River I want to ride up to from Palatka.
 
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Any boater faces the same issues and questions as we age. It's an inevitable fact of life. Unless one passes in their sleep, the realities of aging mean our bodies deteriorate and the ability to safely and comfortable do things diminishes. Along with being able to handle a boat.

It's human nature to respond to unpleasant things with denial and delusion. They're the most powerful forces in human behavior. But time still runs, arthritis and other infirmities happen. Flexibility and reflexes suffer.

With boating the problem is a degenerating body usually declines gradually. When do you draw the line? Some kind of traumatic event or accident makes things starkly clear, but otherwise when does one admit it's time for a change?

As one ages the probability of something going wrong goes up. Much, maybe even most, of the time we can muddle through. But then there comes the tense docking situation, or needing to move quickly on a wet deck to fend off or grab a line, that results in something bad happening. Which becomes magnified if someone else gets hurt in the process.

Most people here love boating and don't want to give it up or acknowledge when it's time. Including me. The slope of the line of my deterioration has taken a sobering acceleration downward in recent years, the result of health problems of aging and the depressing consequences of Long COVID. It is what it is.

There are no easy, quick answers, no magic pill that will make everything all right. We all age at different rates, have our own genetics and health issues that make each path unique. What works for one person may not be the right answer at all for someone else.

For myself, I'm trying one more (almost certainly) last dance with a boat. I tried to incorporate as many features into the boat as I could think of with thoughts of making it easier for an aging, arthritic body to handle. Most notably, full walk-around side decks, protected not just by a high railing but bulwarks. The reality is at this age, my days of clinging to a 5" wide narrow, wet shelf of a 'deck' on a tossing boat to hang fenders, fend off, or handle lines, are over.

A big engine room with plenty of space to move around and easy access to systems was also a priority. Again, arthritis and spinal nerve entrapment mean my days of contorting myself like a Cirque du Soleil acrobat into tight, convoluted spaces are also long over. The only way I can reach something is if it has easy, open, unimpeded access.

I'm also done with ladders on boats. I could probably do them much of the time, but an incident with a poor outcome with a ladder is a question of not if but when. I've entered the stairs only time of life.

I don't know how long these accommodations will work for me, or if they'll work at all. But I'll give it a try, and hope that I'll be objective enough and have the good sense to accept when I can't comfortably do it anymore.

Getting a smaller boat seems like a very good idea as one ages. Those pesky laws of physics: it's easier to handle a smaller boat than a bigger one (some Devlin designs are very appealing in that regard). With the usual 20/20 hindsight it would have been smarter to buy a smaller boat than the one I did; I probably could have handled it longer.

In the meantime I'll try to enjoy it as much and for as long as I can, however long that might be.

A short Buddhist parable:

The Tiger and the Strawberry

Once upon a time, as a man was walking through a forest, he saw a tiger peering out at him from the underbrush. As the man turned to run, he heard the tiger spring after him to give chase.

Barely ahead of the tiger, running for his life, our hero came to the edge of a steep cliff. Clinging onto a strong vine, the man climbed over the cliff edge just as the tiger was about to pounce.

Hanging over the side of the cliff, with the hungry tiger pacing above him, the man looked down and was dismayed to see another tiger, stalking the ravine far below. Just then, a tiny mouse darted out from a crack in the cliff face above him and began to gnaw at the vine.

At that precise moment, the man noticed a patch of wild strawberries growing from a clump of earth near where he dangled. Reaching out, he plucked one. It was plump, and perfectly ripe; warmed by the sunshine.

He popped the strawberry into his mouth. It was perfectly delicious. How sweet it was!

The End.

--------

Let's all enjoy the strawberries we might come upon, while we can.
 
Greetings,
Messrs. S & C. HAH! Took the words right off my keyboard! Yep. Waning strength, loss of muscle mass, lack of energy AND initiative. Memory? What's that? Chronic back pain. Don't do laundry. I've read somewhere "Of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most".



If I don't have my afternoon lie down that sometimes turns into a nap, I'm toast around 5:00 PM. WITH a nap, I can last 'til 11:00 PM or so. I'm only 73 so I wonder what shape (or lack thereof) I'll be in when I'm 103...


iu





Interestingly, to me at least, is I don't care to drive my car fast (freeway speeds) all that much anymore BUT we were out on the "new" boat on Wednesday and I got a real thrill running 30+mph in 3' seas. REALLY impressed with cats!



Yes it DOES suck but I'm somewhat resigned to my fate. Life's STILL a cosmic adventure...
 
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Having just gone through a situation with my Mom who just passed at 98....she was great at 96 (mentally, less so physically) and a mess at 98.

So some have the ability to be pretty functional in one or the other...physical or mental. The lucky but rare have both right to the end.

Having a boat is one thing. Cruising is another. I have a friend that has a beautiful cruising sailboat that he sits and drinks beer on more than ever moving it. He sits in a beautiful motorhome on his winter trips to Florida and never travels. He could, but doesn't. So if you shouldn't cruise due to physical or mental reasons...doesn't mean you have to give up boating. I sold my big boat and bought a skiff because I get rid of anything that I don't use regularly, especially if it really doesn't fit what I want to do any more. Fishing and being on the water with the skiff is much easier as I was in pain, both physically and mentally keeping the old trawler maintained.

The real reason one should look in the mirror.... is your pleasure starting to involve anyone else to their displeasure or worse....safety? Is your continuing to boat have any possible impact on others (in the negative)?

The problem I have seen is many never recognize the insidious creep of loss. The body is usually easier to detect and we stop when we get tired or start to hurt. The mind is another thing.

I have for years been prepping my two sons (both very smart and observant types) to keep an eagle eye on me. I have told them to start early and tell me and document my decline....and don't worry about being kind....give it to me straight. Have even thought of making a video for them to play to me to have me explaining to me why they are doing what they are doing and for others to see I have given them my "still rational" direction to give it to me straight and take the necessary action to protect me and others. I might also say that if someone feels they are being mean to me, back off as I trust their judgements and if they are, maybe I deserve it. :D

My bottom line is when the balance of fun and efforts tips the wrong way or I find myself doing dangerous things or others point them out...the time may be right. Now you do wind up having to trust someone or a few to be on your side and still be logical about it all and that may be the toughest thing of all.

A side note to this......Most of my life I have been comfortable but far from affluent. Fortunately, time healed a lot rough road and it allowed me to invest wisely and be in a point now where just enough money gives me options. So just to a point money can't buy happiness but it does give one options to seek happiness. :thumb:
 
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I've seen it go a few ways. Some people keep the boat until it gets too hard to use it and care for it, then they give up boating entirely or move to an easier boat for a couple more years before they're done.

Others can get family members interested in boating and have some help using the boat, with the family members doing more of the work and operating as time goes on. In those cases, the boat sometimes stays in the family long term. The point where you can still be on the boat and do some of the stuff is likely long past the point where you can do it all yourself comfortably and safely.
 
When I was younger, I just did not get the old age thing. I thought things were pretty much a cut off at the no-go years and pretty good up to that point. As I have aged, I still don't get it but reality has a way of checkmating my plans. I get it when I can't and not usually before.
The reality of the situation is then front and center but wait, I still rationalize and say I can do this to get into better shape and mind. Yeah, that's it.
I bought my boat in October of 22 with the idea of looping in 25. Being perfectly capable of fixing anything on a boat I bought the one that needed TLC since I was going to modify the boat for my wife's disability anyway. Low and behold I found out that I can't fit and work effectively everywhere in the engine room and I have slowed down in my speed of working. Ooops, Had my rotator cuff operated on in October of 23 and that is better. Still can't fit everywhere, my right knee is swollen in comparison to my left knee and will not bend enough to be in some areas and still work. I have an appointment to have that evaluated. Have started to get into shape but its not as easy as I imagined it would be.
Is all of this worth it? Of course it is but a few age things will remain. My wife cannot get to the swim platform and even if she could, cannot get into or out of a dinghy. She can swim fine.
Is the loop still viable? Oh hell yes, I am in total denial. I know the window for cruising is probably no more than 7-8 years.

In 2006 I put my parents on my then 26' trawler and they did half the loop before tiring out too much when they got too far north in the spring. At the start of their loop, my father was 80 and my mother was 76. They had never boated more than a John boat but, they were very adventurous.

My father passed at 90 and my mother is almost 94 and wants to join me for part of our loop.
 
I made it to 78 last year and am still alive. The biggest toll on my body has been the lack of strength and energy. It became significant in my early 70s.

79 and stamina isn't what it once was. knees are going, harder to crawl around the outboard sides of the twins. Biggest issue is solo docking. I'm just not as agile. Running around, jumping onto a dock. just no.

Prev owner kept it until he died. Could not lift the hatches so didn't do any maintenance. Hope I sell before that.

Right now it's just a small summer cottage on the water. Willing to pay the summer slip and winter storage prices for now. It's a year by year decision.
 
I guess there is no general way of aging.
I will take the example of my grand mother and her familly. MOst of them were over 100 when they passed out and in pretty good shape. Her father went through 2 world wars and was battling in the trecnh during WWI and never got an health issue in his life and passed away at 98 while still able to maintain his wood mill and farm.
My grand mother is now 95 and still maintaining her garden and house by herself. SHe is sometimes complaining that her fingers are hurting so I remind her that mine are hurting too but the difference is that she is 95 not me lol.
2 generation later, I am 48 and while active I feel the difference from when I was 25. Hopefully I got my grand mother genes and will remain healthy till 100!
But surely I won't be able to crawl head down in the engine room when I will be 80, I already know it.

L
 
Groveling in the engine room is getting tougher for me at 77, but so far so good, both physically and mentally. I'll quit or downsize when I no longer feel completely up to a summer's cruise of the Inside Passage, and all that entails.
 
I'm excited that most of the time I don't know day it is. And if course, I'm still in the camp of wanting a bigger boat now that I'm almost done getting my current boat in a really good place. I had something else to add but now I forget what it was.

I'm 62 so I guess I'm a TF youngster still
 
69 here and suffered a stroke on my boat a year ago. It is only luck I survived. Ended up flat on my back unable to move the right side of my body and unable to speak. Did not fall from the ladder I was on five minutes before, working on the rigging 16' from the deck. Did not fall into the water, fell onto the narrow deck in the boathouse 12" from the water. Was on the phone when it happened and the person on the other end of the line recognized what was happening and called 911 when I started to lose the ability to speak clearly and before the collapse. But for that I would have been there for hours before I was missed. Luck!

Full recovery, just some brain fog issues that are now fully resolved. No plans to sell the boat and will continue to use it until I can't.

Pre stroke I was completely healthy and fit.

All this to say age related illness can get you at any time. Enjoy the time you have, it might be shorter than you expect!
 
After being in my yacht club since 2010, I watched the original gang age and retire. Most of them made it into their 80's before letting the boat go. The most important thing I observed is choosing the right boat. One guy made to 88 in his 40' trawler, I was impressed.
At 67, I can see myself keeping my 4588 for a long time because I can walk right into the salon without any stairs, the stairs all have good grab rails, and she is fairly easy to handle for her size. Single handing is an issue unless it is dead calm. If heading out in dicey weather, you may need a young deckhand along! 8)
Three years ago I had a SeaRay 350 Express Bridge, that I could single hand pretty well, but after the wife fell on the stairs into the salon (no grab rail), I started to re-think. Also, it was really just a day cruiser, very limited storage.
In order to keep boating as long as you can, the right boat is probably the most important thing.
 
My philosophy is go balls to the wall until I cant. I still snowboard, adventure tour motorcycles, ride dirt bikes, scuba dive, run the course waterskiing. My body at times complains from all the old trauma, so far all I have given up is running as I am trying to get a few more years out of a knee that's toast. The Admiral has taken it upon herself to pull the throttle back to keep me from adding to the trauma list when I'm having a exceptionally good day water skiing and pushing myself too far while trying to show the kids that dad still has it. I sometimes cringe when I see people younger than I stop doing something they love (or did at some point) because " I'm getting too old". I watched my grandad go like crazy into his early 90's, and my dad do it into his mid 80's until a couple bouts of cancer took the wind out of his sails a bit. He is still fine with the exception of a wife that constantly wants him to "sit down and relax ", she has serious health issues and sits all day and thinks he should too.

My take on life is listen to your own body to limit what you do. If you sit on the couch too long you will die there!

I'm getting really close to 63 and hope to carry on at this pace as long as possible.



Hollywood
 
I have misplaced my mind and have gone looking for it. If it should return before I get back, please tell it to wait for me.

Ted
 
I'm 88 and still do all my own work on the boat. As a millwright (retired 33 years) I can still turn a wrench, but short on endurance and strength. Limited to one task at a time, four hours at the most. Can still dock the boat in one shot (no thruster) to the envy of my much younger dock mates. Still engaging in Predicted Log contests every month to keep the gray cells active.
 
At 76, I still enjoy the boat and intend to keep using it. I do not, however, have the memory, strength or flexibility I once had. Running the boat with my wife remains fun though and seems to be a safe activity for us. At my last annual physical, my Dr lined up with Hollywood's comments above. Keep doing it until you can't. I did, however, stop.downhill skiing at 70 as a risk avoidance measure.
 
Keep doing it until you can't. Excellent advice!
Spoke with a friend today, he's 70 like me. A few weeks ago he had been running 5 miles each day. Then had 3 massive heart attacks. Now he is on hospice care and trying to beat his doc's prognosis to live a bit longer.
So yes, keep doing it until you can't. You never know what life will throw at you.
 
Boy, lots to think about. Just on the mental angle for now, not physical:

Like many of the posts above, I get easily distracted too, it's so hard to stay laser-focused on one project, one task, but then I don't really think that's age (yet). Lives are incredibly cluttered lately. Incredibly more technically complex. The number of passwords I have to hold in my head alone is staggering, my parents had zero (*zero*) passwords to remember when they were my age. The sheer complexity of my future Social Security and Medicare benefits, my current active-employee benefits, retirement programs from having worked as a public employee in three different states, and my private investment programs now, and my wife's side of the financial portfolio. Remembering all the complexities of the FCC station license for the boat's radio. State registration for three cars, three boats, two trailers, federal documentation on the big boat, the programming codes and maintenance routines on my home water softener, the boat's wiring paths. Keycodes to the house, the security cameras, the boat's cameras. We've got 37 (!!) internet devices riding on our home's internet router -- tablets, PC's, cameras, phones, a remote temp and humidity sensor in the garage, smart koi pond thermometer, light controls, water alarm on the basement floor. I've got to know the setup configurations and passwords for every one of those. My to-do list for the boat is 104 items long. Between work and home I get -- on average, I counted and sampled -- 260 emails per day on five different accounts. I could go on, but you get the idea. With that volume of noise and clutter in my head in modern life, it's a miracle I can find my toothbrush in the morning, whether I'm 20 or 80. I sometimes read these threads about aging and think that it's not always about aging, we're drowning in an incredible amount of noise and complexity in modern life. It's a miracle my brain doesn't dribble out my ears.

I write one minor check to one worthy cause, or a candidate, and then I get hounded for the rest of my life for additional contributions. It's gotten to the point where I don't want to financially contribute to anything because that will increase the electronic and snail-mail noise in my life by one more notch. I want a bigger boat, but I don't have room in my brain to learn and remember all the specs of yet another boat. My wife drives an Audi -- I need to read 20 pages of the owner's manual to learn how to change a tire. The head of the flange bolt on my miter saw got chewed so I wanted a replacement. Eight millimeter, fine thread (1.0 pitch instead of 1.25), reverse thread, 20mm long... Good luck finding one of those on earth. My point is everything, everything, is like that now. The calibration on our Keurig coffee machine is way off -- press the button for 10 oz, you get 20 ounces and it spills all over the counter. Now I have to learn how to recalibrate (and de-scale) the coffee machine. As if my father, or grandfather, or GG... ever needed to learn how to calibrate a coffee pod machine.

My oldest son is 15 now. He's been in the current house for six years, and yesterday he walked ahead of me when we got home and blanked out on the code numbers to the front door's keypad. I think a lot of us are still okay, it's just massive, overwhelming amounts of mental noise and clutter in modern life that make us feel otherwise.
 
Things to think about

I'll be turning 71 this year and the last couple of years have been a maintenance nightmare. A lot of systems had to be fixed and it took me for ever to fix them. My wife no longer feels comfortable on the boat so I am single handing a lot of the time.

But the boat as a hobby keeps me busy in something I like to do. The guys at the yacht club I am moored at have the same age related problems as we all do with some post cancer recovery or heart problems or what have you. There have been a few deaths of some guys that have crewed with me or I hung around with that were into boats. An other one sold his boat and bought a RV. So its a little more challenging socially.

I even got an upgraded newer Volvo with back up cameras, lane sensors and warning beeps and alarms that have made my driving easier. Isn't technology wonderful.

At present my main concern is safe access on to the boat and making sure I don't have any stupid accidents. Fortunately there are lots of hand holds.

I just had the unique job of adding a Vetus bow thruster controller to a Lewmar bow thruster system. The different wire colors made it challenging. My remote thruster control stopped working and I needed to have a controller on the flybridge so I wired in a controller.

A friend of mine at the yacht club told me a story about an 85 year old who would come down to his boat, the oldest moored boat at the club, every day. He never took it out, but he went down to it and read his book had a drink and enjoyed the environment.

My full boat cover comes off this next week end, and with the yearly yacht club safety inspection the boating season starts in earnest.
 
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Coming up on 82 in a couple of months, so I can relate to this thread. I just finished swapping my old Nissan diesel for a smaller but way-more-than adequate BETA 43 in my ALBIN 27fc. I did the work myself. I needed a three hour hot tub respite after working on the Nissan because it was really tight in the compartment. Now I can stand in front of my engine and do ANY maintenance task required. I bought the 27 because I knew I was going to have trouble with my 50' Trader. It was a good choice and is even better now. I still can go cruising and enjoy it. Ben
 
I have one aunt who just turned 100, but is not all that great physically: mentally, I think her recollection of ancient family matters is waay better than mine. Other aunt is 93; her adoptable comment is" I've got a great attitude, and great hair" Perhaps the hair part is not necessarily our choice, but the attitude part; I'll go with that! Tomorrow I'm taking my 80+ old frame and joints down to the boat to rip out old core under a window for future replacement. My pleasure! They make Tylenol for the price I'll probably pay on Sunday! As long as I can......
 
I am about to turn 74 in two weeks, I just went 62 miles off St Augustine 2 days ago to fish the gulf stream and ledge. After each trip I take, I wonder how many more I have left. After about 16 hours rest, I stand a bit taller and feel pretty good again. As many are saying, the loss of muscle mass and strength is a hard thing to accept, but strength exercises seem to possibly slow down the progress. I have been fortunate to have a younger crew to help me with the heavy work. It is rewarding to watch them grow and become good and knowledgeable boaters. After 50 years boating, the thought of losing this life is hard to imagine. I am glad to see so many others persevering and continuing to enjoy this crazy marine infatuation that took over our head years ago. The thought of not being able to go out on the water is not something I am willing to accept without a fight. I wish you all the best and appreciate the sharing.
 
Any boater faces the same issues and questions as we age. It's an inevitable fact of life. Unless one passes in their sleep, the realities of aging mean our bodies deteriorate and the ability to safely and comfortable do things diminishes. Along with being able to handle a boat.

A short Buddhist parable:

The Tiger and the Strawberry

Once upon a time, as a man was walking through a forest, he saw a tiger peering out at him from the underbrush. As the man turned to run, he heard the tiger spring after him to give chase.

Barely ahead of the tiger, running for his life, our hero came to the edge of a steep cliff. Clinging onto a strong vine, the man climbed over the cliff edge just as the tiger was about to pounce.

Hanging over the side of the cliff, with the hungry tiger pacing above him, the man looked down and was dismayed to see another tiger, stalking the ravine far below. Just then, a tiny mouse darted out from a crack in the cliff face above him and began to gnaw at the vine.

At that precise moment, the man noticed a patch of wild strawberries growing from a clump of earth near where he dangled. Reaching out, he plucked one. It was plump, and perfectly ripe; warmed by the sunshine.

He popped the strawberry into his mouth. It was perfectly delicious. How sweet it was!

The End.

--------
Let's all enjoy the strawberries we might come upon, while we can.
Yeah...but what happened to the guy after he enjoyed the strawberry. I really wanna know..! :D
 
I am 38 years old and I really wish I had not read all off this
 
Yeah...but what happened to the guy after he enjoyed the strawberry. I really wanna know..! :D

:lol:Of course the man will die. The lesson of the story is, we cannot avoid the cliff and the tigers forever. We all will die. And the relentless passing of time is nibbling away at our lifeline. It's not under our control. What is under our control, is whether or not we will notice, eat, and enjoy the strawberry. because whether we enjoy or ignore it, we're still going to get eaten by that tiger. We're still going to die.

When going through storms in life, including the relentless passing of time and growing infirmities of aging, we should remember that everything changes. Everything is temporary. Difficulties, pain, all are temporary. Including life itself. Letting go of that anxiety, of the stresses and pressures we put ourselves under, might help us find and enjoy the strawberries in our lives more easily.


The Five Remembrances of Buddhism

1. I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

2. I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape having ill health.

3. I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

4. All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

5. My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
 
After yesterday I am now certain that my reason for aging out of recreational boating is going to be arthritis.

Yesterday getting the boat ready to go back in the water my hands refused to work anymore after about 4 hrs of effort. Nothing unusually hard, just boat work. Changed 6 zincs, hooked up a new bilge pump hose, finished the install of a replaced trim tab cylinder. At the end just putting the tools away was painful. You may be thinking "That took you 4 hours!?" Yes, it did. Arthritis slows me down a lot. Have I mentioned back, hip and knee? They still hurt today.

I will be selling when I can't do the work anymore. I won't cruise on a poorly maintained boat for safety reasons. If I could hire more work done, and I already hire the tougher work out, I could keep boating longer. But the end is in sight. We had been thinking 2025 or 26 would be our last year. Hope to make that far.

I see some suggesting downsize. I don't see how that can help. The spaces that I'd need to work in would be even smaller. Components would be packed tighter. Living area would be less comfortably usable.
 
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