A terrible thing has happened. My mother-in-law, who until now has been very independent, tooling around the countryside in her little white car, totalled said automobile yesterday. She’s fine, physically, but she endured quite a shock. So not only has she decided not to buy a new car, but also she is giving up driving. Oh. No.
My mother-in-law is one of those glass-is-half-empty people who thinks she will die soon, although she doesn’t have any life-threatening illnesses, and who has been calling herself old for a long time even though she’s still in her 60s. My grandparents enjoyed an active social life into their eighties. My 91-year-old grandfather (the only one left) just moved into a retirement complex (his choice), but he still drives a car, has a very sharp mind, and makes his own decisions.
Westerners, I think, tend to be loathe to give up personal freedom even when they are incapable of living alone, but Japanese, like my mother-in-law seem to embrace dependence.