HL Charleston Nov/Dec 2023

HealthLinksSC.com | 75 “All right. What’s your idea of heaven?” “Room service.” People argue against my insistence that this discourse from the finest Western film of our age is one of the most romantic scenes in cinematic history. They’re wrong. Since 1993, each viewing of “Tombstone” and the culmination of the horse race between Wyatt Earp and Josephine Marcus, left me weak in the knees. Sure, Doc Holliday gets the most memorable lines, but that answer, “room service,” gives me goose bumps every time. Still an impressionable young teen when “Tombstone” premiered, the idea of living on room service left me captivated. What would it be like to float about from town to town, sight to sight, never to make your own bed or worry about dirty dishes or weeds popping up on the lawn? In my life, on every vacation, I’d lose myself to the dream of it being a permanent situation. Afterward, as the real world crashed down around me, I’d indignantly panic. “Hang on. Where’s my tea? Where’s my robe? Why isn’t my bed made?” I once joked about this with an attorney I worked for as we chatted about retirement plans. I was 25. He was, like, 75. Or 45. He just seemed 75 to me. He admonished that “room service wasn’t a solid foundation” for retirement. My mind knows he’s right, but my heart insists he’s wrong. He’s wrong and boring. In October, I gleefully read about an Australian couple who’d taken the idea of room service retirement a step further: They retired to sea. Marty and Jessica Ansen booked themselves aboard a cruise ship for a total of 795 days. That’s just over two years spent moving from port to port, playing shuffleboard and enjoying endless entertainment options. That’s two years of skipping the mundane in exchange for a sum that they claim is “cheaper than a retirement home.” They’re halfway into their voyage by now. The sole reason my envy remained in check is that, well, I don’t like cruise ships. As a somewhat irresponsible and rudderless individual, I admit that I’ve never given thought to the price comparison of cruising versus a retirement community, but it might be worth considering. I’m sure there are pros and cons for each, but I’d rather say “Peace out, my elderly Gen X friends. I am retiring to a life of room service” than “Oh! Hey, Bob. I see that you, too, have chosen to spend your twilight years at Golden Towers. Fancy a game of euchre?” Of course, there’s middle ground. My colleague Amy Connor’s article, “The Rise of Senior Luxury Living,” makes it clear that retiree living is now designed to be as elegant or adventurous as you’d like. With stylish venues and descriptions like “life enrichment” and, most importantly, “distinctive dining” makes the thought of retiring like a normal person, instead of a fictionalized version of a historic character, a little more appealing – though not appealing enough to change my mind. If they come up with a retirement community where I can race my horse toward a picnic at the end of it all, I’m in. THE LIGHTER SIDE OF HEALTH CARE By Amy Gesell DREAMING ABOUT ROOM SERVICE, HORSES AND THAT GUY WYATT EARP