I’m Giving Up on Life

One Intentional Step at a Time

Orrin Onken
Crow’s Feet
Published in
4 min readJun 1, 2024

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AI image. Prompt by Author

Spring arrived and I was doing my annual garage cleaning. It is a process in which I pull items off the shelves and decide whether they still deserve to be included among my possessions.

I picked up the coffee can where I keep miscellaneous nails, screws, nuts, knobs and fasteners. For fifteen years I have been adding to it on the theory that someday I will be able to rummage through the collection of metal in that can and find just the right thing to hang a picture, repair a downspout, or attach something to something else. But in the decade and a half I have owned the can, that has never happened.

As I dropped the coffee can filled with bits of metal in the recycling pile, I had an uneasy feeling that getting rid of the can was a symbol of something important. Filling the can, a nail or screw at a time, had been an act of hope. Hope that a little frugality today would pay off in the future.

But now I am old.

I don’t have that much future left and it seems unlikely that anything in that can will ever matter. Giving up on the can of nails made me wonder if I was giving up on life.

I stopped cleaning the garage and sat on an old bar stool I keep out there because I think it might someday come in handy and wondered if there were…

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Orrin Onken
Crow’s Feet

I am a retired elder law attorney who lives near Portland, Oregon. I write legal mysteries for Salish Ponds Press and articles about being old.