Thoughts during my happy retirement.
I remember, as a young boy, then a teen, being dazzled by the wonder of it all, the seemingly endless wonders of life. Straddling my bike, taking long rides around the North End of Tacoma, Washington, taking long walks with friends, exploring woods, exploring beaches, soaking up the unknown in that frenetic way the young have, cup never full, always looking for the next wonder, and the next, and the next.
Climbing mountains, endless hiking in the Cascades, kayaking, swimming, fishing, waking up to watch a sunrise, ten-thousand feet elevation, almost impossible to describe the wonder of it all, the body a finely-tuned machine at that age, all pistons pumping on schedule, hit the ignition and keep running until you smell fumes, sleep, get up, repeat.
Time marches on . . .
Somehow, at some time, it all changes, you know? Responsibilities pile up, seemingly from nowhere, which leads to jobs, and you turn around one day and realize you have a family, and more responsibilities, the blink of an eye, and suddenly, or at least it seems sudden, there is no time for the wonder of it all and the focus is on paying the bills, accumulating, staying one step ahead in an unnamed race, the prize non-specific, the American Dream, at times, like the proverbial anvil, weighing you down, too damned tired at the end of the day to think about wonders or quality of life or any other ethereal dreams of youth.
“Leading lives of quiet desperation” . . . Thoreau was one smart s.o.b. if you think about it, able to see into the future, leap tall haystacks in a single bound, faster than a horse-drawn carriage.
And marches on, and marches on . . .
And here I am, seventy-three years of age, and questioning my choices like a mad scientist, mixing this chemical, mixing that chemical, gauging the reactions, wondering what combination of chemicals will create the exact formula I’m chasing.
By all accountings my life is good. I have a good quality of life. A home, vehicles, travel trailer, loving wife, two dogs, in pretty damned good financial shape, truth be known, a couple retirements funds paying the bills, there are millions who would trade places with me in a heartbeat . . . and yet . . .
I’m having a hard time, much harder than when I was young, seeing the wonder of it all. I catch glimpses of it on walks with the dogs, revel in their jubilation as they splash through puddles, sniff this, sniff that, always curious, tails wagging, unconditional love for their owner, but I need more, not a second childhood, but rather a recapturing of that feeling, long gone from memory, of the wonders so available to all of us, just around the next bend in the road, waiting for me, calling me.
A window is slightly ajar
My wife can retire early, at sixty-two, in nine months. We have decisions to make. What does retirement look like, for the two of us, and that question is a thorny one, trying to find mutual agreement, finding common ground, and the travel trailer, and a part-time RV life, is certainly going to happen. And maybe, on those RV trips, the wonder will return. Or maybe we will sell the house, go the tiny house route, certainly a possibility, escape completely the monthly bill quicksand, be completely free to spend countless hours looking for those things which have been right under our noses for decades . . . the wonder of it all.
Stay tuned! It should be interesting. Catch you down the Road of Life.