A Dose of Reality

Thursday, June 14, 2018 8:52 AM

I’ve been feeling a bit old these days. Not old as in body aches and creaks, although those are there sometimes. Old, as in seeing tangible evidence of the years that have passed and recognizing the undeniable truth that I, too, have passed from one stage in life to another. Kind of like seeing a tree that was a twig when you planted it and fifteen years later it’s a 30-footer. I’ve got plenty of those in my yard.

The incident that got me thinking about the stages of life is one that’s actually far removed from me now. I heard about it third hand, but it still impacted me.

I found out this week that my ex-husband retired from his profession last week. I remember when he got his first paycheck once he finished his apprenticeship and how excited he was for the bump in income. We weren’t yet engaged, but we were close. There’s a lot of mileage between that close-to-engaged-couple and the ex-spouses/co-parents that we are now and only some of it can be measured in years.

I still find it hard to believe that the young man who was so excited to finally be starting his career has retired. Granted, my ex-husband is only fifty-five and that is young to retire, however, his was a profession that is hard on the body. Retiring after thirty years isn’t uncommon. But still. I was once married to someone who is now retired.

Dennis and I were talking about this yesterday and it brought up the topic of waiting to do things in life. Many people sacrifice and forgo pleasures in the present to enjoy themselves in their retirement. My paternal grandpa was like that. He was a motorcycle police officer in Milwaukee for thirty-years. His greatest dream was to retire to Florida. I suppose riding around on a motorcycle in January in Wisconsin will make a person yearn for warmth.

It worked out for him. Once he got his thirty years in on the force in the mid 1950’s, he retired and moved to Florida. He was in his early fifties, probably about the age I am now. Granpa worked on the force down in Florida for a bit, too, as well as sold cars for a time. He lived in Florida until 1979, when he passed away.

Other people aren’t as lucky as my grandpa. They put-off dreams until retirement and then health problems crop up, and retirement never comes. Or it comes, but they aren’t able to physically do the dream anymore.

So how do you know when it’s the right time to pursue the lifelong dream, whether it be a large purchase, relocating your life or taking the dream trip?

Two years ago, when I turned fifty, I did act on a lifelong dream. I got a dog. And although conditions weren’t ideal to get one, (we ended up fencing in our front yard because we don’t have a back yard and now I’m pretty sure we’re the house the neighbors are worried is hurting their resale value), I’m still glad I did it.

IMG_1330

Our house, Pre-Dog. Notice how small the pine trees are.

house big trees

Same view, Post-Dog, 9 years later. Look how big the pines are! It’s hard to see the fence from this view, but it’s there.

house fence close

House, Post-Dog, closer view.

Getting Sammy is the exception, though. Normally, I tend to fall in the procrastinator category where I opt to save the money instead of spend it, over-think the downsides and eventually decide that now isn’t the right time to do whatever.

Except, I am now old enough to have been married to someone who is now retired.  I am roughly the same age as my grandpa was when he made his “next stage in life” dream come true.

Does that means the right time is now to start seriously looking at making those someday dreams come true?

 

9:20 AM

 

 

 

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