"And when they carve my stone all they need to write on it was once lived a man who got all he ever wanted. Tell me something. Who could ask for more than to be living in a moment you would die for?"- Ty Herndon
Why do I make Living Out Loud topics that I then have a hard time writing about? I have no one to blame but myself.
I was just telling my therapist Gary on Friday that I'm feeling comfortable living in the now. He did that therapist thing where he says, "it's good to see you like this, Genie." But it is good to see myself like this. I've been a planner and a fretter my whole life, always worrying about what the future may hold. I see it in my father now too where he not only worries about the uncertainly of the future but laments decisions from the past when there's nothing that can be done about them. I don't want to worry about what my life will be like in 30 years. It will probably be nothing like what I can imagine.
I don't know many retired people. Mom and Dad are 72 and 68 and are both still working. Rich's parents are retired but between all their own medical ailments and Uncle Tommy's, it seems like they spend as much time at doctor's appointments as we do at work. It's like retirement is wasted on old people.
I've thought about this more now that we have a new member of the family who's just starting out his life path. When my mother had us kids she looked at all the other mothers who stayed home and rocked babies. Daddy told her that he was sorry she couldn't stay home and rock babies but they needed her to work. So they both worked, Mom nights and weekends and Dad during the day (and weekends too), and we still got rocked. When I turned up pregnant, Mom talked about retiring so she could finally stay home and rock babies. But here she is still working and we're paying $850 a month for very nice Hispanic ladies to rock our baby. Even if Mom did retire now, I'm not sure if she could keep up with an active baby at her age with congestive heart failure. Our front porch steps give her hell.
So with my parents as a model, should I think about what I will be doing in those last chapters of my life, when I'm not even sure how long the novel will be and what kind of energy I'll have? Maybe the story of my life should be more like a choose your own adventure book where you can jump all around from page to page based on what decisions you make in the moment. Mom is much more tired these days than when she was 21 with her first baby, but this grandson has reopened a whole new part of her life. She's singing songs and using pet phrases I haven't heard in decades. Giddy up, giddy up into town. Watch out, little boy, dontcha fall down.
I also wonder if retirement isn't necessarily the point when you're no longer working, but the point when you're no longer putting up with other people's bullshit. Like the pithy signs in Cracker Barrel say, work would be great if it weren't for all those customers (where you can substitute customers for co-workers, bosses, colleagues, interns, etc.).
I assume at some point I'll stop working full-time. I'd like to have a ton of pets. I'd like to work at a coffee shop that has regulars I can chat with every week. I'd like to write more. I'd like to sew more. I don't think I would care to travel that much. Maybe a trip once a year. I'd like to rock babies.
Looking at my life now it isn't that different than what it would be 30 years from now. We already have a ton of pets. We're those regulars at the coffee shop chatting with the workers (our coffee gal is having her ultrasound on Wednesday to see if she's having a boy or girl). I do a fair amount of writing, but could stand to do more. I do a little bit of sewing, but could stand to do more. We make about one or two major trips a year. And I rock a baby every day.