So…..with age comes wisdom, or so the saying goes.
I’d like to challenge that long-held belief.
While it’s true, certain lessons learned over the years help you make better decisions as you age, but age certainly does not guarantee wisdom, nor prepare you for the uncertainties that accompany aging.
During my young years, I mothered. And while parenting is a wild and wonderful indescribable experience, it also comes with parameters and requirements that lend itself to predictability, schedules and structure. Mealtimes, homework times, bus schedule times, bath times, bedtimes, etc. I knew at any given day where I’d be and at what time.
Managing my full-time career, to which I was very dedicated, also required a well synchronized orchestrated effort, in order to mesh seamlessly with my children’s needs and schedules. (None of which, I might add, included any contribution nor effort by the husband.)
Then came the years during which I was responsible for the care giving of my aging Mother. The sandwich years they are called, where you are the cement in the middle….balancing the raising of your kids along with caring for your aging parent. This juggling act certainly did not allow much discretionary time for leisure.
Fast forward to this weird limbo called retirement. A bizarre unreal time of life with zero structure, limitless possibilities, no schedules and no excuses akin to the phenomenon of being weightless in space….no familiar footing whatsoever. A time for doing what you always promised yourself “when you had the time for you.” Cool stuff, right? My time is excruciatingly self driven by my interests, desires and self-pursuits. It is a dizzying smorgasbord of choices all there for the sampling. So, now that I am no longer tethered to all my former obligations am I not traveling, sailing the ocean, rock climbing?
Well….as my creaky frame descends the stairs in the morning with a death-grip on the hand rail I debate upon whether I am up for my yoga class or a walk. You see, with this freedom comes a diminished physical ability which, in the past, fueled my most cherished activities. Years of running every morning resulted in a new hip a few years back. Knees now, are questionable, at best.
Retirees are encouraged to take this “magical” time to do the things there was never time for during our working years. I know….I get it….I read my AARP. I see these sexy athletic-types swinging their tennis rackets while holding hands with big smiles. OK. I’d really like to travel and see this beautiful state in which I live. I have this dream of packing a small bag, (being the spur-of-the-moment-kind-of -gal that I am), jumping in my car, and driving willy-nilly by myself down the coast, scarf flapping in the wind, all Thelma and Louise style. My equally free-spirited dog by my side, (though I do not have a dog), to view rocky shorelines, stopping to stay in a quaint little inn, sipping a fireside Chardonnay while admiring the view from my cozy room, whereupon, I read till I become drowsy under flannel sheets. I awake to the heavenly smell of coffee and freshly-baked cinnamon rolls luring me to the cutesy dining room where I munch leisurely and plan my day. Obviously, I’ve been watching way too much of the Hallmark Channel.
However, the reality of the dream trip actually goes like this…..
I must first arrange for the care of my felines. Costly. I do find just the perfect quaint B & B I’d envisioned, but, unlike the one I’d seen on Groupon, the rate is $175/night. Hmm. Not as quaint as it is costly. The wine I’d dreamingly sipped is $13 per glass. I’d want to have a least 2 or 3 glasses. Hardly affordable for this frugal foot-loose and fancy-free gal. And, while my view of the rocky coast is indeed breathtaking, I turn to share the moment, but there is nobody there. Not even the dog I do not have……Oh, right…this is MY dream adventure….H-E-L-L-O?
It is at this point I exit the Groupon sites for cheap getaways, turn off my computer, and make my way upstairs to bed, cats in tow. It’s getting late…
That’s enough of an adventure for one night!