No, this is not about the house in Georgia. Still no word on that and none expected until at least the middle of next week.
It's about what we want to do when we grow up, when we are already pushing 70. Laugh if you want, but I am not alone in this. A Harvard professor wrote a book on the subject last year and my buddy in Eugene feels the same. On the other hand, I live in a complex where I'm the youngest resident and, I think, the only one who has this sense of restlessness, this sense of needing more. Two of them, both men, have strong outside activities: one is a photographer who started a popular and successful local photo club when he arrived here the same time I did; the other is a golfer who, in the summer, works at the local golf course. Both are happy and fulfilled in their retirement. The rest seem content to sit before their TV sets, or go for an occasional walk. Granted, most of them don't enjoy the degree of good health with which I am blessed and that seems to make the difference with my personal group and the subjects of the book.
My friend in Eugene has what even he agrees is a good life -- a good consulting business where he works as little or as much as he wishes, good health, long-standing membership in a local private health club where he plays handball with old friends three times per week and works out the other days. Opportunities to travel to the coast and the mountains and other places where he has clients or just for a weekend. Still, it's not fulfilling, and that's what my complaint is too. I am simply not fulfilled, and even if I had a TV I wouldn't sit and watch it all day. I'm afraid that would be even more frustrating than the status quo. Neither of us seems able to come up with an answer. What would fulfill us? Or, better yet, what would fulfill us that is actually within the reach of possibility? The subjects of the book were all highly successful people without constrictions of money or anything else, when they reached for their own fulfilling retirements. We don't have that option.
Both of us want a garden, want to get our hands in dirt, create something in the outdoors. With any luck, I'll have that soon and I expect that to go a long way towards fulfillment. He, unfortunately, doesn't have that option because of high housing costs on the west coast and he's not willing to leave Eugene to find it. If my house deal falls apart, I won't have it, either.
That's part of the question in yesterday's post. Then what? I need more money, and can't seem to find a source of that here in Brookings. A business of some kind? What? No money to do anything like that, even if I could come up with an idea. I've thought of starting a free-lance bookkeeping service, but can't really find any enthusiasm for that. On the other hand, I was working with TurboTax last week to get my income taxes done and found that I really enjoyed that, really missed using my brain in that way. Not that I want to become a tax preparer, but....something.
I don't have answers for either of us, or for any others who find themselves in the same situation. There would be plenty of possibilities if one had a bit more income, but that's not the case for me, and while he makes a lot more than I do he can't take off and play or the money would go away and he'd be left with social security only, as I am, and that doesn't offer many possibilities for play and fun.
A work in progress
4 months ago