Looking backward, you can see the patterns and trends of your life. Decisions that altered your path, and how things turned out. But seeing what’s next is hard, and a little scary. I think I know what I will do next weekend, this summer, and next year. It’s a shock when you realize the future is getting close.
Retirement is a mythical state that I can’t really picture. Puttering around on a golf course or standing on the deck of a cruise ship seems foreign. No longer having the structure of a job strikes me as unimaginable. And yet, if I stretch up on my tip toes and concentrate, I can almost see retirement on the horizon.
Deciding when to stop working feels like stepping off a cliff blindfolded. We keep doing the math, but it’s still hard to imagine that life. To make it a bit more concrete, my husband got an app for his phone that counts down the days and hours till a future retirement date. I’m not sure I want to look. My entire working life I’ve saved for retirement, but will it be enough? Ah, but when are we ever, really prepared for what we can’t foresee?
In those rare moments when I think about retirement, I imagine there will finally be enough time to read all of the books (and not think about that Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith), time to travel, and to indulge our hobbies (hand-knit sweaters for everyone!) The future I see assumes we stay healthy and active. Maybe we’ll ride bikes through the midwest, or take an Airstream trailer cross-country (my husband is protesting that idea).
For now these are idle thoughts. I’m focused on work and what I need to do next week. But this new preoccupation is growing in my mind. I’ll inch closer to that cliff edge, and one day, step confidently into space, hopefully with better results than Wile E. Coyote.