Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Happened? (Or why you should never calculate the time you have left)

I swear, someday I'll post about something I've handcrafted (not just the pathetic excuses I craft to explain why I'm not actually making anything).  But this is more fun.  Or more cathartic.  Well, at least I don't have to get off the couch.  I love my laptop.  So here's my latest realization for all it's worth.

Last night was another late night spent watching old episodes of Roseanne.  (Okay, after I spent too much time and money shopping online.  Again, I love my laptop.)  I was noticing how young some of the characters and guest stars looked, so I opened up my laptop (yep, love this thing!) and started checking their ages.  This required a little math, but I handled myself pretty well given the time of day and my lack of sleep.  The episode I was watching was from 1992, eighteen years ago.  As I was attempting to do the calculations, it dawned on me that those eighteen years went by pretty fast.  I remember very clearly what was going on in my life in 1992, and it seems like only yesterday.  With this came the sad realization that eighteen years from now (which will surely go by even faster than the past eighteen) I WILL BE 70 YEARS OLD.

70 YEARS OLD.  Now that is a sobering fact.  (For those of you who lack my math skills but are dying to know how old I am, I turn 52 this year.) Of course, with this realization I had to take stock of what I've done with my life so far.  Mostly it has been spent  wasted dreaming of a better future.

My childhood was spent dreaming of the day I'd be an adult and could make a happier life for myself.  When I was grown and had my own family, we wouldn't bake our cake mixes.  No, we'd enjoy the batter right out of the mixing bowl the way God intended.  I don't remember a lot of other specifics (or at least any I'd be willing to share).  Just knowing my children and I would eat cake batter with a spoon was enough for me.

As a young adult with very little money, I always dreamed that some day my bank account would be full. I never let myself get too consumed by the day-to-day pressures of adulthood or the things we had to live without.  I knew someday it would all get easier.  And it did.  Well, for a while at least.  Until the real-estate bubble burst, taking my retirement funds (and all the rest of our money) with it.

After having children and realizing it was freakin' hard work, I held on (admittedly by a thread) knowing that someday the nest would be empty and my husband and I could relax and travel the world. Okay, maybe only a couple of times a year, but it would just be the two of us.  No kids whining about how boring Hawaii is or how they wish they were at home hanging out with friends.  And if the kids matured on schedule, we would find ourselves in a kid-free zone before we turned 50.  Hallelujah!  Still young enough to get around without scooters.

Now that my forties are behind me, I find myself raising my two grandchildren.  It will be at least another ten years before the youngest leaves for college. I want to be happy that I'll still be in my sixties when I finally have my freedom.  But I'm already tired.  My joints hurt when I walk.  I've lost my enthusiasm.  And my nest egg cracked long before the kids flew away.  So I'll try to hang on for a little while longer, content (for the moment, anyway) that at least I still have a nest.

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