Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Not What I Imagined
I had things in mind when I retired. Ideas about how my life would go along and ideas about what would happen in the rest of the world, too. These visions don't usually add up to reality, though, do they?
I saw myself getting everything in my (old) house organized and working to a fault. I saw myself fit and active and achieving things, doing things for others. I thought my financial life would be organized and I'd have learned lots of new things. Of course, there were those books that I was going to write and entertaining and informative WEB sites that I was going to design.
I don't know when the vision shifted to downtown living. When I retired in 2002, downsizing was on my mind but the idea of living in 1200 square feet or so was not really something I'd considered.
I wanted to travel. FFP was still working full time running his agency and wasn't ready to do much traveling. However, not too many weeks after I retired I was off to Colorado with my dad and then off to Berlin. Dad was doing better then. He could travel, drive even. My in-laws had quit driving but could still walk around the neighborhood and take cabs to go places. Intellectually I knew that they would become more feeble and have more needs. (Although their current needs are surprisingly low for their ages.) I imagined that I'd keep traveling a lot. That I'd go back to South Africa and other places. Oh, I did get back to South Africa, had a trip to Dublin, a driving trip or two with FFP, trips to New York, two trips to France with FFP. It sounds like a lot but it's been seven years and we didn't go anywhere in the last twelve months except for a short trip to New York, a night in San Antonio and a couple of nights at Lake Austin Spa. I feel like a stay-at-home. I know I'm making too much of keeping up with the old folks. If they do as well as they are right now, it would be easy enough to get a little help and, um, abandon them for a bit. I am planning to plan a trip to New York. Oh and maybe back to Europe. Of course, the expenses of moving and the economic downturn have put a little damper on spending.
I guess after 9/11 and a closer reading of the newspapers about world affairs, I didn't hold out much hope for the mess in the world. I haven't been disappointed but I have been a little surprised by the scope of the agony. (And amazed that we are still as lucky as we are.)
I guess things are always different than in your mind's eye. I wonder if the Democrats swarming the White House are finding it like they expected it to be. I'll bet, to some degree, not.