When I was young, I anticipated that later life, and old age, would bring with it peace, financial security, and well-being. My car insurance premiums would be ridiculously low, and I would have enough money to travel anywhere I wanted to go. Worries would be behind me, work a distant memory, and free time would stretch out ahead of me, just waiting to be enjoyed.
Next birthday, I will be 61 years old. That means that if I live for nineteen more years after that, I will be eighty. There may have been a time when nineteen years seemed like a lifetime. Perhaps when I was still a teenager, and could not imagine life as a 38-year old, I don’t specifically recall. What I do know for sure now, is that nineteen years seems like a very short time indeed. Although we are ‘comfortable’ financially (whatever that really means), I certainly cannot afford to travel. My insurance premiums did go down, though only because I left London. Otherwise, they are still pretty hefty. I live a more peaceful life, but cannot say for sure that I am ‘at peace’.
As for well-being, who knows? Physically, I can see deterioration, in strength, eyesight, and energy. Mentally, I feel the need to push myself to feel better, hence this blog. Work is a memory, though far from distant, and the cumulative affects of 33 years of shift-work are beginning to surface. As for free time, it no longer seems to be stretching far ahead, rather rushing by, like a fast train viewed from a platform.
I find it hard to believe that I actually prepared for this. I saved money, paid into pension funds, and both myself and Julie invested in property, so that we could sell it later, and live free of debt. This all worked of course, and provided the life we live today. A life that I am not complaining about, as others live much harder lives than we do.
It is all far too late though. History and fate will not be outdone; prices always go up, never down, and old age never retreats. I should have done it all back then, whenever ‘then’ was. When I could have just ‘gone’, and it would have had no consequences. There was absolutely no point in preparing to live the nineteen years, until I reach 80, a prospect which is highly unlikely anyway.
Sure, I did some stuff. I went to China, cruised the Nile, visited most of the former Soviet Union, and a fair part of Eastern Europe. I watched a lot of films, collected cameras, and saw lots of castles, and museums. But did I live enough? I never will now, that’s for sure.
So, this is my best advice, aged 60, and in a very contemplative frame of mind.
Do it now. You really won’t regret it.