Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Don't wait until you're dead

My grandfather always used to say when he retired he'd take up fishing. At his retirement party, one of his sons gave him a very expensive fly fishing rod, along with everything else he'd need. Ten years later, after my grandfather died, the rod had rotted away from being stored badly. It had never been used.

How many people do you see with plans for their retirement years who never get to do them? Sometimes it's just pain inertia, like my grandfather. He got into a routine and never made the effort to break out of it. A lot of people have serious health issues by retirement age. Others feel they have responsibilities they can't leave behind. Many find they don't have the money to do things in the way they dreamed. Plenty of people don't get to retire but work hard their whole lives. Some people just die.

My lovely wife and I started traveling for half the year when we were in our early 40s. We'd leave during the cold months and travel south until the canoe on the roof racks didn't look silly. Every year my wife would leave her job, not knowing if there'd be one when she got back. Her place of employment never made her any promises. She was always able to get rehired when we came back home, but we didn't worry about it. I was involved in a on-line magazine that required the occasional Internet connection. No big deal. My business could be run from a laptop computer in a tent, and it was.

Plenty of people were envious at the things we saw and did, but not to the point of taking any chances and doing it themselves.

Now my wife's physical problems have gotten a bit worse. In our 50s, we can't do the sort of things we did in our 40s. There's still plenty of adventures to be had. We can build on previous experiences. Glad we did those things when we could.

The big lie is that once you retire, everything will be wonderful. Keep your nose to the grindstone and you'll be rewarded. You'll be rewarded with a ground off nose; in my opinion. People who wait for retirement age to try new things, rarely do. Those who strike off into new directions, have been doing that their whole lives. Retirement just gives them more time to do more of it.



  1. So true, so true. Sad, isn't it. I am sort of in the middle of the two extremems. If you have been following my blog, you know that I have done a lot of things I wanted to, like gold prospecting, hunting, fishing. I don't get to do all I want, and at my age, time is sure running out fast.

  2. Given the history of males in my family, at 37 I am well past the midpoint. And I haven't done 1/10 of the things I want to do. Time to get busy...

  3. The clock is running for all of us.

  4. Thats the truth... at 49 I'm paying hard for all the bad living I have done. I'm slowing down and it's not easy for me to do. And I'm heading back out on the road again..It does look like I'm headed into the PAW as a nomad. I'm already on borrowed time after all the asbestos that I ingested over the years. Just a few more things to finish up around here and then I be blogging from the road.