Perspective.

I had an interesting conversation today.

I was talking with a friend over the phone. She was a tad hungover from a Christmas breakup the night before, while I was hiding from the hot day by staying inside, reading Tony Robbins’ Money, Master the Game” on my computer and taking a few nanna naps on the couch as the fancy took me… (hey, it’s the beginning of the summer holidays and I always spend the first week or two enjoying the Nanna Power nap… I’m stuffed!)…

Anyway, she was saying that she had to get up and get ready for another Christmas get-together with two couples that she and her husband have known forever. I asked her, “How long have you all been married?”

She thought, then said, “Well, David and I have been married for 21 years; Harry’s been married for about 25 years and Adam and Marie have been married a year longer than us.”

“Wow!” I said. “Do you realise that if Mr Perfect knocked on my front door today and I fell in his arms, I’d be in my 70’s to have the same length of relationship that you guys have scored? Kind of puts it in perspective, doesn’t it?”

Now, I was thinking that it was impressive. What are the odds of 3 couples still making it after all this time? They’ve done well. She had a different take on it though.

“So this means that I’ve spent the best years of my life with David…”

I laughed. “Surely you don’t think that you’ve already had the best years of your life?”

Her answer took my breath away.

“And you don’t?”

“No!” I said. I was a bit flabbergasted. How could I not look forward to the future?

“Explain to me why you think the future is so bright,” she said.

It was hard to start. It seems so self evident that it took a few seconds to put it into words.

“Well, the kids are almost off my hands,” I said. “It’s been nearly 18 years of struggle to support them and pay our way but now Evan’s finished secondary school and I can start doing the things that I want to do. I’m looking at Europe next year, remodelling the garden and really ramping up my investing. That last one is a bit scary because I’m so far behind the 8 ball when it comes to superannuation, but I’ve set some goals and I’m looking forward to the challenge of seeing if I can make it through.

“I feel really lucky that I’m finding out information at just the right times in my life as I’m ready to move onto the next steps. I paid off my house and then the next week I found out about the Barefoot Investor’s Blueprint club. Now, a year later I’m reading about all these investment products I knew nothing about, along with a breakdown of a plan of attack which is giving me a map for my retirement which’ll mean that I have a sporting chance that I won’t be eating cat food to survive in my twilight years. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be interesting.

(I said some other stuff about what I’m going to do with the boys’ rooms as they move out… things like having my own office instead of running my business from my dining room table… that kind of thing.)

“And how lucky that I’ve got the teaching and the business? I just have to ramp up the business a bit more to get me to where I want to go. Just think about where I can be and where I can travel when I’m older? I think that my 50’s, 60’s and 70’s are going to be amazing. I’m so looking forward to them…”

Her reply?

“Nah…”

I was thinking about it later. Is this the difference between optimism and pessimism? Because I could so easily go down the other way, thinking that I’ll never be able to afford to retire, that my divorce and kids have financially sucked me dry and then they’ll move on and leave me to struggle on my own…. yada yada. I look at couples who clearly chose each other better than my ex husband and I did and they’re obviously better off in a lot of ways…. but I’m still pretty darned happy with my life. I figure that the future is going to roll around whether we’re looking forward to it or not, so I might as well embrace it.

Besides, after I realised in my early 40’s that I needed to slow down and really appreciate all the little joyful things that happen every day rather than constantly live for the future, my life has become awesome. I’m still a long-term thinker who is saving and planning for the future, but gee I enjoy my life in the moment as well! Not saying my life is perfect but I’m enjoying living it regardless.

The prospect of moving forward thinking that the best years are behind me is something that chills me. Where’s the fun in that?

Am I alone here? Or do I sound like a self satisfied prig?

Thermomix Recipes: Smilodairy free, grain free, additive free version.

Tomato sauce.

Smoky Baked Beans.

 

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14 Responses to Perspective.

  1. libby says:

    you sound really smart actually. The way things are going with retirement age being raised and the pension wont pay the bills you need to think bout that. Also why shouldnt you enjoy yourself after raising your sons and working damn hard to pay off the house etc? well done Mrs FD I try to look at the glass half full too 🙂

  2. Maryanne says:

    I’ve long been impressed with your bright and positive attitude to EVERYTHING; your posts ooze joy and laughter. It sounds to me as though life has thrown you some curve balls but you’ve caught them all and dealt with them without letting them drag you down. I look forward to seeing what the future brings you because you’re making it happen, not just letting it happen. Good on you. Maryanne

  3. Johblogs says:

    I’m totally with you Frogdancer! With the exception of one point you make. Luck – you aren’t lucky – you have made your own luck. I admire your intelligence and self sufficiency and I know it never dropped in your lap. Stay you and celebrate! Seasons Greetings to you and your beautiful family. x

  4. foodnstuff says:

    No, you don’t sound like a self-satisfied prig, far from it. You got where you are by hard work and you deserve a bright future. What worries me is that you appear to be discounting the effects of climate change and energy decline (aka peak oil) on the future…on all our futures. The investment thing…I presume you’ve read and listened to Nichole Foss? Be very careful what you invest in. You’re an extremely positive get-up-and-go person; I envy you that attitude. I can’t be that way, not with what I’ve read about the consequences of energy decline (I’ll hopefully be pushing up daises before climate change gets too much worse; I’m not so sure about the energy situation).

    Enjoy the years ahead of you, but don’t lose sight of the ecological problems…resource depletion, continued growth in a finite system, the total unsustainability of current lifestyles, economic collapse, etc, etc.

    If I’m raining on anyone’s parade by saying this, well, I think the future holds a lot of wet parades. Be prepared for it.

  5. I’ve travelled a similar path. Divorced, raised my children, teacher, and at the final stage of securing my finances before I retire. I think you’ve done an excellent job of preparing for the future while enjoying the present. I think you’ll find that you’re actually ahead of many of your peers since you have paid off your debt and can now invest in your future. Good luck, be happy, you’ve earned.

  6. Frogdancer says:

    foodnstuff: I love your last two sentences. I can just hear you say it.

  7. scottsabode says:

    Wow – be sure to bring Foodnstuff to your next party.

  8. Jenny @ Erinport says:

    As we have known each other for about 30 years or so ( !! ) I can only say that I’ve always seen the optimist in you. I have fond remembrances of the things we’ve done together, mostly about the doglets ( !! ). Hope you and the boys have a very happy festive season, and do give the animals a hug from me. Oh, and Elizabeth says to tell her children there may be siblings on the way 🙂

  9. Urspo says:

    Do not change your attitude and approach. Stats show you will live longer for it. And even if you don’t, you will not find the end as if life had been a brief and useless tale.

  10. Isabelle says:

    I too think you’re great and have made your own luck. As for me… well, I miss my kids a lot. I fear I do look back with nostalgia… . However, being freer has its advantages too. Good for you!

  11. Jenb says:

    I think this blog post is the perfect example of why I like reading your blog so much. I think like you. I can’t imaging thinking the best of my life is behind me. I’m at a very similar stage of life as you, and I’m looking forward to what is coming.

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