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…”
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: Smilo: dairy free, grain free, additive free version.