Author’s note: The photo above is my Mother’s memorial bench my brothers and I had put in her favourite sea view. She worked her whole life and had dreams of her retirement. She dreamed of walking these shores and finally relaxing.
Today I write about assumptions of tomorrow.
When we are young we will live forever. We create a whole bunch of dreams, aspirations and things on our bucket list of life. Then we go after them with a vigour and an appetite that they are all for the taking.
When we reach our twenties and thirties. We still think we have plenty of time to pursue our dreams but now it is time for careers. Now it is time for meaningful long term relationships, having a family. We have to give up or park certain other things, but thats ok because we still have time.
When we get to our forties and fifties. We start to think that we have likely lived more years than we have to live. The sunk cost fallacy mentioned earlier this week comes into play now. We have put so much time in our careers to pause or stop now. The things we wanted to do can wait til we retire! besides wanting to do ‘x’ was a fanciful idea and I can do it when I retire.
Here lies the problem, we don’t know how much time we have.
Let me take a moment to share a story about a guy I worked with at Eli Lilly. He worked his whole life for that one company. On his last day we all dropped by to share a little of his leaving cake and to wish him good luck. We all joked how lucky he is and asked what he will do with his retirement. He shared with us all that he had put off so much to be successful that he had a whole list of places and people to see. He went home that night, tucked himself in bed, head full of all the plans he had made and died in his sleep.
My mother worked her whole life. She put everything and everyone in front of her own ambitions, wants and desires. She longed to spend more time with my Dad walking up and down the south England shoreline. She wanted to own a beach hut, one that the family can all enjoy. Those were her simple humble dreams but she put it off too long. She got cancer a year from retirement and passed away almost two years ago now.
Don’t put off your life on the assumption that you have more time. Don’t assume you can do all you dreamed of in retirement. Find ways of doing them now. Career breaks, sabbaticals, significant vacations. Time passes and you will hear yourself saying, I wish I would have taken my opportunity when I had the chance.