Monday, October 12, 2009

If Their Past is Not My Future...What Is?

Since my parents died, I’ve adopted this somewhat morbid habit of recalling what was happening in their lives when they were my age. I look back to see if their fifties, sixties and seventies held anything that I might look forward to in my own life. Perhaps something that bears any resemblance to the dreams I used to have for myself, or, for that matter, anything even vaguely appealing.

In their fifties, my parents saw their first grandchildren born, and their youngest daughter (me) married. Okay, being childless, these are things I will not be anticipating….

Mom and Dad bought a travel trailer, made some little trips around the country, even splurged on a few “flying” vacations. They finally felt “flush” enough to begin their tradition of going out to dinner every Friday night. They were, for the most part, contented empty-nesters, established and comfortable and enjoying the fruits of their labors. But the fact is, they were already winding down in those years. Slowing down and gliding into retirement. My mother was only 59 when my parents retired, for god’s sake.

So why in the hell would I even think I could use my parents’ lives as any kind of template for my own? Could there be a more opposite set of circumstances than where my parents were at my age and where I find myself today? I’m an over-challenged, clueless entrepreneur trying to single-handedly drive to victory the one dream in all my life that I’ve managed to yank out of my head and into reality. Slowing down? I’m still going 100 miles an hour…well, maybe only 80, because that’s as fast as I can go. But my foot is pressed to the floor and I’m calling for every bit of power I can coax out of the old gal. Retirement? What’s that?

But perhaps I’ve figured out why people want to slow down. They want it to last. They want to plant their feet in front of all those years that are tumbling by faster and faster and stop the free-fall. Put out their hands and say, “Wait! Stop! Hold on just a minute! I’M…NOT…DONE…!”

Not so very long ago, my future consisted not of fading dreams of things I hadn’t accomplished, but of all the things I fully intended to do. I would have that a-frame cabin in the woods. I would make that trip to The Continent…spend time…six months, maybe a year. I would rediscover my music and my art; take up piano, and learn to ride, and write for money. I could do these things. I had time.

Now, I look at my life, half-gone…or maybe a little more than half. And I’m so busy and time goes so fast, faster and faster every minute, that I know I’ll never get the chance... Maybe I knew that before…but it still felt good, to dream. To think, yeah...I could do that. Because even if I didn’t have the money or the means or the moxie, I had the time. Which somehow made it all still possible.

What is my future, now? What can I still expect to do…and where am I going to find the time?

1 comment:

  1. Lisa,

    I know why I do it with the lives of my GRANDPARENTS. When I was growing up they were my ideal. I still want what they had, even knowing that life is denied me. For me it is a longing for rules and regulations and expectations that can be met over the chaos I usually find myself in.

    There is nothing wrong with having guidelines. The future...well it comes ready or not, best not to worry so much.

    I know you will be fine and live your life as fully as possible. You already are and do.