We stayed at a cabin last weekend owned by a retired couple in southern Alberta. It was a little building adjacent to their own home that they built themselves when they left the city to move back to the family land. It's cozy and quiet and perfect.
Before we left today, they invited us into their own home and showed us around it. It was a beautiful, big home, full of amazing wood furniture, wood floors, wood stairs, cabinets, closets, all made by hand by the husband. Amazing. Beautiful. True craftsmanship by a great guy.
We got talking about how they ended up there, how he worked in computers back when mainframe was the thang, but he left that career when he knew the job was going to be relocated elsewhere. Woodworking was always his hobby, and a friend of his offered him a job working in his shop, where he refined his craft and made some money along the way. It gave him the skills to continue to use his talent even after he stopped working. We had a discussion after that about how important it was for him to have something to do after he retired... and they joked that they probably took too much on instead of taking the easy life.
It got me thinking during the drive home that, even though retirement is quite a few years down the line for me, I have some idea of how I want the whole post-career life to go:
- Volunteering for groups that need a grant-writer or news release writer.
- Traveling with the hubby to places that we need more than a week or two to visit.
- Tutoring or teaching piano lessons.
- Working a shift or two at a yarn shop.
- Knitting through my stash!
So, what does that mean?
It means that, when the days are rough and I'm left at the end of the day wondering if I can keep going, I can remember that there's a goal somewhere down the road... that it won't always be like this.
But it also means that I don't have to wait until then to have that life. If I say: I don't need an extravagant life. I just need a content one, that means that, today, I don't have to buy that new bag or new pair of shoes... that if I just put those twenty dollars aside and concentrate on living this content life, the retirement dream is twenty dollars closer. Tomorrow, it could be another five dollars closer. And that twenty-five bucks I put away every week for travel? It means I have $1,300 to go where I want. And if I don't use it all, I add it to the ol' retirement fund, and, in the meantime, I enjoy what I already have.
So retirement? It's gonna be sweet. But so is this life I've got right now. I've got a great home, a great relationship and I enjoy a comfortable, interesting life.
And the white shorts and white socks? I tried it out the other day. It's never going to be a good look for me...