I was chatting over e-mail with my Uncle recently (you may have heard his interview in our latest podcast), and the subject of following one’s dreams came up. He expressed how sad it is that so many people wait until they retire before they pursue their dreams and goals. Unfortunately for many, he noted, that day never comes.
This is coming from a guy in his mid-fifties coming off a quadruple bypass operation.
He mentioned that when people actually do retire, the average number of Social Security checks they are able to cash before they die is… eighteen. I’m not sure what his source is, but I have no reason to question this number.
It reminds me of a wise sage (ok, it was just me) who once said,
Many of us gear our lives around some arbitrary date in the future, as if everything will be better when that point in time — that day on the calendar — comes. But what makes THAT day on the calendar any better or more important than THIS day on the calendar? Nothing. The only reality is that today is all we have, and that other day may never come.
This was a reflection of mine regarding a man who died in a West Virginia coal mining accident and the emphasis on how close he was to retirement. To me, life is too short to spend it living for retirement and 18 checks.
Now mind you, I am writing this from Atlanta Bread Company because it is so hot here in Madison that I think I heard the weatherman say something about spontaneous combustion and Kim and I are too poor to run our terribly inefficient air conditioner. In short, chasing after “the dream” is not always a picnic in Paris. Actually, on some days, it can be terrifying, frustrating, and can even make you question your sanity. But even though it’s sometimes hard to explain why, I wouldn’t change a thing. Not for a million dollars. Not for free air conditioning.
And definitely not for 18 checks.
[tags]Social Security, dreams, retirement, goals[/tags]
How right you are. And I love that you quoted yourself. Bravo.
My step dad died weeks before retirement. My Mom says she is so happy that they took time off to go to the lake each summer. Though money was tight, they always placed priority on a week-long vacation. Mom says “Do I look back and wish we’d had more money? No, it is the time we shared, that cannot be bought, that I cherish in my memories of Ray.” Live in the moment, for tomorrow you could get smucked by a foul ball. Lisa
You’re right, Lisa. The moments are priceless. And I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for foul balls.