Wednesday, May 16, 2018

It Was Five Years Ago

    I retired officially five years ago this month.  It became a phased retirement of sorts since I worked part-time for the next one and a half years.  My last paycheck was collected three and a half years ago.  My social security starts next month.  I turn 65 in less than two weeks.

     Looking back five years ago, I blogged that I’d heard the years go by faster once you retire.  I now know that’s true.  Five years ago almost seems like yesterday in some ways.  And when I look at the bucket list I concocted back then, I see it’s mostly undone.

      A friend of mine who also turned 65 this month but is still working asked me what retirement was like and how his life might be different if he too joined the ranks of seniors on the sidelines.  His job is more rewarding than mine was, so it’s a toss-up for him whether he’ll trade his paycheck for social security.

       This friend of mine is particularly haunted by the supposed dying words of rock star David Cassidy who according to his daughter said, “So much wasted time.”  He doesn’t wanted to be feeling similarly when he’s lying on his own deathbed.

        So when I think back on the past five years, I can’t say they’ve been all that productive.  We’ve accomplished a few things around the house, I have traveled quite a bit, I made a couple attempts at publishing short stories, and I’ve kept up with my hobbies and such.  But I can’t say I’ve finally completed the great American novel, went back to school, started a second career, done a lot of volunteer work or made my home a neighborhood showpiece.

        What have I done in the past five years to make those years truly worthwhile?  The time I’ve gotten to spend with family, particularly my grandkids.  As soon as I retired, I began watching my oldest grandson Grant, then Luke and now littlest Owen.   Lots of fond memories.  I remember three-year-old Grant asking me, “Are you scared” before we watched together his favorite movie at the time, “Attack of the Crab Monsters.”

    I also remember taking him to a library around then.  Not usually the outgoing type, he nevertheless hit it off with a girl there about the same age.  They played together, chatted together in the vernacular of three-year-olds, ran from table to table, and together watched the fish in the library aquarium.  Grant even invited the girl on a date of sorts, asking if she could come over to his house tomorrow.  “We’ll eat sandwiches and watch crab monster,” he offered. 

     With Luke I remember his first go-to phrase was “Here ya go.”  He’d say that as he was handing other mothers in our book babies class sundry name-tags and toys he had picked up throughout the room.  Or he would grab a package of cookies from the shelf at the grocery store and give them to me , saying,  “Here ya go.”

      His memorable experience with a girl his age at the library turned out differently.  Since Luke was quite shy with girls, when a girl came up to the puzzle table where he was putting together a puzzle, he ran off.  But I stayed to watch the little girl play with her puzzle, hoping to coax Luke to return.  And he did!  So the two were working on separate puzzles but at the same table when the little girl lost her balance, toppling over with puzzle pieces flying everywhere.

     “Oh,” I gasped, hoping that Luke would do the gallant thing and come to help her.  Instead, he glanced over, said, “She’s fine”, and turned his attention back to his own puzzle.

     Owen doesn’t say much yet but I already know years from now I’ll remember his ever-present smile.  “Cheese” is one word he will say when there’s a camera pointed his way.

     You do hear a lot of older folk say it’s time to retire and spend more time with the family.  In that regard, I guess my retirement has been a success.


Blogger Lee said...

Boy! The years have flown by so quickly.

You have been having a wonderful time with your grand-kiddies...and there is lots more ahead. Times to be enjoyed and cherished. Your time has not been wasted...and it certainly has been successful...and will continue being so, I reckon! :)

4:54 AM  
Blogger Carine Nadel said...

Having a great time w/ the grands is worthwhile and memorable for both sides of this coin Dave! I love hearing what comes "out of the mouth of babes", sometimes it gives me an idea for a blog.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LEE--Just got word tonight that grandchild number five might be on the way. We'll be waiting for the call.

CARINE--I've had a few blogs inspired myself by grandchildren's unique view of their world. There's nothing that'll bring a quicker smile to my face than one of their cute little quotables.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Carine Nadel said...

That's for sure! Our grand-daughter is so serious about bossing her brother and cousins around that she has no idea how funny she really is!

3:32 PM  

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