I've been doing some long distance gazing lately.
Whether it's the fact I've been in full-time workforce for about 25 years, or the pain that comes in reading the gutted 401K statements, I've been pondering what life will be like when I'm finally able to hang it up.
What... and When.
My dad Jack is a young 81 years old, and has been retired since he was 59. He was fortunate enough to mix a career in civil service with a reasonable retirement formula that mixed his age and years with the school district. The minute he got the chance, he was vapor. (Jack loved the job, just didn't like where parents and the kid responsibility issue was headed).
I'd sell my soul (and just about anything else I own, including my kids on a bad day) to be able to match that 59. Good health, good attitude, still connected to the world around... talk about the motherload for a great life.
In reality, I won't be able to retire at 59, or perhaps even 69. The investments I've made were destroyed by Wall Street greed and lack of oversight, and the leveraging of the Social Security system will likely diminish the amount of the retirement pay I've been bleeding into the system. Sorry if I sound bitter, but the last couple of years have been tough on a guy's dreams of the good life.
Actually, I've had a couple of interesting discussions lately with former co-workers who got out while the gettin' was good. One is ranching in Kentucky, wrangling Llamas and Alpacas and making music. The other was with a dedicated world traveler who today told me 'I'm pretty good at doing nothing... so I'm happy'.
That got me to thinking. My retirement thoughts are of loading up everything my Harley can hold, and seeing what the new America looks like. Walking trails through the mountains, floating in a canoe on the waters of Minnesota and Wisconsin... spending time with my wife Karen and the girls without being a slave to the calendar. I'm not wired for 'do nothing'... and would probably be a major nuisance if I didn't have some kind of structure.
As long as it's not 9 to 5:30.
Who knows, maybe the market will come back, the broadcasting industry will recover it's niche, and KARE 11 will tell me I'm welcome to stick around for as short, or as long a time as I desire.
Forgive a guy for dreaming.
(Copyright 2009 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)