I just celebrated my fifty fifth birthday. It was a big milestone for me considering that I just remarked to my wife that, I remember, I was just thirty five years old and starting our family. I was getting grounded into a career that I hoped would have taken me to great heights of fulfillment. Now, 20 years later, I find myself in another place, doing another work, and has followed a path that I have never planned or dreamed.
I had the chance to be alone while I sat in a chapel. I went to the chapel as early during the day as I could so I can offer a prayer for my birthday. It’s different now. I used to be able to go to a church and attend a full mass on my birthday but now I just have to content myself with a prayer in a chapel. Or, probably it’s better now because I can be alone in a quiet chapel and pray. It was during this time that I just sat and became lost in my thoughts. How did twenty years go so fast?
Now I remember! During the twenty years that passed we made the final plans to move from one side of the world to the other. One of us bolstered a career while the other ended a career to start another one. We settled down in a house and created a home. We left family and friends and made new friends. Eventually, the friends that we made became our chosen family. Careers blossomed and led to new paths – new discovery! We moved to another city and another home. The children grew. Momo, the dog, became the youngest member of the family. We acquired family members through marriage. The first grandchild arrived! That’s why I felt dizzy with the passing of twenty years!
My wife and I were joined by friends for food and drinks at a local restaurant/bar – our chosen family. I was happy that, despite the busy work and family schedule, some of them were able to make it. They make life better. We spend time together and we celebrate holidays together. We all know that we all come from different family trees but, like branches from different trees, we share our space and we support each other.
I look at all the children and see how much they have grown. They are young adults now and they have taken on responsibilities that I know is theirs to tackle at the right time. They look happy and they are now pursuing their dreams just like I did when I was their age. How I love to be back in their shoes once again! Wiser this time and more knowledgable but I know that I have had my chance and it is now their turn to shine.
My wife and I find ourselves alone on most times now. The house has become too big for us and we need to downsize. We have come to realize that the road to retirement has appeared and, although we have been preparing for it for quite a while now, we need to be more proactive in planning and executing it at the same time. I think traveling down this road will be the scariest because of the uncertainty of what is ahead and because of the perception that not enough has been done to prepare for it.
I hope for the best and I will live each special day as it comes.