I knew I wasn’t a kid anymore when my hair turned white. I am officially as grown up as grown up can be. When you are getting pensions and social security checks and living on them, that’s probably a pretty sure sign maturity has arrived. You think, probie?
Personal mistakes, unfortunate turns in the road, bumps that are painful, even frightening? Normal stuff. Regrettable, but since no one can go back and fix what already happened, let it be. It is what it is, was, and will be.
Planning is a fool’s game. We planned to be young and healthy forever. Look how well that worked out. Well, maybe it did work out … finally. Not the way we planned it, but not so terrible, either.
Now we are in our retirement years and there are rewards. Freedom is the big one. No one can order you around. No one holds you to a deadline. You go to bed and get up on your own schedule. You do everything on your own schedule. If you don’t have a job, one day is like another. Weekends take me by surprise.
If you are in a good marriage, you finally have time to enjoy each other. You get to know your grandchildren. You read, watch movies, pursue hobbies, pet your dogs.
We worked hard, played hard, so our memories are a treasure trove. We did just about everything we seriously wanted to do. Hopefully, we have a few surprises yet to come. Good surprises, please.
I wish we’d been smarter about money. We thought we were being smart. We did what we thought we were supposed to do. It just didn’t work out as planned. What made perfect sense 20 years ago doesn’t make sense today. We didn’t fully grasp that pension amounts stay the same, though the cost of living continues to rise. The meaning of “fixed income” hadn’t really grabbed hold. It surely has now.
Looking backward … we had a great deal of fun. Individually and together. We still have fun. We just need to fit the fun into a tight budget, taking into account arthritic bodies and limited energy.
Few regrets and great memories. We didn’t do everything, but we did a lot. More than most. We made our share of unfortunate — even stupid — choices, but we didn’t chicken out. If life were a movie, we would be on schedule for a previously unknown but fabulously rich relative to pass away leaving us gazillions of dollars and a mansion on a cliff in Ireland. Pity a Hollywood scriptwriter isn’t writing our lives. A Hollywood ending would be a nice touch.
So, about that growing up thing? We grew up. And survived the experience.
In the deathless words and music of Edith Piaf, I would like to say this about that: Non, je ne regrette rien ... or at least, not much.