THOSE FUTURE PLANS WE MAKE

Garry and I were watching Madame Secretary last night and she said: “We should plan to have a farm when we retire…”

I looked at Garry and said: “Except by the time they retire, a farm will be impossible unless it’s a pretend farm without crops or animals. That,” I pointed out, “is what’s wrong with the plans we make for later in life. We make these plans when we are young and strong. Full of vigor and bouncing with youth. We have no idea what we will feel like when retirement really rolls around.”

We bought this house one year before Garry stopped working and a few years before I couldn’t work anymore. If we had seen where life was going and where we would be twenty years down the road, would we have bought this house? My guess is we would have bought a house, but maybe something smaller and surely without steps.

We went through hard times between the end of employment and recovery, such as it is. Two years when we had zero income during which our money vanished and never came back. Yet we pushed on because what other choice is there? We cut back, learned to live on less. With grinding slowness, we got to a point where we could survive.

I suppose the point of this is that the plans we make for our future, especially a future that is decades away, are entertaining. Just don’t hold your breath. Those plans were made when we were young, strong , and never imagined what getting old would feel like. Future plans are fun, but often stunningly unrealistic.

I remember thinking when I was in my twenties and thirties that life would always be like that. Funny how that vision was true and entirely different at the same time.



Categories: #gallery, #Photography, Anecdote, Autumn, Blackstone Valley, House and home, Retirement, senior citizens

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10 replies

  1. As Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.”

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    • We have ganged seriously a-gley! If I ever thought about growing old, it was so casual and lightweight, it was utterly unreal. I actually never thought about retirement. I bounced from one baby tech company to another and actually never realized that these little companies were great to work for, but didn’t offer any of the benefits I might need. I think I figured Garry’s 33 years at Channel 7 would fix it. I was SO wrong!

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  2. I am in total agreement with this what you just said. Plans are made in a age when we are bouncing with energy and we have really no idea what future shall bring with it. All said and done we all make plans, dream about good times and keep on slogging, saving in the age when we actually are suppose to enjoy and by the time it is time to retire and enjoy the savings or whatever we have acquired over the years, neither the body nor the mind is fit to take up adventures.
    The picture of you both laughing together is so adorable. Keep sticking to each other.

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    • I think we all need to stop waiting for “the right time” and just do the things we want to do. Maybe we’ll be able to do it when we retire, but the odds don’t favor it. Make the memories now. If you’re still up for it? Make more later, but don’t wait. You just never know what is going to happen.

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  3. The only thing we’ve really adjusted is we will always live in a small town. My little town is about 16,000 and is perfect. We first thought we want to live on land and out of a town, much like you. But now we want the stable services and ease of shopping for food. Although we get that delivered. Again something a small town brings.

    I know you two have been through hard times, and you always seems to make it though happily and joyful and that’s because you have each other. 😀

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    • We haven’t always been happy OR joyful, but we do have each other and I can’t even imagine any other life. I’m amazed we didn’t lose anyone to COVID, but while we were in COVID, we lost half a dozen friends to strokes and cancer. ALL of them were younger than me and much younger than Garry. It’s a scary world. Having each other is the BEST part of our lives. I actually can’t even imagine life without Garry and I suspect he feels the same way about me. So, we don’t talk about it and try to live in the moment.

      Our town is down to about 10,000. We lost about 2000 people over the past five years. Kids get bored, go to college, don’t come back. I suspect my granddaughter is going to leave in the not-too-distant future and I understand. That is, after all, exactly what I did. But I will miss her terribly.

      100 years ago, this town supported more than 30,000 people — and then, the mills closed.

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  4. CERTAINLY, WE NEVER PLANNED ON A WORLD BESET BY A VIRUS THAT CHANGED OUR WAY OF LIVING, AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT WILL REMAIN THIS WAY FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. I”M GRATEFUL THAT I HAVE A HOUSE MORTGAGE FREE. IT’S 82 YEARS OLD, SO THERE ARE PARTS THAT NEED RESTORING. I’VE SPENT $17,700 ALREADY IN NEW PIPING, AND THE ROOF IS PROBABLY THE NEXT EXPENSE. I NEVER ENVISIONED RETIRING, FIGURING I WOULD TEACH UNTIL I DIED. BUT, LIFE HAS OTHER IDEAS. I DON’T REGRET LEAVING A GREAT TEACHING JOB FOR THE PEACE CORPS FOR TWO YEARS. THEY WERE AMONG THE BEST IN MY LIFE. BUT, GETTING BACK TO THE TEACHING WORLD, I END UP AS A MENTOR TEACHER IN THE PRIVATE SCHOOL WHERE I TAUGHT FOR 21 YEARS. AS THE SAYING GOES, “YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH? TELL HIM WHAT YOU HAVE PLANNED.”

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    • My mother used to say “Man plans. God laughs.” I was planning on being the same forever. Maybe a bit more gray. I never imagined not being able to move well or having heart problems. I never imagined any of the problems I’ve got. Garry is healthy for his age, but his age is beginning to show. We’d be almost free of mortgage by now, but when we ran out of money, we kept refinancing to fill the money gap, so while is is a lot less than it was a dozen years ago, it’s nowhere near clear — and because they raised both taxes and insurance, our monthly nut has gone up for the first time in years. I doubt we’ll outlive our mortgage. But we live in hope.

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  5. This is so true. I worked with a gal who had all these plans for when she and her husband retire–in 20 years. I asked her why didn’t she just live out her dreams now. She looked at me like I was crazy. I looked at her like she was nuts. A lot can happen in 20 years…she doesn’t quite see it that way.

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    • I remember when we were in our 60s thinking it was time to stop saving for a raining day. We were already very wet.

      We did some traveling before COVID. Now, even if I could, I wouldn’t be doing any world traveling. I really hate airports and airplanes and anyway, money to travel would have to come from somewhere. It’s hard to imagine where that might be. When we were younger, I was willing to throw the vacation on a credit card and figure out paying it off later. This IS later. Very much later.

      So many people put off the things they really want to do until it’s too late to do it. Even assuming YOU stay more or less able, the world may not be ready for you.

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