My list from 2005:
- Be as great a parent/grandparent as my own
- Write a book
- Own a cottage on the water
- Be and stay healthy
- Retire early enough to do something new
- Be able to help my kids financially; be able to give back to community
- Visit Norway and Ireland with the kids
- Be on Jeopardy
- Become a master gardener
- Not worry about $$
I found this list in an old .txt file when I updated my phone recently. I remember writing it about 10 years ago and thinking that these were things that I really wanted out of life. Not exactly a bucket list, because there are other activities I might add to it for that, but key things that I felt would add value to my life.
I was pleasantly surprised while reading through it that I had done quite a few of them. For some, I can’t be the final judge (be a good parent), but I can make an educated guess. And some, I really don’t have all the control over (health) but I am an active participant in the outcome. For both of these items, I think I’ve done pretty well. My kids are happy and well (no grandkids yet, which is just fine by me) and my health is hanging in there. I’m dealing with what I’ve got.
It really pleased me to see that I have done #2 and #3 – I finished my novel and am working on another. It was interesting to me that my goal was to write a book – it wisely said nothing about publishing it. I guess my younger self knew that part was going to be a different sort of effort. And as to #3 – we bought our water view property a couple of years ago and are in the planning stages for the home we want to build there. It is going to be lovely.
My youngest son was just accepted at Reed College starting in the fall. I have four more years (sounds like election time!) of tuition payments. Once I’m free of those, however, I can make a career change and start my new full time writing life. I am making headway now in terms of what I want to take on and how I can do it – but retiring from my full time world of technology and moving toward something more literary is exciting. I can’t wait to make it happen.
I’ve already been able to help my kids financially, with two kids through college. I’ve helped my older son in his transition to a new land and getting his business off the ground and helped my daughter buy her first house. Our third child will most likely go on to grad school and we’ll do our best to help him there, too. I’m also actively volunteering for the PanCan organization and will continue to do so until we move to our new home in a new community. Even then, I’ll figure out a way to stay connected.
We visited Norway this summer as a family (only our daughter opted not to go) and we had a marvelous time visiting the homeland. We saw the old Stave Church where my mom’s family name is on one of the pews from sometime in the 1200s. Two of my three kids have made it to Ireland independently – I’d still like to make it a family destination, so I haven’t given up on that one.
The next two are things that were more important to me ten years ago. We used to watch Jeopardy with our kids in the evening and I always thought “I could do that” – however, in the big scheme of things, it really isn’t a top wish for me any longer. I’m willing to let that one go. As for Master Gardener, I looked into the qualifying process for it and realized that it involved a lot of procedural and political stuff – things that for me would suck the fun right out of puttering around in the garden. So I will stay a putterer and be happy with it. I don’t want to feel like I have to put in so many hours or teach so many classes – it just isn’t that important.
Last but not least, the money thing. I have our next four years mapped out for the tuition crunch. After that, I have the retirement transition spreadsheet drafted and I’m pleased to say it is all doable. I feel ready for that next phase of life and while I don’t think I’ll ever not stress about money (because that is my nature), my data shows that all should be well. And that’s a heck of a lot better than impossible.
So – in looking at life on the balance, I feel pretty good about the progress I made against those goals from way back when.
It must be time to set some new ones.