As many of you know, I have written a story or two here about retirement and so I decided to share another of my takes on the subject. I have entitled it "If Only".
It could also be entitled "The Path Not Taken" but I will leave that up to your discretion as to which way to interpret it when you are finished. Here goes:
Did you ever sit and ponder back in time and wonder “if only” type scenarios in your head?
Lately certain “If only” type scenarios have been making their way into my subconscious thinking. Things like – “if only” I would have gone to California with the buddy I made when I mustered out of the Army – where would I be today?
Or, “if only” we wouldn’t have accepted that job in Jacksonville, Florida back in 1969 but instead moved to Philadelphia, how would our lives have changed? And then there is also the question what would have happened “if only” we had stayed in Bisbee, Arizona when family moved back to PA and KY?
But then those aren’t the only what “if only” things that tend to slip back into my subconscious! Sometimes I wonder what “if only” I had never left Reading PA in the first place when I joined the Army. But when you get right down to it, one can speculate until the cows come home as to what if this and what if that. Fact of the matter is instead of the “what if’s”, life does and did happen and believe it or not we grew up.
Unless we are definitely down and out about our present circumstances, one must recognize that things do and did happen. Speaking for ourselves, for the most part we tend to be pretty much content with the way our lives have turned out. Yes, truth be told, even with all the ups and downs we have weathered over the years, we managed to make it through in spite of them.
If you are like me – we have had some disappointments but then again we had some wonderful times as well. We are what we are! The word hardy comes to mind. We have been twisted, bent, pulled in this direction or pushed in that direction for much of our adult lives but guess what – we seem to be much better for it.
Some may say we have created an outer thick skin – one that allows us to put up with all the bull crap we have seen and endured while on this journey called life. And while that thick skin may have enabled us to weather the storm over time, it also enabled us to become stronger on the inside as well.
Youngsters today seem to be so devastated when they experience a break-up or the loss of a job and seem to wonder – “Why me?” But I am sure that many of you reading this post will be the first to agree that when that does happen and we are a part of it (may be happening to a niece or nephew, grandson or granddaughter), deep down in our hearts – we are saying or at least thinking – what is the big deal? @#$%^&* happens – get over it!
Truth be told though – depending on just how young these individuals may be when they do, in fact, experience such a fact of life – they are truly devastated. Why? Because – think about it – they have no history to draw on. Oh, true – one of their parents may have experienced a lay-off or a sibling may have experienced a divorce but fact is that they are just building their foundations of life whereas at our age, we have weathered one, two, three or even more such storms in our storybook of tales. What is that saying – “Been there – Done that!”
They are just starting the life-long process of building careers, families, and the like whereas we are finally at that stage where we hope to reap the benefits of that which we have sown. The main difference is that the youth of today are just beginning to make memories whilst we are finally at a turning point in our lives and are only now taking time to enjoy and remember memories that we had made many years ago.
Either way, I am sure that the memories our young are making will be heartwarming, full and positive. Fact of the matter is that being the age we are - we already have a good solid foundation in under us, which means that we have good solid ground under us. Perhaps that is why we are still around after all these years. Keep in mind that the one thing that we still have in common with our young is that of time. I am sure that even though they are still young, our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews still take pause quite often and ask themselves – where has the time gone?
So, even in our advanced years , if there were one thing we might still be finding hard to accept – we might still be asking ourselves – “if only our time on this Earth didn’t fly by so darned fast?” At times I am quite content in accepting the fact that time is slipping by but then there are other times that I tend to look at my honey and say “Where has the time gone?” “It seems like just yesterday we were thinking about retirement and lo and behold – here we are almost twenty years into retirement.”
My how time flies when you are having fun!