Thursday, January 29, 2009

Early (Temporary) Retirement

I learned a lot from my Dad. As a kid I used to be the one holding the flashlight while he tinkered with the engine or fixed something around the house. As a teenager I was employed at the plumbing shop he owned and learned many things that helped me in my own life. My Dad was an inventor and could fix or build almost anything and I learned as I watched him. But the most important thing I learned from my Dad he never showed me.

My Dad worked very hard his entire life and managed to raise 7 children who were all comfortably fed, warmly dressed, and always returned from a visit with a few extra dollars in their pocket. He worked long hard days in bitter cold and blazing heat digging ditches with is backhoe. When he got home he worked on a multitude of projects that kept him busy late into the night. Some might call him a "workaholic".

Don't get me wrong, he was a good father and he enjoyed his family. He took us fishing, boating, camping - he even built us a swimming pool which is quite rare in South Dakota. Still I knew that he was waiting to retire so he and Mom could enjoy some real relaxation. He couldn't have known that cancer would end his life at the early age of 60. He was still on his backhoe a week before he died. He never got to retire.

The important lesson I learned is that you must take time to enjoy today. You can't put your dreams off because tomorrow is never guaranteed. I live my life this way. I too work hard at my job and on projects at my house. But I always take time to enjoy the beach when the weather is nice and not feel guilty about it.

Soon I will embark on a grand adventure that my family and friends are concerned about. True, I may be a bit crazy to voluntarily (and hopefully temporarily) quit my job - especially in this economy. Perhaps I should wait until things improve, or until I have more savings, or this reason or that. Well, the lesson I learned is that sometimes waiting can get you in a box six feet underground rather than across the country on a bicycle. A little voice inside me keeps saying "go now" - and I think it sounds like my Dad.

1 comment:

Evelyn said...

Your words are the age old words of wisdom "live every day as if it were your last." Go for the Gusto and accomplish your Grand Adventure - your Dad will be there guiding you along, and your family will send their energy to you so that you make it to Seattle to Party with your Sister(s). :-)