Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I Think About: NOT Waiting for the Golden Years

A friend of mine moved away and came back for a little visit.  Since we all have kids we brought out our mom plan: go to the park so kids can play and we can talk. It worked like a charm.

While we were at the park, the discussion turned to the things we desired--a little vacay, sleeping in, a day in bed watching movies ... The audible mom sigh sounded.  And then the question came ... the question lurking in our minds but rarely spoken aloud ...

"It will happen, right?"

As in, "One day I'll get to lay in bed and watch movies again like I did in college?  "One day I'll get to sleep until ten?"  "One day I'll get to take a relaxing vacation?"

Of course we all joked that these things would happen ... as soon as our kids were out of the house.

The Golden Years.  We hear about this magical time in life when you are financially secure and not tethered down by jobs and napping infants.  Apparently this is when sleep happens and travel occurs and memories are made.  So we trudge through this day dreaming of these Golden Years.

My parents had a Golden Years plan.  They were going to have a cabin in Alaska and stay there all summer but they'd winter in the lower states.  They'd have a fifth wheel and just drive from one spot to the next seeing the country.  They'd had this plan my whole life.  They were waiting for kids to be gone and to be secure.

Then the recession hit and all that financial security was gone.  My mom got sick and died.  This was no where in the Golden Years Plan.  During the weekend of mom's memorial my dad was covered in family and screaming grandkids and my sister and I were frazzled, exhausted messes and he looked right at me and said, "THESE are the Golden Years, don't waste them."

This craziness?  This brokenness?  This exhaustion?  THESE are the Golden Years?

I looked at that man, at his shattered dreams and his regrets of waiting for "one day" rather than living each day as though it were "one day" and I knew what he was saying.  Nothing, nothing is guaranteed for us.  We can plan and save and wait but our plans, they are not set in stone.  Something like the economy or CADASIL can change everything.

We have to live and love and enjoy now because "one day" might not happen.  Living life to its full is a daily mission, not some big dream for the future.

What are we waiting for?  Are we too afraid to actually live today?  Are we too afraid of what it would cost or that it might make us humbly ask for help or give up something?  What are we waiting for?  Why do we wait to live when we could be living, really living, right now?

I don't want to wait for the stars to align to sleep in a little.  I don't want to wait until I'm on the brink of insanity to take a vacation.  I don't want my children to feel like a burden ... like I can't wait for them to leave so I can start living.

I want to live like this is my Golden Year, even when--on many levels--it feels like a Job year.

What do you desire?  What can you do to make it a reality?

What can you do to really live today?

If you want to sleep in, can you make a "sleep schedule" with your spouse alternating Saturday morning sleep in times?
If you want a day in bed, could family or friends take your kids for a night?
If you want a vacation, could you cancel cable to save for it or do a staycation?

What I think is the days go slowly but the years go quickly and I will not be waiting for some dreamy "one day" to start living the life I dream about.  It starts today because today is all I might have.

Thanks, Shell for letting me Pour My Heart Out on your blog.


  1. It sucks that you parents don't get this special time together, it really does.

    But I totally agree with what your dad said. Raising a family together with your spouse is one of the greatest times in your life. Sure, it's stressful and exhausting sometimes, but it goes by all too quickly and one day we'll be looking back saying "Remember those golden years when our kiddos were small enough to snuggle and they thought we were super cool?"

    Khale and I take turns sleeping in on the weekend. He usually takes Saturday morning and I'll sleep in on Sunday morning. It's beautiful and keeps us both sane.

    Yay for the spit-up caked, never-peeing-by-yourself, blue box mac n' cheese, budget-friendly dates, golden years! :)

  2. Absolutely agree with you! A sweet friend of mine just lost her battle with cancer this month... just 15 months after diagnosis. There was nothing to give them any hint she would ever get sick. It just happened... and now her husband and two kids are left mourning her. But what they did during these last 15 months was cherish EVERY moment because they weren't sure which one would be their last and at the same time they NEVER lost faith. And it has spoken volumes to all of us watching them. So, I agree. No more waiting for when things are "easier" or "simpler" or "we have more money" or "the kids are older." We are not promised tomorrow, so we should be living all out TODAY.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Hubs and I often think of our "someday" plan, but do try to enjoy the now as much as we possibly can.

  4. i love this with all my heart. It even made me teary eyed. The days are long but the years fast...s very true.

  5. So true! I think because I'm an "advanced maternal age" mama, I got to enjoy so much before he was born that I don't feel like I'm missing out on any trips to Europe or partying my butt off. Been there, done that already. :)


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