Had it not been for my dear husband Tom’s 42 years of hard work, this dream would have been but a dream, along with all the “would have,” “could have,” and “should have” that we all carry in the emotional baggage we haul around throughout our lives. We think we are unique, but we’re not.
In my 40’s, I gave up the dream that I’d ever find the perfect mate after two failed marriages, and then Tom miraculously appeared. At 50, I let go of the dream of a hugely successful business that would provide a lifetime of financial security, a fancy lifestyle and accepted the reality of being middle class.
At 62, I threw in the towel and retired, after 45 years of hard work, grateful for the experiences, grateful for a fabulous marriage, grateful for family and friends, and grateful for endless stories we will tell our grandchildren of the lessons we’ve learned along the way. That’s quite typical!
We were anticipating the “usual” retirement; living in a condo in a warm climate, visiting family for holidays, summers, and special occasions, playing bridge with new friends, preparing for a neighborhood dinner party, and acquiring a newly found affinity for “The Price is Right.” This works for most retirees. This would have worked for us. Hardly unusual!
We are a cheerful, animated, and upbeat couple that over these past 21 years together have managed life’s challenges, myriad health issues, and the loss of loved ones, unfailingly supporting one another with love, compassion, dignity, and grace. This is what most people do. Nothing special here!
We have accepted the physical changes most of us experience as we age; sagging skin, hairy ears (Tom, not me), bushy brows (Tom, not me!) wrinkles, creaking joints, aching backs (mostly me), and middle of the night potty breaks (me, not Tom) resulting in poor sleep. That happens to many of us!
Over the years we’ve adopted a healthy lifestyle, enjoying homemade, organic low carb meals, grass-fed meats, fistfuls of supplements, exercising (mostly me), low alcohol consumption, and Tom’s continuing effort to quit smoking.
But old age keeps coming’ at us no matter how hard we try to avoid it. We aren’t exempt. We each have our few prescriptions that once a month I put into our own little pill cases, another sign of advancing age.
Last night, as we sat in our respective comfy fat-stuffed chairs, computers on our laps; Tom, working on his ancestry stuff, me, working on travel information, I looked at him and smiled, thinking, “I can’t believe he’s willing to do this.” He turned his head toward me asking, “What are you looking at?” his voice, playful and obviously fishing for a compliment. That’s to be expected!
“Oh, I’m just thinking about how much I love you and that we have so much to look forward to,” I said, as a warm wave rolled over me.
“Same here, Sweetie and yes, we do,” he said while his bright blue eyes wandered back to his laptop. In seconds, he was entrenched in the census’s recently posted on ancestry.com totally tuning me out. I smiled to myself and turned back to my laptop. How typical is that?