Alright, who isn’t singing? You there. Yeah, you. Sing a little louder please.
Tomorrow is my birthday. Well, depending on where you live today is my birthday. Either way I am another year older, not so much wiser and still figuring out what to be when I grow up.
I am now 55.
55 used to be the magic number of ‘senior’ discounts and retirement. No any longer. Now 62 is the average age to receive that blistering 10% off at most shops. So now that I’ve made it to 55, I still have to wait until I’m 62. When I hit 62, they will probably have upped the ante to 72. Not that I care, it’s just one of those things that have changed with the times.
So here I sit here at 55 and look back a bit at my life. I don’t have the things most people have at my age. I don’t drive the latest car. I don’t live in a house with 5 bedrooms that I never use and 4 car garage for one car. I don’t have millions in the bank for my retirement. I will not be traveling the world in my old age. Apparently I have failed at attaining ‘The American Dream’.
My life has been unremarkable. Rather plain by most standards. But it has been fun, unpredictable and sometimes a roller coaster ride. And best of all, there is more to come.
As a kid, my family spent many a summer driving to the midwest from the west coast to visit family. Along the way we got to see things like The Alamo, Four Corners, Carlsbad Caverns, old plantation homes in the south, The French Quarter in New Orleans, Dodge City, Tombstone, Churchill Downs and loads of roadside attractions, landscapes and ‘strange’ folk. All from the door of our motorhome.
I got to have turtles, a cat, a dog, watch tadpoles turn into frogs and later on – a horse. I played in the summer rain, roller skated, climbed trees, rode my bicycle all over town and ran until I dropped. My parents taught me to love books, be curious, fix small things, ask questions, swim, explore and so much more (Yeah, I am old. I grew up with no cell phone or internet). Were my parents perfect? No. They yelled when they probably shouldn’t have and made mistakes like anyone else. But they did the best they could. After all, us kids didn’t come with instructions.
All in all, I had a grand childhood.
My adult life has been a series of ups and downs. I have been married more than once. I have known heartbreak and betrayal. I have staunch friends who always be my friends no matter how badly I screw up. My kids have lived more places than most kids who are not military brats. I sometimes feel bad that I didn’t get to give them some of the things I had as a kid. I screwed up a lot. But we had dogs and horses, and they got to do things other kids didn’t get to do. They have grown into adults I am proud of and neither one of them seem to be too awfully ruined by my mistakes.
So no. I don’t have that huge, modern house with all those empty rooms. Instead, I live in small house with my S.O., his youngest son, and four dogs. We have two old cars and one newish car. We watch our pennies and shop gleefully at thrift shops and discount markets (Yes, gleefully. Thrift shops are a blast!). We are happy and relatively healthy. We have what we need. And best of all, we have the important stuff.
The true ‘American’ Dream.