As two of the estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring each day, we are more hopeful than worried about the next several decades, and we don’t want to waste a moment. We’ve mapped out our travel plans, committed to long-term volunteer projects, and try to make the moments count with our family and friends.
By many Americans’ standards, we live a humble life, but it’s a good one and we’ve shared it for over four decades. We married in college and our first home was a two-room apartment, decorated with an eclectic mix of cast-offs from relatives and garage sale treasures. We earned our degrees and moved into the workplace. I was an English teacher for 34 years and my husband, John, was a railroad signalman for 37.
We struggled as we bought our first home and raised our two children, but those memories are mostly good ones: little league and soccer, evening fireflies and hiking trails, roasting marshmallows in the fireplace, piano lessons, football games, show choir, and summer vacations to the mountains and the beach. We drove the same car and pickup for eight long years to pay for our kids’ college tuition and wedding expenses. Now our son and daughter are gainfully employed, happily married to good people, and have children of their own–our three endearing grandsons and a lovely new granddaughter, born on my 60th birthday.
Our jobs and a little curiosity have taken us to places that have whetted our appetite for travel: 48 of the 50 states and over a dozen trips abroad. These experiences have brought us to the realization of how little we know about the world around us and left us wanting to learn more about other people, other cultures, and other ways of thinking.
We recently endured the death of all four parents, retired our mortgage, and lost our beloved golden retriever to old age. And suddenly, without realizing how it happened, we’ve passed the threshold into retirement. Now, here we are–two 60-year-olds who are well aware that the next several decades will pass even more quickly.
Old age, it seems, is looming around the bend, but in the words of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, “old age should burn and rave at the close of day.” That’s what the two of us intend to do, God willing–raving and raging, beside each other–until the dying of the light.