Friday, December 23, 2011


It took me more than a week to get around to my annual birthday post, which probably says all that needs to be said. This year i did my annual bike ride solo, riding around San Diego's south bay to Coronado Island and then back to home. About 90 miles total, but slow.

In most ways this was a better year than last. My hip is better, though not perfect, and i've even done a little running, wise or not. I did my first double century bike ride, and i got my "black fringe" in tai chi. My work has gone fairly well. I guess the theme would be normalcy.

I do however have this feeling of having crossed some threshold that i can't quite define yet. I find that my days are bracketed by certain pleasant moments-- the minutes i get to read in the evening before i fall asleep, the first cup of coffee in the morning. I don't have any grand plan for my life, as young people must, and it's a strange transition. The only remaining life-change for me is when both kids are out of the house. The older son will be in college by this time next year, and the younger will be there (i presume) in four years. That will make me 52 and faced with a decision about what to do next.

I don't know what the decision will be. I'm certain that i don't want a standard path. I don't want to play golf, or build my dream house, or (god forbid) relax. My inspiration at the moment is Dick Proenneke, who at about that age moved to Alaska to live alone in the wilderness for the next 30 years. That seems like a decent retirement. I just have to hope that my kids don't want to move back home.

Part of the problem is that at this age i find it ridiculously difficult to plan anything. I still need to. There's college to be paid for and a house to make salable, and various loose ends to tie. The conundrum is to figure out how to walk the fine line between utter randomness and enough structure to provide for those who depend on me.


J said...

I haven't quite decided what I would like the last part of my life to look like either.

There are only two or three more "gotta have" purchases out there, so the need for a steady cash supply is going to dwindle. But at this point I still enjoy my work, so there is no reason to stop.

Should I ever decide to retire, there are a few activities that appeal to me - mainly in the realm of creating tangible things from metal and glass. This may be a result of working in software my entire career, where my creations live as fleeting lit pixels on a thin display panel.

Mike said...

If you decide to make those things, i can build you a website to sell them :-). Seriously, i can't do anything useful that doesn't involve computers.