It’s Only Natural

by Ouida on March 19, 2010

It is only natural at age 47 to begin to review your life choices. I know I am reviewing mine. When I was in my twenties, I was filled with all the promise of life, still in college, applying to medical school, walking to the student union one day thinking that this is a great country in which a kid can be a kid wanting to be a grownup and a doctor and then, Bob’s your uncle, it happens. In my 30’s a doctor, a new practice chairman, newly in love and broke. Gotta get ahold of this financial thing was what I thought, and so I did. Then the 40’s hit, I have friends who have passed on, others who have gotten injured or ill and are disabled, others who have divorced and are trying to put the pieces back together. I have grown older with my patients. It is only natural to look at the world around you and reflect on how you got there. I have friends and acquaintances in the blogosphere who are half my age, have sold all of their worldly possessions and are traveling and I know that life is not for me. Traveling is…in fact I really like to travel, some of the pics in my gallery on this blog are from Hawaii, the UK, Peru and parts of the California wine country. No, I like my possessions, that permanent dwelling I call home. I will admit that I do have too many possessions. My home flooded in 2007. When your personal things are floating around your home after a disaster like that and you need a net to scoop them up to quickly get them out of your home, you have too many possessions and that was me. I have been de-cluttering ever since. Being more than half way there, it is only natural to reflect on retirement. Will I make it with the lifestyle I want? I got my 401K during the heady 1990s. It was common to plug in numbers like 15% to see how long it would take to reach the magic final number. Max out your contributions and your company match and you’ll get there no problem. Now we know that 15% was a fantasy. A mirage. A folly that few had the wherewithal to question until the markets came tumbling down. Now I am looking at 6% and considering myself lucky. Thank goodness I bought income-producing real estate. The 50’s are knocking at the door and something else is happening. Time is moving at blinding speed. It will pass no matter what I do. One of my friends is fond of reminding me to suck the marrow out of life. She wants me to become a marrow-sucking fiend. I like marrow, grew up sucking it as a kid so I know what she means. Exhaust every opportunity. So when my friends and I get together, we talk until all hours of the early evening (we are middle-aged, you know) until our eyes are closing from sleep. I have trips and projects planned until 2011. Given the life expectancy of the women in my family, I am right in the middle of life. Life is whizzing by and it is only natural to reflect and consider a course correction.

What are you reflecting on? Please comment.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth T. Vincent March 23, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Take it from someone who knows, no matter when you start retirement planning, something beyond your control will happen to the best of well thought out plans.
However, my advice is you plan for retirement, don’t leave too much of what you want to do in your daily life behind for another time, because that too is not promised! I think you live and enjoy live as it comes and goes. Plan for the future but don’t strees too much over it.


Ouida March 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I think you are right, Mom. Which is why I have some trips planned into 2011. We now know that so many financial projections were just plain wrong. To delay important things just to arrive at some un-promised goal is way too dangerous!


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