Saturday, August 13, 2011

What's the Rush?

Just when I think there's not an ounce of Mattingly in my Darling Daughter, she unveils her hidden side.

She was explaining to me that she discovered she could possibly graduate from high school after completing her Junior year.   I was secretly cringing, wanting desperately to yell, "No!  I don't want you to!"  But I held back and, as luck would have it, she announced that she wanted to graduate with her class, hence saving me from being the bad guy.  

My Darling Daughter seems in such a rush to grow up.  To get on with what's next.   And I keep thinking, "what's the rush?"  Then it hits me.  What was my rush?  I couldn't wait to get out of high school, to move away from home and be on my own.    To that end I finished high school in February, started in secretarial school in April.  Finished that in December and started my first job.  Moved out of the house by the time I was 19.

When I was about 21 my father died and I qualified for tuition and other financial support so off I went to college.  Because I started late, I wasn't going to waste time.    Took 18 hour class loads and went every summer so I could finish a year early.   Then I went to work.

Eventually I went to graduate school and started my career.   It's hard to rush a career, but I tried.  Whenever I was changing companies, I could have held off the new company starting date, but I never did.  When do you want me?

I began to seriously plan my retirement when I was in my late 40's.  I targeted 52.  Didn't happen.  I had to wait to 55 because rushing to retirement any earlier was clearly a bad financial decision.  But to many people, age 55 is pretty darn early.  So here I am.  I rushed my way to retirement.

When I look back I wish I'd finished high school with my class.  I  envy those kids who take a year to just backpack their way across the world.  I wonder why I didn't take just a little more time before moving on to the next thing.   Would life now be much different?  Did all those rush decisions make me who I am today?  I can only presume the answer is yes and be satisfied.  Certainly, I'm glad I was able to retire when I did.

However, I thought when I retired I wouldn't need to rush anymore.  I would have all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted,  but there's a problem.  Time refuses to hold still for me.  The days, months,  and years fly by and I look at the calendar and say, "slow down, what's the rush?"  But time doesn't listen.  It just speeds up and I'm left thinking,  I've got to hurry.

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