Today is a landmark day for me.
It is my birthday. Today I turn 62.
Yes, today is the day I can legally retire, start collecting social security and enjoying the life of an old duffer. It is a day that I have thought a lot about—especially in the past few years. When you arrive at this point in your life the thought of retirement looms large. When should I retire? Do I even want to retire yet? What things do I want to still accomplish in my work life? Heck, what do I want to do when I don’t go to work every day?
Well, I still don’t have those answers, so it’s another day at the office and a higher number on my age calendar. The birthdays seem to be coming a lot quicker now, and I’m not sure I look the chronology associated with being an august 62 years of age. Where has all the time gone?
I don’t think of myself as being 62. In my mind, I still think I am just as spry as I was in my 30s and 40s. My body tells me otherwise.
There are a lot of things I want to do when I finally retire, but I am not ready yet. I think I have a good three or four more years left in me—if the good Lord is willing to have me around that long. Unfortunately for all of you, that means you have to put up with my drivel for a while longer. For that I apologize.
However, there are some things left on my bucket list that I would like I do before they pile sand on me.
I would like to go to Paris and see the Eiffel Tower.
I would like to go to Italy and see all the glorious churches and eat all the wonderful food. I want to spend a summer roaming around Tuscany, Naples and the Italian Alps.
I want to go diving in Costa Rica.
I want to see Machu Pichu in the Andes Mountains.
I want to go on a hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley during harvest season.
I want to see Switzerland and Austria.
I want to go to Alaska and Maine, and then I will have seen all 50 of the United States.
I want to live in the Florida Keys every winter from January to April.
I want to go back to Yellowstone, Zion, the Tetons, Glacier and Yosemite National Parks again.
I want to go to Montreal.
I want to go to the land Down Under and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.
I want to kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland.
I want to go back to Omaha Beach and follow the path of Easy Company of the 101st Airborne across
France, Belgium and Germany.
I would like to meet the Pope. I would like to meet another president. I have shaken the hands of four presidents in my lifetime: Gerald R. Ford, George Herbert Walker Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, and George W. Bush.
I want to go to Vicksburg National Battlefield Park. Once I go to Vicksburg, I will have seen all the major battlefields of the American Civil War. I want to go to New England in the fall. I want to cook lobster on the rocky coast of Maine. I want to rent a houseboat on Lake Powell and play in the sun. I want to go back into the Grand Canyon again.
I want to visit the Virgin Islands.
I want to meet a good woman who will make me a better man.
And last, I want to spend a lot more time with my children and grandchildren. I will get to see my oldest and youngest child in a month on the east coast and will get to spoil two of my grandbabies while there. Then over Labor Day it’s off to Des Moines, Iowa for a wedding and then four days with my oldest son and grandson up in Minneapolis.
So that’s the list as it comes to me now. As you can see, to make all of that a reality I have to work a lot more to be able to pay for it. But it is a list, and there is something to live for. So life and time marches on.
Have a great 4th of July everyone.