I have never been one to be afraid of a number. As I age, sometimes gracefully and other times not so much, I appreciate all that has happened in my life, the lessons I have learned and looked forward to the next adventure on my list. I have been accepting (in as much as that is possible) of the changes in my body, my relationships and my capabilities. I have always believed that “one day at a time” is the best way to live.
Except suddenly I find myself thinking of these things. Rather inexplicably it makes me review some of my hard held notions and goals. Melodrama aside, I will be 50 in 2.5 years. Yeah, I know this is nothing spectacular, except it is in a way.
50 is a number. Generally used to denote getting 1/2 through your 100 year tenure on earth. Or some such bullshit. It gets hyped and many lose their common sense when it dawns on them that 50 looms just around the corner.
For me, it has brought up the stark reality that I am not going to be able to work forever. As much as I joke that I will die at my desk, the truth of the matter is that I have 15-20 years at best, once 50 arrives. That means I have the next ~10 years to get my shit in order, get rid of debt, ensure that we are baggage free (so no excess) and enough to live in reasonable comfort. I don’t need luxury – unless it’s my bed and a hot shower! – but the rest can be simple.
Everything has an expiry date. I am battling to comprehend the day that I will need to step away from my desk and find other things to do. Admittedly, R and I have decided that since we are not going to sell our souls for a mortgage and instead will get a good caravan with the bells and whistles that we want the notion of what comes next is easy – travel. Off-grid, in our time and becoming one of those annoying grey nomads!
The notion may be easy, the reality is not. And as I sit here with the promise of downsizing to occur in the next 12-24 months, I am contemplating how to let go of my stuff. My books that I have spent hours poring over, the stories that have captured my heart. My craft bits that will now be sold off, and how to get that abundance of wool down to 1 crate (be still my beating heart!). My knick-knacks – each of which has a memory, I honestly do not have any knick-knack that is not tied to a memory. All the pieces of me that currently fits into a 3-bed home needs to fit into a caravan.
And oh fuck – my plants. The ones that this black thumb (that is no exaggeration folks!) has managed to keep alive. I even talk to them now! R will also have to sacrifice a fair amount – his beloved motorbike, a lot of his tools, the big BBQ and other things he has collected through the years. It is a good move, but will require a lot of culling and adapting.
So 50 looms and with it down the track a whole new adventure. And the reality that I think we all try an ignore – that there is an expiry date and we cannot escape it.
My daughter’s only comment was if I went to live in a caravan, what did I aim to do about an old age home since I could not travel after 80? I don’t think she cared for the “I’ll just die in the caravan, old age homes are too expensive and you won’t be looking after me”! We’ll work it out, her and I.