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The Fabric of Life - Back In the Day

My Grandfather and me ca. 1957

Nightly News caught my eye last night. They are reporting that only 8% of female Baby Boomers can afford to retire. This morning, news from the East revolves around what they are calling ‘the jitters’ about the situation in Greece. If Greece defaults, that will be the first domino in the sequence that will unravel the EU.

It ain’t looking good for the home team folks. Real life isn’t  the movies and there is no script can be written that will make this turn out right.

After I bailed on Corporate America along about 2001, I carried a train load of guilt around for a few years.  Us Baby Boomers are destined to be the first American generation that fails to leave a better standard of life behind for our kids.  I took that hard because my kids were my reason for being and I had let them down. I also let down a wife of 20 years long.  Eating baloney, driving $2000 beaters Chevys and wearing Wal-mart shoes from China was not a good place to be at 47 years old.

It made me bitter. I didn’t deserve this sad lot in life because I had followed all the rules.  It just wasn’t fair! I entertained fantasies of turning back the clock 80 or 100 years and being able to re-live the heyday of America.  If only I could somehow re-create that world, everything would be OK in my world once again.  Silly, silly man!  Those days are so far gone away.  The path of history my Baby Boomers followed is nothing new.  We make think we changed the world as never before but history refutes that misconceived notion.  I bet Great Britain, the Roman Empire and the Aztec Civilization thought they were shit hot back in the day just the same.

My Mother ca.1937

Once I figured out that every great civilization grows past the point it can survive its’ own preponderant weight, my personal burden of guilt was assuaged.  In its’ place came a clarity of purpose.   My purpose in being here in the first place was still as it always had been – duty to family and integrity of deeds done are timeless and span all centuries of Man.  The rules are changing  – that’s’ all.

Even of you disagree with my preachifying,  you have to admit the World as we know it will bear scant resemblance to the World that will be 20 years from now.

I remember when the world was so much smaller.   The goods you bought at your local market came from 50 miles away- not 5000.  A  big trip was piling in the family car and traveling to see relatives a few hundred miles away.  Only rich folks flew on airplanes.  Most folks had a garden and knew how to put it up.  Eating out was a treat, not something you could even imagine doing every week.   Big government was something Walter Cronkite talked about at 6pm weeknights but it had little effect on us.    More important in our daily lives  was the local news that came out bi-weekly in the home town  paper.

My maternal great grandfather on the left ca. 1907

I truly believe our future world will indeed be smaller  — mostly due to our prodigious consumption of precious resources like oil and water.  My kids have never known a world where you couldn’t go on the internet and order whatever you needed with a few clicks of a mouse and have it delivered to your door in a few days.   My duty to my children is to show them how to meld what once was with what (I think) will be.  The smaller world of the future is going to be a combination of my small world from 50 years ago in West Tennessee and the unsustainable Global Economy-One World environment they know all too well today.

Folks say everything happens for a reason and I am a true believer in that statement.  I married a woman near a generation my junior.  I never thought I would know that day.  She brings an insight to my life that was lacking and an energy of purpose that I had given up on.  My kids are now plus one – Our kids are what is important now. We are fast-moving toward a haven in the High Chihuahuan Desert that is Terlingua; the two of us – Miss K and I. The two of us are of like mind when it comes to purpose and implementation at our desert refuge.   There is no intention of stepping back 50 years and ignoring all advancement since.   Hopefully, the end result will be green and semi-sustainable;  blending the best of what I once lived with the best of what the current world has left.

Who is to say that our desert refuge will not be where our kids and their kids learn to survive the world thrust upon them?  I just hope enough of my years remain to realize the reality.

(In case ya ain’t figured it out, this Fabric of Life subject is where I get all introspective and such. If that is what you like to read about on the blog, past posts in this category are all in one neat little pile, just click the category dealie on the left and select Fabric of Life.)

End Note: Undone by Nathan Hamilton from the Receive cd. If you haven’t got a good dose of Nathan Hamilton on your player, you need to be gettin’ some. You can thank me later.

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3 comments to The Fabric of Life – Back In the Day

  • Joel

    Interesting.

    Had lunch with a long-time friend last Friday. He turns 60 next year and plans to retire then. Of course, his wife is an internist whose practice can easily support both of them.

    Retirement has been on my mind more recently, even though I intend to keep working at this until at least 66 (full SS benefits). I’ve always tried to strike a balance between planning/saving for the future and living life in the present. The recent downturn in the economy has meant our retirement savings aren’t growing as fast as I’d planned. But, as you’ve documented repeatedly on this site, you don’t need a lot of money to get by, and what’s important is quality of life, not standard of living.

    Keep up the great posts!

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    • admin

      Joel,
      When my Dad was working at UT, participation in the retirement plan was mandatory…. and he used to just bitch and bitch about it. Of course, it allowed him to retire at our age as well.

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  • Joel

    I’m maxed out on my University retirement plan contribution, and the University matches my contributions, so I’m not complaining. I get to allocate how the money is invested. S’all good.

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