“Getting out of bed in the morning is an act of false confidence. ” Jules Feiffer
There is an odd mix here at COC. You’ve got Justin, the kettle bell virtuoso who’s still changing diapers, Bob, the reluctant Luddite turned podcast mogul and yours truly, the retirement lifestyle guru and philosopher who’s about ready to start changing diapers all over again. I can remember being a youngster like Justin. It wasn’t pretty with two kids, a hefty mortgage and an image of a sophisticated and comfortable lifestyle to project. It’s not a pleasant memory. Each day I struggled to appear confident and secure while inside I was scrambling to hold it all together. In those days, there were people, I wanted to impress. I wasn’t sure who they were or why it would matter but the very idea that somebody would be impressed kept me going as each day presented more problems and obstacles.
What kept me going was fear, pure and simple. I was the only person holding the world together. If I collapsed, what would become of my wife and sons? Much as I might want to hide under the covers each morning, I was unwilling to face the consequences of giving up. So each morning I got up and forged ahead. I was doing what I had to do;what society demanded of me; what my family needed. At least that is what I had been brainwashed to believe.
Looking back, I wonder how it might have been different. I picked a tony suburb so my kids would get the best education and go to college. I didn’t anticipate how the progressive education agenda in California would affect my sons. They pretty much decided that education was crap and refused to go to college. I can’t say I blame them but it just goes to show how messed up your thinking can get when you put yourself on automatic pilot.
But what about getting out of bed?
Well so much for the trip down memory lane. Here I am, retired with a comfortable lifestyle but wanting to do more. The kids are on their own, being responsible and showing more guts than their old man at the same age even without the crutch of a college degrees. Somehow, that part worked out but what about today? What keeps me going? With just my wife and me to worry about, how’s the getting out of bed going these days?
I’d say that it’s pretty much the same. What have I got to look forward to each day when each day I notice a bit more how my body is breaking down? Who knows how many years I have left and how many of those years will be ‘good’ ones. And, what the heck is a good year anyway? These days I mostly roll over and try to forget how much pain I’ve got and what I need to do today. It’s a big temptation to just roll over and go back to sleep.
Still what gets me up is the hope of another satisfying day with some accomplishment. I still want to discover ways to make the most of the few years I have left. This means that each day I must exercise my body to maintain as much strength and mobility as I can. And I work on business activities to build more income to support the lifestyle I want to have.
Everything is futile in the long term but I keep at it anyway. It’s what I know. It’s what I’m good at (or at least what I believe I am good at).
Here lies Ralph. He kept getting up each day- until he didn’t.
Maybe it will be my epitaph? Still, I get up. And will continue to get up—until I can’t.