August will shock me with the sixtieth anniversary of my introduction to this planet as a living being. This past year has been one of contemplation, ill humor and realizations.
During the past year, I realized that while many people take the bullet train to maturity, wealth and success, arriving almost before they have begun the journey, my own path to adulthood has followed an old, rutted dirt road filled with mud puddles and hazards where I have slowly picked my way along, often following detours or getting completely lost. I certainly won't be skidding into the end of my life, although I know that a good shower will be required before I meet my maker.
My youthful dreams of a private jet and millions of dollars have eluded me. In fact, my business has never reached a million dollars in sales. Team Mates is twenty three years old on November 2, 2014. It has provided my family with a modest income, a home or two, a couple of cars and part of the educations of my children. It has not, however, provided me with retirement savings. In fact, I imagine that my company has been my traveling companion down the old country road, reaching toward profitability as I have wandered toward maturity. It is clear that neither of us is even close to our respective ends.
It became obvious during the past year that my company would provide me with enough income to live a decent, if modest life for as long as I worked. If I hired a replacement, the cost would be higher than what I cost right now. Selling the company would result in a high tax bill, a very low net gain and the requirement that I continue to work. I might as well stay with Team Mates.
As a former accountant, I was very capable of calculating all of my unattainable financial goals. As a human being, I was depressed. Not even a million dollars would be enough for retirement, even if I was extremely frugal. I would never, ever be able to quit my job or do 'what I wanted to do' or live the carefree life that I have so often seen my friends living because they managed to do what I have not been able to do; they worked and saved and acted like adults with their money and with their lives. They were able to retire.
One day, I looked up and saw the rutted dirt track meander into the distance and smiled. Retirement is out of the question and there is so much that I want to do. There is working with my horse, working with other horses, gardening, making wine, writing and reading. There are my children and grandchildren. The list is endless. I have so many hobbies and desires. I have a limited attention span. Call it ADHD for Adults if you wish. Add to the mix that I work full time. Is there any wonder that I am never finished?
I realized at that moment that in a way, I already find the time to do what I enjoy. There is already enough time. I rarely find that there were not enough hours in a day. There are, in fact, exactly the right number. If more are needed, they can be borrowed from the following day because there are always more after that. In fact, borrowing days is essentially an interest-free, non-repayable loan that renews at the end of each day.
This led me, of course, to the idea that I don't have much in the way of savings. On consideration, though, I recognize that I have very little debt. Whatever I absolutely need, I usually pay for very quickly, except the new or used truck needed for hauling the horses, which I can't actually buy at the moment. As long as I work, I can pay for the things that I need.
So while retirement is out, life will be fine. I'll pick younger friends who are still working. That way I don't have to feel badly about not sitting around playing bridge in the afternoon. Or commuting between Minnesota and Arizona and never really knowing what season it is.
In the meantime, I'm leaving the shop at five today, driving home to a quick glass of wine. Then I'm tossing a saddle on Sam and we'll go riding down to the power plant where we'll pick a few raspberries and do some circles around trees. When we're done, we will go back home where I'll put Sam in his paddock, wander through the gardens and maybe come up with a plan for burning the big brush pile this weekend.
That's far enough ahead for now.