Life has a way of handing over some focus even if you aren’t asking for any. I wouldn’t have guessed when I turned 49 that I would be living through a pandemic on orders to stay home and keep two meters away from others, but here I am. Seeing people I know fall victim to an unseen enemy, I have taken some time to evaluate and reflect.
Working until I am statistically on death’s door just doesn’t compute. I think what I do matters. Teaching is an essential profession, and a rewarding one. Even so, what I do can be done by others, and will be done by others immediately after I move on. It doesn’t have to be done by me. At the time I plan to leave the profession, I will have put in 33 years. That sounds like enough. What comes next?
When I was a kid I watched a lot of tv. One of the shows I enjoyed was Grizzly Adams. Looking back on that show, I really like the idea of being able to make a place for yourself somewhere in the world. I like the idea of being left alone to do what isn’t harming anyone. As a kid I liked the friend bear concept, too, but now maybe a couple of stout dogs would be just fine. The open wilderness isn’t much of a reality now, but having a place that is isolated can still happen. Life doesn’t have to include neighbors who can see you every time you open a door or window. It doesn’t have to include neighborhood associations and indistinguishable cul-de-sacs. Nor is the only alternative an apartment or a condominium. There are options.
One of the options lies in the ability to move from here to there. I’ll be on the hunt for the place that will be my last address. When I find it, I will not worry about leaving where I am and going to a new environment. At that point my kids, should they want to be with me, can certainly make their way. I can help with that.
This new place will be new to me, but not new to the world. There are beautiful homes with personality and character that may be over 50, 75, or 100 years old, but gorgeous all the same. There are no perfect places, I understand this, but there are places perfectly fitting for me. I will find mine.
On the property of this existing old home, I will need to have certain amenities. An old barn could be converted into several types of spaces. The home gym and training area will be important. In addition to hiking, walking, and chopping wood, I will need to maintain different training regimens, depending on the needs of the time. This area would need to be apart from standard living spaces. Solitude and laziness are not productive partners.
Gardening will be a must. The gardens will have spaces for vegetables, herbs, and flowers. And a greenhouse could be in order as well, since I will not likely favor a hot climate zone. This provides food, medicine, and peace of mind. The flowers also will be important for the bees. Elsewhere on the property will be the apiary. Keeping and supporting bees is, quite literally, saving the world.
My happy compound will also have a place for chickens. Happiness has often come to me in the form of fresh eggs. This all sounds like a lot to the observer, but it is what I want. Everything has a purpose. Certainly there are other items on the list, too, that I will not write about just now. The place I imagine will require a lot of time, but that’s what I will have more of later on.
Waiting for this place to appear on my daily routes would be folly. I will have to go somewhere to find it. Waiting for the perfect time is equally foolish. There is nothing but now. And while I will be waiting for very practical reasons, I will not wait for perfection or rare opportunities.
In this next phase of life I will still be working. There is no need to pretend that money will be irrelevant. But work in the job sense of the word, will resume a much more subdued role in life. I’ll have a working situation, but no more than is really needed. There will still be wants as well as needs, but peace and solitude will be mine. Real estate friends, do your thing.