So I went looking for a photo to best illustrate today’s topic, typed in “golden years” and got lots of photos of cute golden retrievers and the Golden Gate bridge. Apparently “golden years” are quite illusive. My message to the younger generations (I am a retired Boomer) today is just that, if you have any vestige notion remaining, of working toward the “golden years” in the latter years of your lives, after you have already experienced a bit of today’s reality, please sit and reconsider.
My advice is to find your internal “holy man” and listen to his advice (or, if you prefer, holy woman…..I think I prefer). Likely he will inform you, perhaps told as a parable, that the “golden years” are right now, son or daughter.
Like the American Dream – the neat house with green lawn and white fence – Golden Years in the traditional sense should no longer even be a faint aspiration. The odds of you attaining sufficient private wealth to live in an upscale lifestyle are very small indeed. Of course many will, those who have by selected the right field of endeavor that reflects the spending power of mass consumption and who have managed their finances “wisely” and often selfishly, may live in modest or resplendent luxury one day, but that’s just a small fraction of your generations.
Your holy man probably will advise, “live your best life today, right now.” Only you can decide what is your personalized “best life,” but I will second the holy guy’s advice. There are absolutely no guarantees about “work hard and you will succeed.” Not in today’s world. So, to counter these odds, you merely have to live each day enjoying all the small things that are in your life, whether it is a smile from a boss, a hug from your child, or the light in the eyes of your lover. Sure, have your goals and work hard, but working toward something must not gloss over what you already have to enjoy right here and now. Let you golden years be like golden butter mixed with honey, spread over all the slices of your life.
If you are making huge sacrifices right now to get to something “better,” I would urge you to rethink that: all this does is set up a condition for the next big sacrifice for that which is even larger, and before long your life is a litany of sacrifices for those far off golden years, during which you may have many regrets about what you “could have done” if you had just slowed your thinking and recalibrated your wish list.
So, at least give what I say a little thought today, ok?
I also would say that it is better to share what you have, not just collect. The returns on such investments in others’ joy will stock your pantry of blessings and help them along through their golden years of their lives.