An interesting couple of thoughts

Dinner with my dad the other night sent me into a thought process that was pretty deep. We all have our thoughts about what life is, and how we are going to live it. Many people never really worry about retirement, some people do. It’s one thing to prepare financially for retirement, but what I’ve been so entrenched with is the thought of how to prepare for retirement MENTALLY.

My dad is a pretty good example. He’s retired a little early, and pretty comfortably. He doesn’t necessarily need to worry about money for a while, which is great because he’s worked hard for it and deserves this luxury. Here’s the problem. He’s fairly fit, mentally capable and bored out of his mind. Working hard for fifty years to get to the point of retirement, now all of the sudden there isn’t much to do.

It’s hard to imagine what retirement would be like for me. I’d like to think that I could just travel and spend my “’golden years” on the road, but we all know that’s very expensive. It’s hard to think that I could ever be happy just sitting on the porch in my rocking chair drinking lemonade and passing time doing nothing. Golf? Fishing? Not so much for me.

What seems like the best solution in my eyes is having a cause to fight for, like maybe volunteering or something similar. Many people go into business for themselves after they retire, nothing too stressful, just enough to keep them occupied and happy. Maybe this is a good solution as well. The one thing that I do know is that it seems like the best way to go about it is to start a transition a few years before the actual retirement date comes.

One thought that I’ve had quite a lot lately is going back to school in my fifties or sixties to study geography and the ever important art of grant writing. Learning how to go through the process of getting grants could seriously offset the cost factor of traveling, plus it would define what needed to be done and give me a goal to attain. I know that the world is less and less wild every day that passes, but I have no doubt in my mind that fifty years from now there will still need to be someone who will make that trip to study something in the wilds.

This leads me to another thought, and it’s summed up pretty good with this quote:

“What does it mean to grow rich? Is it to have red-blooded adventures and to make a fortune which is what brought the whalers and other entrepreneurs north? Or is it, rather, to have a good family life and to be imbued with a far-reaching and intimate knowledge of one’s homeland, which is what the Tununirmiut told the whalers at Pond Bay wealth was? Is it to retain a capacity for awe and astonishment in our lives, to continue to hunger after what is genuine and worthy? Is it to live moral peace with the universe?

It is impossible to know, clearly, the answer to this question, but by coming to know a place where the common elements of life are understood differently one has the advantage of an altered perspective. With that shift, it is possible to imagine afresh the way to a lasting security of the soul and heart, and toward an accommodation in the flow of time we call history, ours and the worlds.”

Barry Lopez, author, Arctic Dreams- Imagination and desire in a northern landscape.

From there I head off into the thought process of which is better? Knowing the area around me? Or being a well-traveled soul who knows the world in little bits and pieces? It feels like some mixture of the two makes sense, but I’ve yet to define it. What I imagine for myself is, knowing the geography of my home area better than like the back of my hand, as well as studying similar places and how different people deal with the same problems. Like the quote above states, having the capacity to be awed by the world around us is something that we should never give up. Whether one is fifteen, thirty or seventy years old, having a direction in life is the true key to happiness, and it’s something that should never be taken lightly.

Learning to make a place for yourself in the world once is no easy task, learning to do it again (after retirement) can be a whole other challenge. My father is a resourceful and intelligent man, I’m sure he will be fine in his retirement, but for those of us who have a ways to go in life we can learn a good lesson from him. Take the time to think about the future, and you will be rewarded in the end.

What I see when I look at a boat

Last night we got into a bit of rough seas, nothing compared to some of the positioning trips I’ve been on in the past, but as far as having guests aboard it was pretty bad. Talking to some guests that had never even imagined what this could be like opened my eyes a bit. It’s really no different than a lot of things that have come in gone in my life, but it’s easy for me to forget that not everyone in the world knows how it feels to look at an inanimate object with the affection of knowing the emotion that goes along with the very thing that it is.

When I look at a ship, the first thing that I ask myself is how it handles the seas. Then I envision what it must be like to be on that ship when it’s getting pounded by gale-force winds and 30 foot seas. It’s very much the same way I look at a well-built Jeep, and know what it feels like to get stuck in the mountains on a rock or in a snow drift with nothing but your own mind and some tools to get you out. The knowledge that’s gained by experiencing what a vehicle can do to get you into and out of trouble of various shapes and sizes is something that isn’t easily described in pictures or words. It comes from standing there, taking part in whatever it is that the world has put in front of you.

So, for those of you reading this who don’t know what it feels like to bond with an inanimate object like I have, I want to strongly encourage you to do so. It doesn’t have to be a ship, although that’s a good one. People do it with everything from mountain bikes to sail boats and snow skis. Take the time to use these things as a tool that can further your adventures in life, because these are the things that encourage us to go places we’ve never been and see places that many other will never have a chance. On top of that, it’s always a great idea to take a look into the way that others use their machines or equipment to encourage adventure. One of my favorite pastimes is to sit and stare dreamily at that muddy Jeep in the parking lot, or the ship tied up at the dock, wondering just where it’s been and where it’s going next.

Oh, and always remember, getting a little sea sick along the way is ok. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, AND it sure does make the story all the better when we get home.