There are so many things to enjoy in this life. Seems a shame not to take the time.

I retired almost a year and a half ago.  I was cruising right along until about this time last year.  My father-in-law took ill and died last spring.  That put a hitch in my retirement journey.  It’s only been in the last couple of months that I feel like I’m back on track.  I’m really enjoying my retirement again, following my passions and I’m generally happy.

I don’t say this to brag, but to make the point that life is full of bumps in the road.  There are so many bad things that happen.  From major events, like loved one’s dying or finding out you need major surgery, to minor mishaps, like a washing machine flooding your house or your truck needed a thousand dollars worth of ball joints.  All of those have happened to me in the last five years, but the way.  Stuff like that can make you wonder if someone isn’t out to get you.

But between those bad times are the good times.  When you feel great and things are going well, too many of us take those times for granted, me included.  We feel like it will last forever, but we know it won’t.  It could be five days or five years, but something bad always gets us.  The world is always trying to devolve into chaos and we spend out lives trying to prevent that.  When things go smoothly and we can relax, we need to take advantage and cherish those times.

Recently, I thought about my old job.  Not like I used to, out of habit, but on purpose.  I spoke with a friend that was on pace to retire three years after me.  He made some choices that changed that.  Not bad choices, just choices, and his life has worked out differently.  While I retired at 43, he might not be able to retire until he is 55 or 60.  His current job is not treating him well and he’s not happy.

We are such insignificant beings in this universe, but we worry so much about things we cannot change. Like how I found a way to weave my photo of the Milky Way into the post?

On my way home, I remembered, all the bad stuff that happened to me in my last four years.  It made me appreciated what I have.  My friend is looking for a new job that he might like more.  He’d rather be happy in a job he likes and retire when he’s 60 than continue where he is and retire in his early 50’s, and rightly so.  Being happy is important for so many reasons.

I suffered for four years before I could take my pension. I was unhappy, but it made sense.  I made the best out of it and got out and now I’m free.  If it wasn’t for that, I would have tried to leave and find a new path.  Now that I am retired, I have found a new path.  I write.  I’m editing my book and working on some other projects.  I’m doing what I love for the first time in my life and I love it.  I try to remember that everyday and not take these good times for granted.

It took me a while to really settle in to being retired.  I had to overcome some tough times to finally get where I am today.  I think that taught me some lessons, like not taking all this for granted and doing what makes me happy, no matter what that is or what it takes.  I wonder how many people don’t do that, or worse yet, aren’t even working towards being happy one day.  If you’re not happy or working to get happy, it kind of makes one wonder why your even here.  What else is there?

Enjoy it while you got it, no matter your circumstances.  If you have to work until you drop dead, at least work at something you enjoy.  If your retired on a meager fixed income or are disabled, do what you can.  If things are going swimmingly, appreciate it knowing it could all end tomorrow.  Why not?  Is the alternative, being unhappy, sullen and depressed, better?  I don’ think so.