I met with my financial adviser last week to get a current picture of my retirement portfolio. In my twenties, the previous sentence would not very likely have been attributed to me. My twenty year old self wouldn’t have believed my fifty year old self would actually be on track to retire in my sixties with a small income. My twenty year old self wouldn’t believe that, someday, I would even be 50; I created a lot of drama in those days and had a hard time seeing past the next crisis (which usually involved a guy) or the next paycheck. I worked full-time and various part-time jobs and never had enough money to take a vacation or buy those cute shoes or funky dress AND pay the rent, put gas in the car and eat. I’m not sure why the money never reached beyond my basic needs but there it was and here I am.
I’ve talked about saving money here. On the one hand the consistent, mundane practice of siphoning off a certain amount of money from each paycheck for vacations, retirement, a new car, washing machine and dryer (or camera!) seems like something other people do. On the other hand it’s been a practice of mine for several years now. I’m an adult, have been an adult far longer than I was a kid, with a mortgage and credit card(s) and a career and it still feels strange.
I still sometimes see myself as a young woman who’s unsure, questioning everything I’m doing, who’s filled with doubt about the future. The recurring question I ask myself is how? How did I become that person who plans for a rainy day? How am I going to find ways to save while I work so I can play more now and later? How did I get locked into this life?
The answer is usually the same. It’s called growing up. And it’s not all bad. Thanks to being consistent my playground has gotten bigger; with a bigger playground comes more responsibility but it doesn’t have to suffocate me. I’m living the life I was dreaming about in my twenties. I’ve thought about selling my house with everything in it and working on a farm. But is it farming I really want, or an escape from consistency? Another question I ask myself again and again. I don’t have the answers, don’t know what the future will gift me with but, for now, I’ll keep contributing to my short-term and long-term “play” fund and see what will be revealed.
I may be a middle-aged adult but my age is only a number….I feel better and am happier than I’ve even felt or been. And I can thank growing up for that.