It's actually nice getting older and approaching retirement. ... and I mean "approaching" because I can't yet accept it as a fact.
I'm 66 - don't misunderstand me, I truly believe that I am a young mind trapped inside that 66 year old body. I re-married and had two beautiful children in my 50's. It's not always as easy as it sounds, because your energy doesn't always match theirs, but you know what? You would not swap those and these beautiful years for anything.
You meet some truly nice people through your kids and I sometimes feel sorry for my mates (many of them firmly entrenched grey nomads) whose kids have long ago left the nest.
They bring a new dimension to your life - you get to hang around with younger parents, which is a true privilege, as they tend to keep you young and grounded, even if you have to occasionally put up with people congratulating you on your beautiful grandchildren!!
We seem to have been bringing up teenagers for about the last 30 years. I'll be sad when it ends, but every one of them has given us massive joy and pride and pleasure in their achievements, no matter how big or small.
Just this weekend, my 16 year old guitar virtuoso son played a beautiful song at his big bro's wedding - a lovesong to the bride - blew the audience away - the pride we feel in that boy is palpable. My baby girl, 15 years old, is waiting in the wings with her magnificent talents and we are constantly surprised and delighted at the magnificence of their talents - I am pretty sure that that was how our life was meant to be - I'm definitely OK with that.
As we all do, we'll watch their families develop with love and pride and admiration that those little kids of ours all turned into impressive adults. Not only that but they took on beautiful partners who add whole new dimensions to all our lives.
Yes, their is a God.
But I digress ..... I was saying, how nice to be nearly retired. I still love to work hard and I have a hugely busy job, and I go to work every day, in wonder at the fact that so many things can happen in my industry, that I can never truly plan my day with certainty. Imagine that - certainty - that could be like lying down in a shallow grave and waiting for the gravediggers to pour the dirt over you.
No way - give me uncertainty every day of the week.
As I transition to retirement, I think back on the promises I made to myself all those years ago. I have always thought of life's work as the "hare and tortoise race". In the end, the tortoise wins.
You can race across that finish line, but how do you know it is really the finishing line? On the other hand, you can measure your life and career and know when it is time to dawdle across the line, the ultimate victor!
The interesting part is that you don't always know whether or not that finishing line is around the corner - you might think that you are on your own and you have to finish it out all by yourself, and all kinds of uncertainties may creep in.
Keep the faith, fellow punters!
But then along comes a friend from the past who wants to join forces, and let's say he has a friend who has made his pile but just likes you for who you are and the qualities you bring to the table, and all of a sudden, your path, or your plan to that place - retirement - is much clearer. You get a new lease on life, because now there is a new and adventurous way ahead.
Imaging retiring on a pension and having to eke it out - death by a million needles!
Now, let me make it clear that I will never retire to retire - I will always retire to aspire - to work, if it is fun, or a hobby, or to help others in a charitable way, but I will never not be active - that young mind in the old body might suddenly atrophy in a way that I would not want it to.
My bones, or my muscles or my joints, might give out - every bloody chance, but hopefully not my mind and while I have that, I am empowered to do great things.
I always remember a friend of my father in law. He had made a great living in the insurance game - come 65 he had enough to retire on and, in his retirement started pursuing his hobby of restoring furniture. A couple of his mates heard about it, got him working on their stuff, and the rest is history - within 5 years he had a factory, 15 employees and more work that he could poke a stick at - and he was a very happy and contented man.
The world is full of magnificent opportunities. You discover the power and wonder of the internet. You blog, you write, a book here a poem or two there, you set up websites for fun and then for profit.
You find that an old mate has a really good real estate deal going down, so you go and renew your real estate licence that you haven't had much use for the last few years.
You help a mate with a Visa problem and realise that there is a quid to be made with the sort of knowledge and ability that you have, so you get your Immigration licence, help lots of "friends" and get a nice earn from it.
This retirement thing is easier and more fun than I thought it would be and I'm not even there yet, and then you realise that you can afford to live down by the beach, or in that beautiful part of the world, Montenegro where the wife's relatives live.
This retirement thing is starting to shape up quite nicely, come to think of it.
Some great times lie ahead.
What next - let's sell some T-shirts, or get into the golf/ fitness/ personal development/ online business/ pet industry etc etc ..... business. It's all out there and it looks like we can have some fun and make some money.
Come to think of it - I'm gonna be too busy to retire!
Check back in twenty years, will ya?