Thursday, May 9, 2019

Salad Days

These are the salad days.....

We just returned from a bike ride around the island.   We can still do things like that - ride 10 miles on a bicycle, all the time sipping cheap white wine.   We stopped for a picnic at the club at "proposal table" where, three years ago, I romantically suggested to Mr. See that maybe getting gay-married might have beneficial tax consequences.

Yea, I know, I am a hopeless romantic.   But I realize that this is a good time in life - a time when my health has yet to decline, and yet I have enough money to get by on a day-to-day basis.   Unlike my younger years, I am no longer tormented by monthly bills and credit card debt and mortgages and student loans that seem to pay down at a glacial pace.  These are indeed, the salad days.

Not everyone is so lucky.  Our postal person was chatting with me and I thought she was going to retire this year.   While she is eligible to retire, it is only at the absolute minimum retirement payment.  She will have to work another five years.  And hopefully, unlike our last postal person, she won't keel over dead of a heart attack, three months short of her retirement party.   It happens.

But it begs the question - when are your salad days?  I read a lot online about people who say they are "going to work until they're 70!" or something like that, because they didn't save for retirement, but had new cars every three years.  Or they felt they needed to pay off their children's credit cards or pay for their grandchildren's college.   Yea, there are people who are dirt poor and can never save for retirement - and yet will be forced to retire someday nevertheless.   But others - in the middle-class - for whom thousands and tens of thousands and even millions of dollars pass through their hands in a lifetime, never seem to keep enough of this largess to the point where they can relax and enjoy the fruits of their labors.

And the really sad thing is, eventually they will reach a point where they are forced out of their job or can no longer work due to illness or infirmity, and then what happens?  No salad days for them - just mere existence.

It is a choice.