You and I have something in common, you know. We are kindred spirits, probably sharing the same generation, sharing the same experiences in life that brought us to this point in time – right now.
Undoubtedly, you are a vaunted member of the “Baby Boom Generation” brought up on Elvis Presley, hoola hoops, the JFK assassination, Ed Sullivan, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Vietnam War. Society has been waiting patiently for us to come of age, waiting for the Lawrence Welk crowd to be ushered out so that we, the sons and daughters of John, Paul, George and Ringo, can come in and take our place at the table.
Well, here we are. It’s finally happening. Those of us who can remember the Checkers Speech, Gary Powers, or the Tet Offensive are either already retired or contemplating retirement. Over these last forty or fifty years we have done it all; bought homes, established careers, mowed lawns, raised our families, gotten divorced, been fired, remarried, buried our parents; laughed, cried, hoped, prayed – and now we’re sitting at our kitchen table sipping a cup of coffee, reading our ipads and wondering what comes next.
Hmmm! What does come next?
Well, in order to figure out the answer to that question, we first must take a look around and see where we are in relation to where we’ve been.
Probably for the first time in a very long time, you don’t have to get up every morning and go somewhere. It started when you were five years old. Your mother would wake you up and get you off to Kindergarten and it just snowballed from there. You had to get up and go to school, get up and go to school, get up and go to school. On and on and on it went; grade school, junior high school, high school and then into college. It just never seemed to end.
But it finally did. You were done. All those years of studying and hard work paid off. You took some well-deserved time off to pat yourself on the back, celebrate for a little while, and revel in your accomplishment. Your future never looked brighter.
But then the real world came calling; careers, deadlines, appointments, bosses, pressure. It all started over again; the relentless drum beat of get up and go to work, get up and go to work, get up and go to work. Throw in the added stress of home life; marriage, kids, mortgage, saving for college, aging parents. It all became a toxic mix of tension and anxiety. Yes, there were good times. But looking back on it now, it seems like you were always going a hundred miles an hour, always just a step behind where it was you wanted to be.
And that brings us to now; sitting at your kitchen table, sipping on a cup of coffee, looking at your ipad and reading this post.
Here you are. What happens next?
Well, for starters, you don’t have to get up and do anything or go anywhere. There are no deadlines anymore. There are no meetings. There are no bosses. Wrap your head around that one for a little while. (You don’t have a boss anymore.) All you have rolling out in front of you as far as the eye can see is an ocean of time – with no boss telling you how to fill it.
Now, think back to when you were young. You had dreams and aspirations. You wanted to be somebody, go somewhere, do something spectacular. But then career and family got in the way. Your life, really, became someone else’s. Your dreams took a back seat. Eventually they became buried so far deep in the back of your mind that you forgot they were even there.
Dig them out! Go back to your youth and dig them out. Recapture the spirit and enthusiasm of your potential and unearth your dreams. Rediscover them all over again.
By the time I realized that I wanted to be a writer, it was too late. I already had a career and a family to support. I had responsibilities that kept me from fulfilling my dream. So I buried it, forgot about it and went on with my life. It was as if my dream had never existed.
Then one day, just like you, I found myself sitting at my kitchen table, sipping a cup of coffee and wondering what to do with the ocean of time that suddenly stretched out before me. From out of nowhere, like a child buried in the rubble of an earthquake, my dream called out to me; faint at first, but then louder and louder. I searched and I searched, shoveling through the debris, moving stones, going to seminars, reading books, until I unearthed my dream and began writing again, for the first time in forty years.
It was cathartic!
My ocean of time is no longer empty. That is why you’re reading this post today.