As John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”
Great piece Bob. As I watch our just empty nester children start their retirement planning, it's a very different world than ours at that time. But I think 'living below your means' is the best advice at any life stage.
Excellent newlstter.....as always. Thanks for including the Tom Petty video link, too. He was an extraordinary artist & is greatly missed.
Easter blessings for you and your family.
Thanks again, Bob, for expressing so many of my thoughts in such a better fashion than I can.
Great piece this week! Very inspiring. Hope you have a great Easter as well.
Biology, biology, biology. Within the System you found yourself, you and your wife appear to have fulfilled the unwritten (assuming you ignore the reams of legal code, insurance documentation, etc ad nauseam) agreement, that from 30,000 feet, would seem have 'organically arisen' to perpetuate said System. Nothing wrong with that at the individual's level. A 'nice' personal narrative clearly laying out the serendipitous combination of learned skills and luck that all our lives are a mixture of in varying degrees, to oversimplify down enuff to fit within the confines of a comment-BOX. Not a complaint about being boxed-in. Constraints can be rather liberating and rich drivers of problem-solving creativity. :) Biology teaches us many things. One is, if you were born a spider (to randomly pick one of a multitudes of possibilities offered up by biology available to me, despite being stuck in this here box), you, on average across a crazy large number of variations each puzzling-out and solving unique problems in order to exploit niches/resources, would have been finished at some moment soon after delivering up young able to carry-on without you. That all is 'perfectly' logical. Brutal, but hard to deny the effectiveness of the Logic of the Helix when pressed into service for Life. Moving towards the other end of this implied spectrum it isn't to hard to see how 'majestic' creatures like elephants, or blue whales, don't in some ways share similarities with you and your mates life story. Unlike, the arachnids (let's not even consider the cephalopods or my "box" really will become a "BOX") the elephant does have to 'plan' for retirement to a degree. Their retirement-savings likely takes the form of 'institutional' memory which makes them useful/valuable to their offspring/children. It doesn't take much observation to see that their herd supports them past their 'sell-by-date' as best they can with a trunk rather thumbs (if you look carefully at the tip of their trunk in action it isn't hard to see the pincher motion of 'two fingers' ...). It doesn't extend the elder parents lifespans very long on average, but, it clearly has some positive lengthening effect. (To what extent is there some power of Affect on Effect for elephants?) Anyway. Culture, culture, culture. It is pretty amazing how frequently examples in anthropology and ethnology studies pop-up where shades of the elephant's retirement quandary arrive at similar 'solutions.' To be brief, consider how people have moved up and down the biomes of mountain sides throughout the seasons of the year. In extreme environments, such as the Rockies, the many 'Sierra Madres', or the Himalayans. At some point on the 'migration' there will eventually be a 'stream' that the oldsters cannot be forded across without endangering parents and younger members of the group. The logic might appear 'brutal', but, after offerings of food and water and tearful goodbyes from the opposite bank the group moves on. It seems, the extreme mountain weather and shifting fruits and fauna of the biomes do not allow for lingering goodbyes. The Logic of the Helix again. For the unimaginative, we have video of similar dynamics playing out among elephants and other "advanced" species. Another, less painfully obvious, example that still survives as a 'successful' cultural adaptation for the 'problem' of a just, or presumably earned retirement, seeking a 'solution', as you, your mate, and of course myself in the early 2020's know it, are the practices built up around ancestral homage/worship in China, etc., where Government i.o.u.'s on slips of paper and the fragile technology for tracking the implied trillions of transactions our System requires to function did not exist, yet. Anyway. I sense you are humbled by the astronomically mind-boggling uniqueness of your retirement situation when contemplating it within deeper time contexts biology and cultural studies afford. Another way of suggesting, it is hard, damn hard :) to find 'just' solutions to the 'problem' of extended lifespans even with modern System sciences and technologies. In a word, eventually nothing biological, much less any fast moving cultural construct, can escape it's Minsky Moment. That isn't to say a lucky few individuals through the lottery of birth don't manage to eke out their existence between the minskys, large and small. Enjoy it and congrats good sire and readers ... now goodbye swe[e|a?]t box ;) and thanks to the many diligent workers desperately applying patches and hay wiring the System together that I won't have to live through that inevitable minsky we all know is coming.