I Have 4158 Days Left

I’ve said for several years that I plan to retire when I reach 52. Today, I stumbled across a website that allowed you to customize a countdown clock. By doing so, I got some pretty depressing news… I have exactly 4158 days to do all the things I want to do before retiring. That’s 99804 hours.

Now, why do I torture myself with such information? Because my days have been zooming past my head at an alarming velocity lately. Because I always seem to be behind on my personally demanding schedule (the one I set for myself with unreachable goals and then kick myself when I don’t make the goals).

Several of the things I’d planned to do this year have now been accomplished. And they are important things. Many other goals have experienced serious progress. However, being the Type A that I am, only those still languishing and lagging behind capture my attention. Those are the ones that I fret over. So, I had hoped that logging this countdown would make it appear farther in the future than 12 years seems.

It didn’t.

I have so much I want to do before my retirement. Now, I know that retirement isn’t the same for me that it is for others. Right now, I can’t imagine NOT working. I love what I do, which is a blessing — a serious blessing. And leaving something you love, well, it’s not really that appealing. So, I guess this date is more of a date to have enough money socked away so I don’t HAVE to work anymore. To have the cabin and the farm finished up. To have the kids raised. To have met the bulk of my obligations, so I can do as I please — whether that’s work or play or travel or absolutely nothing. I want to be able to play with grandchildren at that point, to show them things and do things that their parents will be too busy to do — like I’m too busy to do with my own kids now, because I’m working and running a business and jugging the needs of so many people other than myself.

I’m feeling the need to slow down some. I’ve been working toward that feverishly — kind of an oxymoron, huh? Or maybe it’s just moronic. But I want to learn to relax more, enjoy and TAKE more free time. But life seems so short, there’s so much I want to learn, to do, to experience. And, although I admire the Zen philosophy and someday hope to adopt a more “Buddhist” approach to my outlook on life, that’s not a reality for me right now… especially not today.

So I do this countdown timer to make myself feel better.

It just added more pressure. Now I can see this date as DAYS instead of years. And it’s just barely over 4000. And unlike larger numbers with more zeros, this number is quite comprehensible. I can relate to 4000. It’s a real number. It’s something I’ve worked with before and I understand it. (Unlike millions and billions which I understand academically, but never can relate to on a personal level). This is thousands… four of them.

Ever since I was little (and I mean REALLY little) I’ve thought I’d die when I was 64. I dunno why, it’s just like I’ve always known it. Now, at my ADVANCED age of 40, I certainly hope I’ve seriously underestimated my lifespan. But, for the sake of argument, if that’s true, I have a dozen years before retirement and a dozen more years of retirement before the grave (if my “feeling” on lifespan proves to be true). And I become all morose.

I think I’m going to have a crisis now.

Then, I’m going to get back to work and try to make enough progress that I feel better. Or at least get involved enough in a project that I can’t possibly fixate on my mortality any more today.