One-Thousand Forty Saturdays
The year was 1984.
I was 25 years old. Shucks, just even saying that reminds me that my son already passed that milestone and my oldest daughter will reach it this year. I had a life plan and goals to achieve. Canada was just coming off an energy crisis, mortgage rates were around 14 % and I had just built my first home. The space shuttle Challenger was just launched. Prime Minister Trudeau retired. US researchers announced the discovery of the AIDS virus. Later in the year, Brian Mulroney became our new Prime Minister. We even had our first Canadian astronaut. Ronald Reagan becomes president again for a second term. And who could forget Bob Geldof creating the first band aid concert for famine relief. In Los Angeles, crack cocaine was introduced. The year 1984 was also the title of George Orwell’s book. Although written in 1949, the book that was to describe the new world and reveal what life was going be like.
There was also something very profound that also started in 1984. It was called Freedom 55. The idea that you would work for 30 or 35 years and then you should be able to retire and enjoy the remaining 20 to 25 a years of retired life. The concept behind Freedom 55 was to get you to invest into your retirement and make sure you had set aside sufficient funds to enjoy life after 55.
You’re richer than you think,…… Right ?
Well, I made it to 55. Did my savings plan investment strategy get me to what they were trying to sell me in 1984? Didn’t quite work out that way as a matter fact, quite the opposite actually. We’re now hearing that freedom 55 is actually more like freedom 67 or is it freedom 70 or maybe even freedom 75. Something happened, something changed. I call it “life”. For some, it seems to have worked out, but for many, the cards in your hand look quite different. I think I should have gone for the position of CEO of a large Bank. I heard he is retiring and getting 2.5 million a year in pension. Hot dang. I think I could survive on 3 % of his yearly payout. Darn, I think I turned left back in 1984 when I should have turned right.
Oh well. Life moves on….
I was so excited about turning 55, that I thought, I’d even get a birthday card from our Prime Minister or at least someone like him. This is a milestone isn’t it? I can get seniors rates at IHOP. By the way, that’s where I’m going on my birthday. Sure enough, just before my birthday, I did receive a letter from the government. I was all excited. I anticipated pulling out of the envelope a birthday card signed by the Prime Minister himself. I opened up the envelope; I anticipated a congratulations and thank you for helping build our great country. Maybe I’m a little naïve, little misguided, but, I digress. I was hoping for the best. Instead of a birthday greeting it was a tax notice because I hadn’t finished paying my taxes for last year. They were politely reminding me to pay up or else. I think the “or else” meant that they needed my account paid up so that they could pay the Senate expenses off, or pay the lawyers that audited the Senate expenses which were double than what the senate expenses were. So much for a birthday card. It was just a polite reminder that I need to keep working and buck up on my overdue tab.
I figure this much. Reasonably, I think I have another 20 years ahead of me. That puts me at 75. Who knows, I might even get to 80. After 75, pure bonus. So the picture you see below is me with a jar of marbles that represent the next 20 years of my life.
A marble for each Saturday that comes my way.
The object is to remove one marble every Saturday.
After that, bonus time. Hopefully I can still hear, see and remember where I left the marbles or wait, was it, where are my marbles anyway? Something like that. ha.
Who knows I might even be retired by then. We will call our new plan..
“Almost there 75”.
Happy birthday to me. I made it to that magical number 55. What the world promised me and marketed to me didn’t exactly materialize or pan out. Maybe Freedom 55 represents something completely different. Maybe, just maybe, ”Freedom 55” is more about discovering my journey on this planet and becoming wiser to my world around me.
Yup, I did accomplish something, I wrote a book.