Wednesday, June 10, 2009

RSP: Our Life Savings

I would have you talk
to my father if I could
dead at 53 — an expert
on early retirement

or to my mother
left alone with all
their plans, the means
now available

but she no longer has
the right combination
to access these
two lives saved up for later.

© Kristine Paton

Freedom 55 — The Real Deal

I wrote that poem years ago; it explains why I don't have the conventional retirement savings plan. This Friday, June 12, I will celebrate my 55th birthday which is two years older than my father when he died. Who knew he was so young!

I'm pushing 60 and perhaps some buttons but, hey, it wouldn't be the first time and it won't be the last. Finally, I am entering my crone phase, fully embracing the title and what it means to be a crone, both good and bad. It is only in our culture that the word 'crone' is seen as detrimental and more representative of the 'witch' or 'hag' (well... if the shoe fits). In most cultures other than our materialistic, image conscious, American influenced, westernized culture, the crone is also revered as a wise woman, often mystical, having earned her status as such by surviving whatever life has thrown at her and thereby gaining knowledge and wisdom — not to confuse the two.

So, what does Freedom 55 mean to me? I am overcoming past heartbreaks, both given and received; forgiven myself and anyone else. I have downsized and am debt free and hold a 5 acre clear title chunk of raw land in my back pocket. What do I know? That it could all change in the blink of an eye. What does the future hold? Who knows, who cares? And so, I have learned to trust God not money, live in the 'now' (not because of Mr. Eckhart Tolle) and to take each day's assault of fears as they come.

Give me the simple life. Coffee (yes, COFFEE not decaf) in the morning, fresh duck eggs, true grains bread, free range chicken and local farm produce, fresh water not bottled, local wine & cheese, a good book, walks with Molly and just enough work to make it all possible. You can keep your Blackberries, your 80 hour work week, the Yummy Mummy Club, the spinning class (unless it's a good yarn), the hot yoga and, definitely, most definitely, the stock market
... and forget Facebook. You need family, whether their yours or someone elses, a few really close flesh and blood friends, and good neighbours.

That's it — my Freedom 55. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a nice cup of Dilmah (the best black tea ever) and a good book waiting for me in the back yard. And look, there's an extra chair.