Remember the childhood refrain, “I can’t wait until I’m old enough to [fill in the blank]?”A lot of my early aspirations had to do with achieving such milestones as:
- Wearing a bra—It wasn’t so much about having breasts, but being able to sit in class wearing a white blouse so the kids seated behind me could see I had a bra on. Which is why I was over the moon when, in fifth grade, mom caved to my entreaties and bought me a training bra (remember those?).
- Shaving my legs—Permission was finally granted in the sixth grade after I rebelliously snuck a double-edged blade out of my stepfather’s razor and sliced the crap out of my shins in an attempt to deforest my legs. I was allowed to keep shaving, but grounded for a month for defying the “rules.” I didn’t care because my legs were finally smooth and shiny (albeit scab-covered).
- Going on a date with a boy in a car—Mom wouldn’t let me ride in cars with boys until I was 16. She was probably onto something since I lost my virginity at 17. In the backseat of a car.
- Having no curfew—In high school, my weekend curfew was midnight. Mom told me that once I turned 18, however, I was of legal age and could do what I liked—including staying out as late as I wished. Since I turned 18 two days before high school graduation, that summer before I went off to college was a blast (and I was the envy of all my friends with less-laissez-faire parents!). Of course, those were the days when I could (intentionally) stay awake past midnight…
- Getting served—While I drank in high school (thanks to my uncle Emery, who’d go to the packie for me), I thirsted for the day I could walk into a bar and order my own drinks with no fear of getting carded. Of course, this was back when a night of bar-hopping was a cool thing to do (and my liver could take it).
Now, at 64, I’m old enough to do pretty much anything I want. And I’m keenly aware that I have a lot less time left on the planet in which to do so, so I don’t want to wish it away. That said, however, there are some things off in the future that I’d like to see get here sooner vs. later. Here’s my list of what I can’t wait for these days:
- #45 out of the White House—Whether via impeachment or resignation, he can’t be gone soon enough, IMO
- The 2018 midterm elections—I’m aching for the day when we have a chance to vote the GOP out of control of the Congress
- Medicare eligibility—This is arguably the greatest benefit of turning 65 (and I now have less than a year to go). I’ll save nearly $10,000 a year in insurance premiums alone once I enroll. I just hope the program is still here once I’m eligible (refer to previous item).
- Reaching full retirement age—At 66—two years away—I can begin collecting my full Social Security benefit (again, assuming the program is intact) and be in a financial position to consider retiring, which would mean:
- A life without deadlines—While I love my work as a medical copywriter, my days aren’t my own because there’s always something I have to do. The idea of starting each day with a blank slate, and filling it—or not—with whatever strikes my fancy (which is how I visualize retirement) grows ever more appealing.
- Summer’s arrival—By February, weary of winter’s cold and snow here in Maine, I start thinking summer can’t get here soon enough…
- Fall’s arrival—Then, drained by a stretch of summer heat and humidity, I start yearning for the crisp, cool days of fall
- Turning 75 so I can forego having any more colonoscopies—Need I say more?
- The new season of a favorite TV show—This longing becomes especially acute when I’ve binge-watched everything that appeals to me, and network TV is a quagmire of reruns or just plain crap
- For common sense, civility and kindness to prevail in our country again—I’m trying to do my part in the here and now.
Not to get preachy, but therein lies the lesson of this post: to live in the here and how. Sure, it’s legitimate—pleasurable, even—to look forward to something in the future. But we can’t overlook “in the meantime,” or ignore what the present moment has to offer.
In fact, it’s all any of us really have, and it won’t come this way again—inspiring this haiku:
Focusing on the
future, we tend to ignore
today. Be here now.
What about you? As a kid, what did you long to be old enough to do or have? As an adult, do you still find yourself saying “I can’t wait until…?” If so, what are you hankering for? Please share!