As we pass through life there are several milestones we observe, such as our sixteenth birthday when we normally get a driver's license, or our 21st birthday when we become "legal." I didn't think too much of it when I turned thirty, nor did I pay much attention to forty; frankly, I didn't know what all the hubbub was about. But when I turned fifty I suddenly went, "Whoops!" I guess it was the greeting from AARP that got my attention and let me know that time was quickly passing.
I've found that once you enter your fifties you become more reflective on where you've been and where you're going. When you think about it, you have an internal clock telling you there are several appointments you have to make during your life, assuming you live a full life; to illustrate:
- Time to get married - time to grow up, clean up your act, and get a job.
- Time to have kids - time to start thinking about insurance, including life, medical, and auto.
- Time to buy or build a house - which, coincidentally, also represents the official point where we start to go into debt.
- Time to advance your career - after all, someone has to pay all those bills.
- Time to send the kids off to college, the military, or wherever - it is at this point when you develop a false sense of independence. Even as the kids move away, they still depend on you for guidance, advice, a few bucks, and anything around the house that isn't nailed down.
- Time to get the kids married off - time to get a bank loan, particularly if you are the father of the bride.
- Time to retire - which is also when you make plans for your demise. For example, you no longer celebrate Labor Day at the beach, but rather tour cemeteries picking out grave sights.
- Time to play with the grand kids and watch them grow up - This is also the time when you celebrate your wedding anniversaries and take trips you couldn't afford earlier.
- Time to checkout.
Actually, I resent the time line we impose on ourselves and don't recall this as being part of the job description. It's kind of like saying, "All right, come on, do this, do that, move along, and don't forget to do this as well, move along." It kind of reminds me of an assembly line where we are nothing but products moving from one work station to the next. It strikes me that we spend so much time running the marathon, we never take time to truly enjoy the scenery. But alas, the marathon is something we all must inevitably run.
My father-in-law had a simpler way of expressing our passage through life. It was his contention that we have 30 years to learn, 30 years to earn, and 30 years to burn (the money that is). I can't help but believe he was on to something.
Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.
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Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For a listing of Tim's Pet Peeves, click HERE.
Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.