Saturday, May 15, 2021

At some point, often in your 40s or 50s, you have to decide how the rest of your life might look

Life expectancy for American men these days is right around 78 years. My plan is to exceed that, and exceed it by a wide margin if I can.

Assuming things work out that way (and let's face it, there's always the chance they won't), I still at best have reached the halftime of my life, or more likely am somewhere early in the third quarter of play.

When you get to this point, you stop for a second to look back at where you've been and, more importantly, try and figure out where you're going.

This is especially true in my case. Professionally, I find myself in an unplanned mid-career pause. Personally, I've now lost both of my parents and am fast approaching a life that, sometime in the next decade, will see Terry and me living on our own again, sans children for the first time since 1993.

While I am very much a planner, I'm not much of a long-range planner. I've never had a roadmap for my career, and things have been so chaotic around our house for so long that I don't even think much about next week, let alone next year.

Retirement? At some point our financial guy asked me when I wanted to stop working full-time. I told him 67, which was honestly about as arbitrary an age as I could possibly have come up with. Yet our entire portfolio is now structured to get me out of the full-time workforce when I reach that age in 16 years.

Where will we live? Will we stay in Wickliffe? Will we even stay in Ohio? We've had conversations in both directions. I don't yet know the answer.

What do the last 16 years of my career look like? Will I stay in corporate communications? I assume so, but I'll admit I don't know. Life is funny that way...the whole "man plans, God laughs" thing. If nothing else, I've learned that things change in the most unexpected ways, and the best you can do is chuckle with the universe and roll with it.

What about my health? I don't like where I am physically right now. I was in great shape five years ago, but I've lapsed back into old habits that aren't conducive to beating that life expectancy target. That all needs to change immediately.

So many things to consider, so many variables, so many possibilities. One way or another, we all wrestle with these questions on our journey. And to be sure, I have more questions than answers right now.

Including whether the Browns will win a Super Bowl in my lifetime. That one is killing me.

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