Life in Retirement: The time of your life

I loved the old Burt Bacharach song ‘Times of Your Life’. Many of us did, of course. It was so effective at touching our nostalgic nerve that it was picked up by the Kodak company for a big ad campaign in the 1970s.

Will you remember the times of your life? I’ve thought of that question many times through the years and I still sing the song when I’m feeling sentimental. But I’ve often wondered if we actually know it is the time of our lives when we’re in it, let alone whether we will remember it. I guess that’s the point of being purposeful about gratitude, so that when the universe makes you pause to glimpse at the sight in front of you and you feel it touch your heart, you will be sure to stop and take notice.

I recall one such moment in time, as I sat on the front steps of my childhood home waiting for a friend. The front step was a prime gathering place for decades – we either met there or at ‘the wash stand’ in my neighbour’s backyard. Sounds like ancient history! But I was only about 10 years old at the time, so in a way it is ancient history.

I listened to my mom and dad chatting inside the house during that short time I waited. They were standing together washing the dinner dishes at the kitchen sink and Dad was saying, “One day THESE will be the good old days.” Sadly, he passed within the next decade – even though we were all still so young, including him. But he had nailed it: those were, indeed, the good old days. I think my reflection and observation of the world around me, and my interpretation of it in writing, very likely came from my dad. The seed may have even been planted that very day while I sat on the step.

Will we know it’s the time of our lives? Well, this morning my alarm didn’t wake me up to dash out the door for the office. I made a pot of coffee in the French Press my daughter gave me for Christmas a few years ago, and I drank it leisurely while I thought of… well… many things. That there are several different bird songs coming from the backyard trees these sunny spring mornings. That Burt Bacharach was an unbelievably masterful musician. That yesterday was very busy and rewarding at my part time job, and now today stretches out before me with no deeds to do and no promises to keep. That with retirement, I am in the time of my life.

Sandy Bexon is stepping into retirement after over 35 years as a communications professional, reporter and writer. She lives in Red Deer.

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