Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Unrealized Dreams

 

I walk slowly, leaning forward, as I approach the cabin. It sits in a clearing, where there are just enough trees to frame it, and few enough to allow the sun to regularly touch its natural beauty. As I get to the front door, I pause, unlock it and push the door open.

As I step inside, the smell of wood greets me. I look around to admire its simplicity and intimacy. On the left is a settee adjacent to one comfortable chair, my favorite, where I curl up to read. Farther back in the room is a doorway that leads to my small bedroom with enough room for a bed, a side table piled with books and a shelf with trinkets from my travels. I glance against the back wall, and there is a basic bathroom, and then to the right, a kitchen with a miniature refrigerator. A wood-burning stove rests on a platform near the south wall, with a stack of wood ready to be consumed. Colorful curtains of an olden style grace the windows; they are usually open, but closed at night to keep out the cold winter nights. And a large woven rug rests in the center of the room.

Wherever possible, everything is made with wood: the floors are wood, the kitchen counters are treated wood, the table is carved from wood And as I turn to my right, the glory of the room greets me: it is a large window that faces west. It allows plenty of light for my wooden writing table, where I will spend much of my time. It is not a desk, which implies work, manila files and drawers full of paper clips. Just a smooth writing table with a simple chair, just my size. It fits me like a comfortable shawl.

And it’s all mine.

At least in my dream.

Most of my adult life I have wanted to have a mountain cabin. A retreat. A place for silence and contemplation and writing. And recently I realized, truly knew, that I would not have that cabin. The reasons are practical and numerous. If I defied the truth and acted selfishly and determinedly, I could have the cabin. But I simply cannot.

What does it mean to give up a dream, that represents so much? I could be bitter, resentful, and sad. But since my realization has been in the works for a while, at the back of my mind, tugging at my consciousness, I won’t experience any of those things.

Instead, I am aware of all that I have in spite of letting go of my dream: a life full of blessings; a joy of writing; people to love. Instead of focusing on my wants or my losses, I realize I’ve received so much by giving to others and been blessed with their love in return. I also have learned that a retreat is more than a place where one goes. A retreat can be found in every moment, where we contemplate the challenges and glories of life. Inside there I have found peace.

We all have dreams, some fleeting, some persistent. For those dreams we treasure, we can pursue them and realize them and live them out with joy and enthusiasm. But there will be those dreams that life will tell us that in the greater scheme of things, they are not so important after all. Some of the dreams of our youth pale in comparison to the opportunities we encounter in real life. When we seize those gifts, we can learn the blessings of what it means to be truly alive.

Are there dreams that you’ve released? Do you regret letting them go?

Are there dreams that you’ve realized? In what ways have they enriched your life?

There are 32 comments.

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  1. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thank you, Susan.

    A timely reminder of a favorite from my childhood:

    • #1
    • March 17, 2019, at 8:20 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. Stad Coolidge

    Susan Quinn:

    Are there dreams that you’ve released? Do you regret letting them go?

    Are there dreams that you’ve realized? In what ways have they enriched your life?

    One dream I let go of was to buy a trawler and cruise for the first few years of retirement. Even had the make and model picked out (43 foot Nordhavn). Alas, the market crashes over the years have kept my retirement fund at a level where I could have the boat or the house, but not the boat and the house. Ditto for the Porsche 911 twin turbo S.

    I’ve realized many dreams over the years – wonderful wife, great children, cherished friends. The latest dream I realized has been retirement at a young age (then 62).

    OTOH, if I can find the right agent for my novels, maybe I’ll get that Porsche after all . . .

    • #2
    • March 17, 2019, at 8:28 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    She (View Comment):

    Thank you, Susan.

    A timely reminder of a favorite from my childhood

    She (View Comment):

    Thank you, Susan.

    A timely reminder of a favorite from my childhood:

    Thanks, @she. As I listen to Burl Ives, and I realize that bitterness isn’t present, there is still sadness in my heart. That will take more time to lessen, I think.

    • #3
    • March 17, 2019, at 8:31 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stad (View Comment):
    OTOH, if I can find the right agent for my novels, maybe I’ll get that Porsche after all . . .

    Good luck! Worth trying for, @stad!

    • #4
    • March 17, 2019, at 8:33 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A little over a year ago, I realized a tiny dream when I built our own little “cabin in the woods” at the bottom of our property, in a place where you can’t see the house or hear the traffic on the road. There’s a little stream down there, and you can sort of imagine yourself back in Nature (because, really, you are). Still, if you feel in need of some reassurance in the middle of the night, civilization is quite close, or you can always take the Great Pyrenees with you as guard dogs and bed warmers.

    I’ve not spent nearly as much time there as I’d like to, but this year I’m going to fix that. (And turf out the mice).

    Here’s a picture, while it was under construction.

     

    • #5
    • March 17, 2019, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    She (View Comment):

    A little over a year ago, I realized a tiny dream when I built our own little “cabin in the woods” at the bottom of our property, in a place where you can’t see the house or hear the traffic on the road. There’s a little stream down there, and you can sort of imagine yourself back in Nature (because, really, you are). Still, if you feel in need of some reassurance in the middle of the night, civilization is quite close, or you can always take the Great Pyrenees with you as guard dogs and bed warmers.

    I’ve not spent nearly as much time there as I’d like to, but this year I’m going to fix that. (And turf out the mice).

    Here’s a picture, while it was under construction.

     

    That is just beautiful!!

    • #6
    • March 17, 2019, at 8:56 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Hartmann von Aue Member

    The dream I gave up on nearly three full decades ago was a case of unrequited love. I would have married her if she had wanted, but she didn’t. That hurt and kept me hurting for years afterward. About a decade after that I met and married Vrouwe and a new dream took its place. About five years after that we had to face biological reality and give up on the dream of conceiving children the regular way and look into adoption. Three years after that we were adoptive parents and a living our a new dream every hour of which made the lost dream seem less significant. 

    Some weeks back here on Ricochet there was a post about re-invention yourself in your career. I have had to do that as well, and the dream of being the sort of professor I had admired was left behind. There just weren’t jobs for professors of medieval Germanic literature/Jewish studies, whole departments were being closed or merged and I did not want to become an academic nomad or freeway flyer, stringing together temporary appointments to make ends meet. So I founded a translation company and quickly discovered exactly why all the happiest people I knew were independent small business owners. No office politics, no supervisors and clients lined up around the block. So, again, one dream takes the place of another. 

     

    • #7
    • March 17, 2019, at 9:04 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    The dream I gave up on nearly three full decades ago was a case of unrequited love. I would have married her if she had wanted, but she didn’t. That hurt and kept me hurting for years afterward. About a decade after that I met and married Vrouwe and a new dream took its place. About five years after that we had to face biological reality and give up on the dream of conceiving children the regular way and look into adoption. Three years after that we were adoptive parents and a living our a new dream every hour of which made the lost dream seem less significant.

    Some weeks back here on Ricochet there was a post about re-invention yourself in your career. I have had to do that as well, and the dream of being the sort of professor I had admired was left behind. There just weren’t jobs for professors of medieval Germanic literature/Jewish studies, whole departments were being closed or merged and I did not want to become an academic nomad or freeway flyer, stringing together temporary appointments to make ends meet. So I founded a translation company and quickly discovered exactly why all the happiest people I knew were independent small business owners. No office politics, no supervisors and clients lined up around the block. So, again, one dream takes the place of another.

     

    Wonderful, touching. I love that you realize you have made wise choices, as difficult as that was, @hartmannvonaue, and eventually realized that those choices have led to new choices and dreams being fulfilled. Truly admirable.

    • #8
    • March 17, 2019, at 9:09 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She (View Comment):

    A little over a year ago, I realized a tiny dream when I built our own little “cabin in the woods” at the bottom of our property, in a place where you can’t see the house or hear the traffic on the road. There’s a little stream down there, and you can sort of imagine yourself back in Nature (because, really, you are). Still, if you feel in need of some reassurance in the middle of the night, civilization is quite close, or you can always take the Great Pyrenees with you as guard dogs and bed warmers.

    I’ve not spent nearly as much time there as I’d like to, but this year I’m going to fix that. (And turf out the mice).

    Here’s a picture, while it was under construction.

     

    Does it have a porch? It doesn’t need to be elaborate; just enough of an overhang where you can sit outside while it rains.

    • #9
    • March 17, 2019, at 9:11 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. PHCheese Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    Are there dreams that you’ve released? Do you regret letting them go?

    Are there dreams that you’ve realized? In what ways have they enriched your life?

    One dream I let go of was to buy a trawler and cruise for the first few years of retirement. Even had the make and model picked out (43 foot Nordhavn). Alas, the market crashes over the years have kept my retirement fund at a level where I could have the boat or the house, but not the boat and the house. Ditto for the Porsche 911 twin turbo S.

    I’ve realized many dreams over the years – wonderful wife, great children, cherished friends. The latest dream I realized has been retirement at a young age (then 62).

    OTOH, if I can find the right agent for my novels, maybe I’ll get that Porsche after all . . .

    That’s a nice boat, I have been aboard one. We had a MT Europia and cruised for about 10 years off and on. Never had the Porsche though. I have been dreaming about building a 24 ft Shanty Boat either for limited use on the nearby ICW or Lake Marion nearby also. I even have the plans. I check them every so often. The problem being I would be in the neighborhood of 76 before I had it finished. I haven’t quite given up the dream but it is fading. It would look a lot like Susan’s cabin except it would float.

    • #10
    • March 17, 2019, at 9:11 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Percival (View Comment):
    Does it have a porch? It doesn’t need to be elaborate; just enough of an overhang where you can sit outside while it rains.

    Maybe @she will give us the finished product! I’d love to see it. A porch is definitely a good idea!

    • #11
    • March 17, 2019, at 9:15 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    A little over a year ago, I realized a tiny dream when I built our own little “cabin in the woods” at the bottom of our property, in a place where you can’t see the house or hear the traffic on the road. There’s a little stream down there, and you can sort of imagine yourself back in Nature (because, really, you are). Still, if you feel in need of some reassurance in the middle of the night, civilization is quite close, or you can always take the Great Pyrenees with you as guard dogs and bed warmers.

    I’ve not spent nearly as much time there as I’d like to, but this year I’m going to fix that. (And turf out the mice).

    Here’s a picture, while it was under construction.

     

    Does it have a porch? It doesn’t need to be elaborate; just enough of an overhang where you can sit outside while it rains.

    Yes, that’s what the wolmanized (we say “wolmerized” around here, BTW) 2x10s are. Around two sides. It’s 4ft deep, and has a railing around it. That let me put flower boxes under the windows without having to worry about deer getting into them. And gives us a little place to put a tiny gas barbeque.

    • #12
    • March 17, 2019, at 9:17 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    Does it have a porch? It doesn’t need to be elaborate; just enough of an overhang where you can sit outside while it rains.

    Maybe @she will give us the finished product! I’d love to see it. A porch is definitely a good idea!

    I will when things “green” up a bit. Right now it’s pretty dreary.

    • #13
    • March 17, 2019, at 9:19 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Stad Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    OTOH, if I can find the right agent for my novels, maybe I’ll get that Porsche after all . . .

    Good luck! Worth trying for, @stad!

    I should have added I want a small cabin like that to write in. Hey, I have another dream!

    • #14
    • March 17, 2019, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    That’s a nice boat, I have been aboard one. We had a MT Europia and cruised for about 10 years off and on. Never had the Porsche though. I have been dreaming about building a 24 ft Shanty Boat either for limited use on the nearby ICW or Lake Marion nearby also. I even have the plans. I check them every so often. The problem being I would be in the neighborhood of 76 before I had it finished. I haven’t quite given up the dream but it is fading. It would look a lot like Susan’s cabin except it would float.

    But, @phcheese, you’ve told us you’re in great shape! You’ll be a young 76!

    • #15
    • March 17, 2019, at 10:11 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. PHCheese Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    That’s a nice boat, I have been aboard one. We had a MT Europia and cruised for about 10 years off and on. Never had the Porsche though. I have been dreaming about building a 24 ft Shanty Boat either for limited use on the nearby ICW or Lake Marion nearby also. I even have the plans. I check them every so often. The problem being I would be in the neighborhood of 76 before I had it finished. I haven’t quite given up the dream but it is fading. It would look a lot like Susan’s cabin except it would float.

    But, @phcheese, you’ve told us you’re in great shape! You’ll be a young 76!

    True but sea legs are somewhat different plus my first mate says she will go as long as she has one foot on the shore.

    • #16
    • March 17, 2019, at 10:19 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  17. Rodin Member

    @susanquinn, maybe you have a writing shed like David McCullough:

    WEST TISBURY – MAY 19: Author-historian David McCullough on the step to his writing shed he built in the back yard of his West Tisbury home. Since he built the structure in 1970, all of his books have been written there. (Photo by Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

    • #17
    • March 17, 2019, at 10:23 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Very cool! But there would be nowhere to build it where I’m now living. I so admire the man; I’m not surprised that he created such a sweet place to write. Sigh.

    • #18
    • March 17, 2019, at 10:28 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. KentForrester Moderator

    I’ve always had a dream of being brown, sort of like a Kim Kardashian. Alas, I’m permanently ruddy and freckled. I don’t think I will evolve into a brown. 

    I’ve always thought that the browns are the species favored by God and man. People like browns. 

    • #19
    • March 17, 2019, at 1:22 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Susan,

    My fiancee’ has a dream of a place to write, just like that. It’s something I need to plan to realize, at some point.

    What I’d really like is the small cottage, that comes with a place to write, windows, a view of water, and then I think we’d be set.

    • #20
    • March 18, 2019, at 4:38 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    My wife and I had a dream cabin.

    It wasn’t big, though bigger than the pictures here. About 900 square feet, with a fireplace, water tower, and propane appliances. We had minimal electricity from a generator and batteries.

    It was in the Mogollon Mountains in New Mexico, at about 8,300 feet — pine and aspen woods, with a crystal-clear creek running right in front. There were about 30 cabins on private land along the creek, in the middle of the Gila National Forest. It was about 20 miles on a very primitive, dirt road to get there. You couldn’t really get there between November and April (except by snowmobile, which we never tried).

    There were regular elk visits, an amazing number of hummingbirds, and the occasional bear. Our youngest daughter learned to walk at the cabin.

    We bought it in 2008. Sadly, we lost it to the biggest wildfire in NM history in 2012. There wasn’t even a point in rebuilding, as the forest was destroyed for years to come.

    So technically, this wasn’t an unrealized dream. It was a dream realized, and lost.

    • #21
    • March 18, 2019, at 4:38 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Chris Campion (View Comment):

    Susan,

    My fiancee’ has a dream of a place to write, just like that. It’s something I need to plan to realize, at some point.

    What I’d really like is the small cottage, that comes with a place to write, windows, a view of water, and then I think we’d be set.

    A cottage sounds lovely, @chriscampion. And a view. Sigh. ;-)

    • #22
    • March 18, 2019, at 4:42 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Front Seat Cat Member

    I loved this cabin story. I toyed around with the same cabin in my own mind around the time of the 2008 financial meltdown, where I lost my job, then found another and realized because of my back issues, I couldn’t work full time anymore. Then the oil spill came to our shore, people were bailing left and right from the area, and I thought, gosh – just a simple cabin like you described, paid for and all mine, away from water, oil spills, a safe place… I thought where would it be, the NC mountains, GA? I even researched prices and proximity to civilization, weather, ….

    I think that cabin was a safe place in my mind – more than in reality, when difficulties that seemed overwhelming and challenging took precedence. But it still, the way you described it, is beautiful and not too terribly silly. You may get that cabin one day…..why not??

    • #23
    • March 18, 2019, at 5:02 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I loved this cabin story. I toyed around with the same cabin in my own mind around the time of the 2008 financial meltdown, where I lost my job, then found another and realized because of my back issues, I couldn’t work full time anymore. Then the oil spill came to our shore, people were bailing left and right from the area, and I thought, gosh – just a simple cabin like you described, paid for and all mine, away from water, oil spills, a safe place… I thought where would it be, the NC mountains, GA? I even researched prices and proximity to civilization, weather, ….

    I think that cabin was a safe place in my mind – more than in reality, when difficulties that seemed overwhelming and challenging took precedence. But it still, the way you described it, is beautiful and not too terribly silly. You may get that cabin one day…..why not??

    Oh FSC, you understand my dream! You got farther along than I did. Sometime I’ll tell you why it’s unlikely that I’ll ever acquire it. But you are sweet to wish it for me. Thanks.

    • #24
    • March 18, 2019, at 5:15 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Eridemus Coolidge

    I read somewhere that in a survey, a majority of high school students in Russia who were asked about their dreams and ambitions, gave some career ideal and then finished with “and of course I will have a dacha.”

    So if the world ever satisfies all that need, then its woods will be sprinkled with lots of hidden little fairy tale huts. In real life, my grandparents had a fishing cabin and my dad build a kind of rustic “annex” on on the same land, but we didn’t end up going there much and since my granddad wanted all the same kind of food as in the formal house in Atlanta, it was actually a lot of work for my grandmother in a smaller kitchen.

    I don’t have a big house and it’s outside the city limits of a NC city, not in a subdivision, therefore kind of a hybrid situation. Informal and quiet, no place to have any guests unless they are very tolerant close friends or family, and that is rare. So we have to compress life a little but there’s no need for the anxiety of locking up or hours of extra driving, etc. We get the cabin effect in the subconsious realm that is sufficient not to have to buy or build something else, which we couldn’t afford anyway.

    I have been having a discussion with a long distance email pal I only met on a professional discussion group (who is happy in Texas) about a different “incomplete” area of the mind…..maybe worthy of another topic.

    • #25
    • March 19, 2019, at 4:51 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. Eridemus Coolidge

    Naw, here goes. Who had trouble (if you’ve faced it) on deciding when to “really” retire? Was it easy, obvious, safisfying…. or forced, long-deliberated, the closure of a plan? Then, did you stay semi-attached to your field in a kind of sunset time, charge forward in a new direction, or plunge at last into long-postponed alternative?

    Was the letting go affected by whether you thought you didn’t really nail the success or satisfaction you found elusive in your earlier chosen field (as seen through the hopes of youth)? Or: do you give yourself a pat on the back for however it turned out just because you made the best choices you could even if you were never more outstanding than the main part of the pack?

    I’m hanging onto a lower level of activity = semi-satisfying semi-retirement (I suspect has to do with a nagging partially unfulfilled career achievement concept)…. and find myself wondering if it’s something I’ll regret doing. And hoping that a miraculous and not too traumatic insight presents me with the needed wisdom to find a happy ending or next transition point.

    • #26
    • March 19, 2019, at 5:03 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Eridemus (View Comment):

    So we have to compress life a little but there’s no need for the anxiety of locking up or hours of extra driving, etc. We get the cabin effect in the subconsious realm that is sufficient not to have to buy or build something else, which we couldn’t afford anyway.

    I have been having a discussion with a long distance email pal I only met on a professional discussion group (who is happy in Texas) about a different “incomplete” area of the mind…..maybe worthy of another topic.

    You are right, of course. The draw for me is that I would like to go not-too far away; otherwise it’s a burden. And it sounds like you’ve found a home that gives you a lot of that sweetness, too. Finally, as I said, we don’t necessarily have to “go away” to find our retreat; it’s available, 24/7. Thanks, @eridemus.

    • #27
    • March 19, 2019, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • Like
  28. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Eridemus (View Comment):

    Naw, here goes. Who had trouble (if you’ve faced it) on deciding when to “really” retire? Was it easy, obvious, safisfying…. or forced, long-deliberated, the closure of a plan? Then, did you stay semi-attached to your field in a kind of sunset time, charge forward in a new direction, or plunge at last into long-postponed alternative?

    Was the letting go affected by whether you thought you didn’t really nail the success or satisfaction you found elusive in your earlier chosen field (as seen through the hopes of youth)? Or: do you give yourself a pat on the back for however it turned out just because you made the best choices you could even if you were never more outstanding than the main part of the pack?

    I’m hanging onto a lower level of activity = semi-satisfying semi-retirement (I suspect has to do with a nagging partially unfulfilled career achievement concept)…. and find myself wondering if it’s something I’ll regret doing. And hoping that a miraculous and not too traumatic insight presents me with the needed wisdom to find a happy ending or next transition point.

    If you’re asking me, I couldn’t have planned my retirement any better. When we moved to FL (knowing it would be our “retirement home,” too, my husband encouraged me to decide for myself whether I wanted to continue (essentially starting over) my consulting and training business. I tried half-heartedly for a while, but I felt I kept getting signs that it was time to let go. I loved my work and felt I’d had a lot of terrific projects. So I waited mentally (mainly for myself) to declare myself retired a few years ago. Since then, I have declared myself a writer (for what that’s worth), pursued my Jewish heritage more deeply, and am partnering on writing a book. I also am a hospice volunteer, exercise regularly and meditate. I am SO spoiled by this life.

    On the other hand, my husband’s situation is a bit like yours. He was an independent consultant to the energy and power plant industry. It required, in some cases, long projects away from home. He also has a lung condition called bronchiectasis, which means his airways and lungs are deteriorating. He’s doing great, considering. But he realized if he worked, he had to have shorter projects with limited time away from home, and only doing work he wanted to do. In his business, those opportunities are rare, so he declared himself retired (although he continues to say he’d take on a job if it fit all his criteria). One of the things that puts him at risk are his allergies (yes, he’s been tested and the best thing to do is OTC medications), and that sinus drainage challenges his lungs, causing further deterioration and inflammation; if he gets a sinus infection, he goes to the doc–he doesn’t mess around.

    So that leads to what I wasn’t going to share, but what the heck: I won’t pursue my cabin dream because Jerry couldn’t do it with me. His allergies are bad enough at home, causing coughing and allergy problems. The mountain pollens are a guaranteed sickness; he’d be at risk from the get-go. And if I’m going to go away for a week, a month, three months, I won’t go without him. Yet if he tried to go, he’d be coughing most of the time–not an environment for silence. I did do my share of intensive meditation retreats in beautiful, peaceful surroundings, but they were not gentle and we weren’t supposed to write. And I have gone for three or four days on single retreats, but at this stage in my life, that’s the most I’ll do. I like to be with the guy. So it’s okay.

    Probably more than you were asking for. I don’t think there’s a “right way” to retire; if you like your life as it is, it sounds pretty good to me!

    • #28
    • March 19, 2019, at 6:27 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge

    A few years ago my family and I visited Japan. I fell in love with the place, but that’s easy to do when you’re a tourist on vacation. More to the point, it was my real introduction to the reality that “travel broadens the mind”; it was my first overseas trip, and it drove home to me that I know so little about so much of the world. I was aware of the fact that I was getting only the most superficial taste of Japanese culture, and I wanted to go deeper. (It could probably have been any other culture that made me feel this way, but in my case it was Japan.)

    It’s not an overstatement to say that that experience had a powerful effect on me; for about a year afterward I felt an overwhelming longing to move there, purely because I wanted to experience a life different from the one I know. I couldn’t accept the reality that this is the life I have, and that there will always be an infinite number of other lives I won’t get to experience.

    I envied those who were bitten by the travel bug while they were still young and unencumbered. If I were an unmarried twenty-something right out of college, I’d have the freedom to move to Japan if I wanted to, or to travel the world, living out of a backpack; to do that today I would have to abandon my home, my career, and the possessions accumulated over a lifetime, and the cost is simply too great.

    The longing hasn’t gone away, but I’ve learned to accept that it is an itch that I will never be able to scratch. That’s OK. I continue to learn as much as I can from a distance, and we will go back as often as we can manage it, and that will have to be enough.

    • #29
    • March 19, 2019, at 6:33 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    A few years ago my family and I visited Japan. I fell in love with the place, but that’s easy to do when you’re a tourist on vacation. More to the point, it was my real introduction to the reality that “travel broadens the mind”; it was my first overseas trip, and it drove home to me that I know so little about so much of the world. I was aware of the fact that I was getting only the most superficial taste of Japanese culture, and I wanted to go deeper. (It could probably have been any other culture that made me feel this way, but in my case it was Japan.)

    It’s not an overstatement to say that that experience had a powerful effect on me; for about a year afterward I felt an overwhelming longing to move there, purely because I wanted to experience a life different from the one I know. I couldn’t accept the reality that this is the life I have, and that there will always be an infinite number of other lives I won’t get to experience.

    I envied those who were bitten by the travel bug while they were still young and unencumbered. If I were an unmarried twenty-something right out of college, I’d have the freedom to move to Japan if I wanted to, or to travel the world, living out of a backpack; to do that today I would have to abandon my home, my career, and the possessions accumulated over a lifetime, and the cost is simply too great.

    The longing hasn’t gone away, but I’ve learned to accept that it is an itch that I will never be able to scratch. That’s OK. I continue to learn as much as I can from a distance, and we will go back as often as we can manage it, and that will have to be enough.

    @bartholomewxerxesogilviejr, what a beautiful testament to living with longing, as well as a testament to your commitment to your family. Very insightful. Good on you, I say.

    Edit–I think it is so powerful to see how we live with these tensions, and find ways to appreciate our desires and our gifts that we already have. So often, people just must scratch the itch, which is giving in to desire instead of embracing the love and commitment right in front of us. You can love Japan and love just where you are.

    • #30
    • March 19, 2019, at 7:33 AM PDT
    • 1 like

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