The Five-Year Plan

My son starts school as an 8th grader in 39 days. It recently occurred to me that we are staring down the final five years of his elementary and secondary schooling. While I would never wish away these last days of his childhood, it will most likely whiz by at lightning speed, or so I have been told by friends far ahead of me in child-rearing years. I have pondered that oft used job interview question, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years,” and I have come up with a few speculations.

1. In July 2016, my sister and I will have recovered from our fabulously fun and duo graduation party. (My sister is also on the five-year plan, but gets a practice run in 2013 with her first-born son.) M. and I will spend some time this month shopping for dorm accessories (sheets, bath shoes, computer accessories) OR, we just might be lying low, awaiting the start date of one of our exceptional local universities, where M. will be a commuting student. (Mom lucks out on at least one more year with a full house!)

2. Our beloved yellow Lab will have celebrated (with Tasty Paws) her 12th birthday in June. Her advanced age has FINALLY calmed her spastic disposition, as she is now too old to chase after two-wheeled/legged modes of transportation, such as bicycles, motorcycles and joggers. I am in the final days or months (or I guess, years) as a dog owner. In 2011, I loudly and definitively announced to the universe that this is my sixth and final canine. (Read my lips-NO MORE DOGS!) For the first time in at least 23 years, I will reside in a home completely void of dog hair, poop bags and vet bills.

3. If my arthritic knees are still capable of bending and straightening, I will join a local cycling group, relinquishing my seat on a goin-nowhere recumbent and spinning bike. It will be just me and the open road- that is if global warming hasn’t permanently stuck the thermometer on hot and humid in my once seasonal Midwest city. Joan does not enjoy exercising outdoors in a tropical climate.

4. My second turn as a hospice volunteer will prove to be longer lasting than my first stint, which was in college. In August 2016, I will receive my five-year pin for my work and dedication to the terminally ill and their families. My interaction with them will serve as a constant reminder to never sweat the small stuff, to value people over things, and to live each day like it’s your last.

5. My spouse and I (he will also be an empty or semi-empty nester) will travel to states and countries not visited in our childhood or earlier adult years. We will have scrawled a bucket list of sites to see, and eagerly cross them off as having “been there, done that.” (Please note the positive outcome to my year, in 2011, of online and offline dating.) 🙂

6. Last, but certainly not least, I will choose to write. With less of a nest to care for, I will possess the time and quiet necessary to pound away at the keyboard. My 56 years of life will have provided me with much material that is just bursting to be captured within the permanent ink of the written word. Memoirs, magazine articles and quite possibly a biography of the life and times of my son, (which will aptly be titled, “If I Can’t Taste, I Can’t Eat”) will be written and hopefully published. (Junior’s bio will explain the title and the other nuances of 18 years of living with and raising a “spirited child.”)

As five years counts down to four, then three, etc., I am confident that this list will grow past its current six items. There is so much left to see and do……

6 thoughts on “The Five-Year Plan

  1. I can’t imagine planning five years ahead, so much changes.

    I was thinking about something interesting today. My Fiance mentioned to me some while back that she had printed out my profile and had occasion to review it. She was happy to report that every single thing on my profile was true.

    It might be interesting for you to print out the profile for anyone you end up dating (if for no other reason than to provide clues for the police), it might be interesting to look back at them.

    Be easy on the guys though, for most of them dating online is a very alien experience and they will struggle to come up with what women would want to know about them.

    And for the record, I also can’t think of anyone one who would be “most influential” in my life. So many had the opportunity and passed the buck.

    • Thanks for the comments. It is never my intention to “pick on” the men on dating sites. I do believe there is someone for everyone. As I read the profiles, so many of the things that 50-something-year old men say is just down right silly and immature. Even though I like to write and can generally express myself well with words, I find it difficult to describe myself in a profile. I have had a male family member read and critique my profile. I would suggest to lots of the guys that they have a female do the same for them.

      You are one of the fortunate ones that have met success with online dating, and more than once! It is probably due to the fact that your profile was well-written and true! You could teach a class on submitting a winning profile.

      • You may have misinterpreted my suggestion to “go easy” on guys with weird things in their profiles.

        I happen to be friends with a number of women who date online and there appears to be a virtual wasteland in terms of quality men. The older the woman, the more horrible her choices.

        If a guy has bizarre things on his profile, it is probably a accurate depiction of his personality.

        For an intelligent lady such as yourself, lean pickings are to be found.

        The thing I tell my woman friends about online dating – use only the sites that charge money – the more money the better.

        The difference in the quality of guy is staggering.

        The other advice I give is to arrange very early casual meetings (like lunch). Sometimes you can learn more about someone in 30 seconds than you will in three months of e-mails or phone conversations.

        A contrarian tip: My Mother and Father seemed well matched in background and high intelligence. Things did not go well at all.

        My Dad’s next wife was a former stripper of average intelligence who had three previous marriages and a kid. They have now been married for 35 years and are quite happy together.

        So, you never know… 🙂

        It really is the personality that counts, not education, background, or whatever else people use to search for their mates.

      • HI Scott, and thanks for the comments. They were written well and are taken quite seriously, especially since you are a male and have been successful with online dating. I LOVE the part about your dad and current wife. Congrats to them on finding each other and making it last despite the appearance that they might have been “mismatched.” I agree that personality and chemistry are far more important than often age, intelligence and career paths. Thanks for reading!

  2. All we can do in life is to try to be happy and to try to help others to be happy. Or at least to not be in the way of people being happy.

    I forgot to add that your blog would be very instructive for guys filling out those profiles. I doubt very many of them think to have female friends or family vet them out.

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