I dream at night that I drive somewhere and when I’m done with whatever I do I can’t remember where my car is or how to get back home.
I’m guessing that an overpaid shrink will say that it is normal for a person in his early social security years to have such a dream. It probably means that I want to look back at the past, would like to somehow go back to its comfort but am stymied because what is past, is gone.
The past is comforting but having the knowledge of how it plays out helps make it easier to endure. That’s the problem going forward for those of us who collect a social security pension and/or are on medicare. We like to think that we can endure what lays ahead but there is always that feeling of looking over our shoulder to see who or what is gaining on us.
Last week I sat in a meeting with a client and two outside consultants regarding their need to acquire a new accounting system. I had been supporting their system for the past thirty years. The system was now insufficient and behind the times. It was time to be replaced with something fancier. There was a sense of relief because I no longer wanted to be responsible on a day-to-day basis to keep their system functioning. I still wanted to be involved in some aspect of the new system, whatever it would be.
One of the other consultants made an offhanded comment late in the meeting, while staring at me, “after all, you are retiring”. Huh? Who said I was retiring- I just don’t want as much responsibility as in the past.
I met this fellow for the first time an hour earlier. The only way he would have made such a statement is because the owner made an offhanded comment to him. How’s that for loyalty? Hey, after designing and supporting customized accounting systems for forty years, I’m entitled to downgrade the responsibilities I want to take on. And hey- the present and future costs money. There’s no comfort in the unknown. As an actor playing a professional athlete once famously said in a movie, “show me the money” and tell me what I have to do.
There’s another aspect to the dream I started with- someone wants to help me find my car and give me directions on how to go home but they also expect to be paid. Everybody wants to get into the act!