(Just Like) Starting Over

Long time readers will know that sometimes the efforts to bring our cunning plans to fruition can be hard.  It isn’t always Mexican beer and Scrabble games aboard Galapagos.  Especially as our departure date grows ever closer, actions that we once just talked about, we now must do.

This past week I celebrated my twenty year work anniversary at Boeing.  Two days later I told my manager that I would retire at the end of April.

That’s a real diamond folks. A real tiny diamond.

I have been thinking about this day for a long time, maybe three years, and still I was not prepared emotionally to hear those words come out of my mouth.  In fact, I struggled to get the words out and had to excuse myself to go for a little walk. I was overwhelmed and surprised by the intense emotions after having worried about this day for so long. After I got a grip on myself, I returned and we had a longer chat to explain my future plans.  My manager was very kind; disappointed I would be leaving but excited for the cunning plan we have laid out.  I was relieved that she took it so well. It’s hard to tell people you like that you are leaving. There’s always that niggling doubt that you are going to be letting them down in some way. I am grateful that she was so supportive.

Like most people my age, I feel as though I have been working for my entire life. I spent twenty years at Boeing, and the twenty before that working or serving in the military. To say, ‘I no longer have a job.’  really does feel like starting over: Exciting and a little terrifying all at once. If you do the math, you’ll see I’ve been working since I was 16 years old. Practically an entire lifetime.

Melissa and I have been the doing all the responsible grown up things for 35 years now and the plans we have set before ourselves are simply not a part of the typical American narrative. But who said we have to be typical? Where is that written? Youth, it is said, is wasted on the young, but I don’t buy it. Melissa and I have not wasted our youth. We have used it to build a beautiful life for ourselves and our children. And now we get to start over with a new kind of life.  It is a bold move but there is magic in boldness.

When we were young, hip and didn’t know what the hell we were doing. Evanston, Wyoming, 1981.

So we tamp down our fears about what we are giving up and grow excited about what we are taking on.  Living aboard these last few weeks has been lovely, despite the cold weather.  It reminds me our first apartment together in Biloxi, Mississippi. We were newlyweds. I was in tech school for the Air Force. Our apartment was only a little bigger than Galapagos.  It was a time for us to practice being adults and figuring out who we were as a couple.  I think we did okay.

In our first apartment together in Biloxi Mississippi in 1982. Melissa taught me how to sew and I made the Hawaiian shirt I am wearing.


The title of today’s post is from a song written by John Lennon.  I  must have a little DJ living in my head that queues up just the right song to capture how I feel.  One day I am sitting at my desk perseverating on the enormity of how our lives are changing and the next thing you know, Lennon is goofing on Elvis while Yoko makes animal noises in the background.  It was a pretty good song from 1980 and the hook just spoke to me. Be warned: this blog is family friendly, but John and Yoko, well, you’ll remember that they were not shy. You might want to close your eyes toward the end of the video.