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Friday, December 8, 2006

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

Retirement worries?
Not any more.

I am a natural born worrier. Some of us are born athletes, some born smart - we all have talent. Mine is worrying.

I go to bed worrying about what happened all day, what did not happen, and what will happen tomorrow. I wake up and start the process again, after having worrisome dreams all night.

Anyway, at any point in any day when my hands and body are not fully occupied, my brain reserves all extra power for worrying. When things are slow, I make lists of things to worry about.

It was about six months ago. I was sitting at my desk going through my list of things to worry about when I found myself worrying about retirement. Now, I know that at 41, retirement is not too close, but you know the hype - if you are not saving for retirement when you are 13, you’ll probably spend your golden years robbing dumpsters and mooching off your kids.

Honestly that part does not worry me too much, since I robbed McDonalds dumpsters at closing time during most of my college career (as well as poaching the occasional small animal for the stew pot) and I was a famous mooch before I started mooching off my wife 17 years ago.

But, you still have to worry. It’s a rule. So, I was thinking, “Gee, I’m not saving enough for retirement.”

It is a common thought among the self-employed from what I gather.

Okay, I said to myself, I’m 41 now. In X numbers of years, and with no small amount of luck, I’ll have the business paid off and still be in business. That will free up some cash. That money can go into retirement.

Let’s see, I’ll be…. Wow, I thought, Ruby (our oldest) will be 17 by then.

That is a hard thought for a father to swallow all by itself and gives lots more fodder for the worry mill.

Then thoughts of cars, braces, prom gowns and bodyguards were dumped into the worry mill for extra flavor. I reached for my blood pressure medicine and went back to worrying about the original subject - retirement. Okay, so the next year she’ll start college. Okay, so four years later I can start saving that money… No, Carson Mae starts college then.

Okay, then when Carson finishes… No, then Dixie Jo will be a high school senior.

Okay, so when Dixie graduates, I’ll be….

I sat there at my desk, starring at my fingers and then wiggling my toes as I added up the years.

It took a lot of fingers and toes, and I had to play that game where I put a mark on a piece of paper to stand for ten fingers and started again.

I needed four hands and two sets of toes.

But, the result was unexpected. The result was pure relief.

The result was the startling revelation that I no longer needed to worry about retirement.

What a relief.


Because there is no way that I will ever be able to retire. What I need, up until the last few moments before they nail the box shut, is a job - and a good one at that.

Shoot, I know how to work. Nothing alien or unknown about that ballgame. Phew! It really feels good to mark something off the worry list.

So, I relaxed, breathed a deep breath, checked retirement off the list in my head, and moved on to item number two.

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