Welcome to the rest of your life

So I’ve been struggling with this post for a while.  I think a few people that I work with actually do read my blog now and again and I don’t want them to read this post and take it as free license to slack.  So, I thought I would start with this disclaimer: if you’re on my team you are not allowed to cite this post or any of the thoughts in it in the next few weeks (the half life of any post) as a reason for why you didn’t get something done.
Now that I’ve done my duty to the J.O.B., on to the post.
I, along with everyone else that isn’t independently wealthy or dirt poor, have been watching in horror as the global economy has crashed and burned.  I’m not going to go all tinfoil hat here and rant about the reasons why we are in the state we find ourselves (I need to start another blog to do that ;-)), but it has knocked me out of the daily routine a bit and forced me to re-evaluate the grand plan.
I formulated the grand plan over the course of the last 5 years.  As I started to get a little money, realize that I wasn’t going to live forever and my kids started to be real people and not just babbling babies.  OK, it really started when I turned 30 and realized that I didn’t want to do what I was doing forever (and that i wouldn’t live forever).  The core elements of the grand plan were:

  • Get while the getting was good, even if you did like what you had to do to get it.
  • Make time for the important things along the way (family, kids, health, happinessss), but always keep one eye on the prize
  • The prize = ‘retire’ from the main job when the youngest graduates from college (2024 or 2025 depending on whether it’s 4 or 5 years) with the house paid off, no debt and $2M in the bank.

I will be 52 years old in 2025 and then the real fun was supposed to start – I was going to go into teaching.  High school match and science.  Maybe a little history.  Summers off.  Working with kids and seeing that spark when they ‘get it’.  Doing my little part to get the US back to some level of proficiency in the area that has been so bad for so long.  But now, I think the plan has to change.
The good is no longer, so the getting will likely fall off, whether I like it or not.  Will things turn around?  Who knows, but it doesn’t look like it will ever be exactly like it was before.  I’m not sure when I came to that view, but I imagine I had to go through all the regular stages and have arrived at acceptance.  Although its fewer every day, too many people are still in denial.  Now that I have accepted a future view (may not be the right one, but it’s mine) I am re-visioning the grand plan.  The core elements of the grand plan 2.0 are:

  • Do things I like every day – because I may be doing them for a long time.
  • Make time for the important things. (full stop)
  • There is no prize.  There is no tomorrow, there is only today and now.

I actually like plan 2.0 alot better!  Will I ever get to teach?  I hope so, but in the end (hopefully still along way off) it won’t matter nearly as much because I’ll have enjoyed the trip alot more…the destination won’t matter as much.  And in some subtle way I really appreciate the irony of the fact that it took the world economy going to shit for me to stop delaying gratification.  Making me happier today that I would have been if things kept cranking along.






15 responses to “Welcome to the rest of your life”

  1. Ron K Jeffries Avatar

    Thanks for sharing your Grand Plan 2.0, you are spot on. We are living through a nightmare. Your plan helps put things in perspective.

  2. […] Chris Kelly writes about his original Grand Plan, now trashed by our current aweful economic situation. Please read his post. […]

  3. Brad Holtz Avatar

    I have a corallary for your first new point that I have been living by for many years:
    When you buy something, buy something you’re going to like when it’s old, ’cause it’s old alot longer that it’s new.

  4. Chris Avatar

    Brad – good rule to live by.

  5. Igori Avatar

    great post! .. carpe diem!

  6. csven Avatar

    I’ve been lucky enough to be on Plan #2 for almost 30 years. When you do what you enjoy, both you and the people around you are happier, the important things are more easily recognizable, and retirement is an option you’ll likely decline.

  7. Dave B Avatar

    I know what you’re talking about. I lost my job (actually the company just shut down) two weeks ago. Do I get a job that I do well to survive or do I go after what I really want to do? Is there a compromise? Sometimes you can use big events to change direction. Sometimes you can just go nuts thinking about it 😉

  8. Hilby Avatar

    You can’t just make a disclaimer like that and have everyone abide by it… Haven’t you ever seen Talledega Nights? Just because you say “With all due respect.” doesn’t mean you can say anything….I think I’ll take a nap.
    I read about a new acronym. HENRY…as in you are a H.E.N.R.Y (High Earner Not Rich Yet). You’ll get hit the hardest by Obama-nomics.
    Luckily I’m a LENRY. 😉
    Seriously though, good post. I agree with the sentiment.

  9. Chris Avatar

    Hilby – no nap for you!
    Unfortunately I think I will become a HENRE – High Earner Not Rich Ever. And it’s not necessarily Obama-nomics I am worried about, although its not making things better either. We were on this path along time before Obama got his first vote for any elected office.

  10. Chris Avatar

    csven – realizing that now and loving it. Just too bad things had to get so bad for me to get there.

  11. Chris Avatar

    Dave B – good luck in your search. I know you’ll use this as an opportunity for re-invention. Let me know if you want to start something crazy…I’ll help 😉

  12. Dora Smith Avatar

    So this is Chris 2.0. Great post. I’ve undergone a similar change in goals/priorities. “The greatest gift you can give your children is not your riches, but revealing to them their own.” (max lucado)

  13. Jay Miller Avatar
    Jay Miller

    Thanks for posting this one Chris.
    Is this something all folks go through in their 30's, cause I'm right there with you. I would just add that, while constantly challenging, trying to do thing in God's image, adds to the level of love felt by you and the people you touch.
    BTW – never realized that you were younger than me. With my birthday a week ago, and just reading this blog post, I'm yet again reminded how old I'm getting. Thanks buddy.

  14. Chris Avatar

    Sorry about that Jay. Absolutely agree on trying to have some higher power that helps to guide you. I consider myself really fortunate in that I went through a period from 25-35 where I spent 3 years finishing up my education (getting my MBA), then another 3 years getting in shape (lost ~100 lbs) and then getting back involved in church.
    We’re all getting older…and hopefully wiser.

  15. joslyn Avatar

    totally diggin chris 2.0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *