Today, a post that I wrote on Facebook five years ago came up. It tears at my heartstrings and it still holds true. This was the post:
“I watched a video the other day where they used a tape measure to encourage people to follow their dreams. Using a life expectancy chart he pulled the tape out to his current age in inches, marking the place with his forefinger and thumb. He then pulled the tape measure out to his life expectancy and marked that number. Holding the tape measure up he highlighted the long time he has lived and the little time left.
“I pulled out a tape measure and did the same. While sobering, the moral of following your dreams in the time left rang loud and clear. We will follow our dreams.
“The last son has left. All visiting grandchildren are back home with their moms. The oldest granddaughter moved out last week and returned to college. We are truly, finally empty nesters.
“After 16 years of living in this house, raising the children through teenagers and young adults, always the table lamp in the hallway burned. Chasing away the shadows of the dark in a strange new house, lighting the way, welcoming them home. When they were very young, returning from friends, I would be waiting up, keeping an eagle eye on my watch and the front door. Later, when they were older, I was still waiting, just snoozing in my recliner. The lamp still burned. It has shone for them as young adults – they came and went while we soundly slept. The light has burned.
“Last night, I turned the light off. They are gone, as joyful and bittersweet as that is. They are all gone.
“So we move on. We will follow the dream in the time that is left.
“Putting the house up for sale, storing a few things, selling and giving away most of the stuff of years, taking a deep breath and going for it. The next chapter of our life is life on the road.”
Reading that post again, years later, I can still feel the hope and sadness of turning that light out. Memories of our kids and grandkids growing up flood through. Missing them still tugs. We have now been on the road full-time for five years. We’re still loving it but thinking about the what-ifs and what-when plan B.
It is time to pull out the tape measure again. I went to the Social Security Life expectancy chart to get the sobering reality of where to stop the tape measure now. So little time left compared with the life lived. So once again we will follow our dreams, no matter what time is left. We do not need plan B yet.