Wednesday, May 27, 2009

thinking of the future

Those who know me know I always have a plan. I may change it every year or so, but I always have one. And lately my thoughts have been turning to the future. What do I want, down the road?

I know I would like to retire from here. That keeps me at Hopkins until I am 57, if I want to retire with everything the University offers to retirees. After that, I am thinking I would like to snag a government job for 10 years, and then retire from there. That would give me whatever the government offers to its retirees.

What I really want is a place at the beach, and a place in the mountains. I'd like to keep our house forever, as it is now firmly fixed in my mind as HOME. But I would like a place of my own at the beach, somewhere I could go to whenever the need hit me for sand and sun and water. And a place in the mountains when I need trees and quiet and nature.

I wonder if it's doable, or if it's more or less a pipe dream. My husband would love the mountain retreat, and grudgingly go along with the beach, I think. I know we both see ourselves in the house in Baltimore forever. Everyone has to have a home, that place that pops in your head when you say the word. The thing that tugs at you when you are away, and gives ease to your bones. So I think that part is a given. But I do know that we both want to travel, to see as much of the world as we can. So somehow that will have to fit into the vision as well.

It's nice to think about. I guess we won't know how much of it we'll do, until we get there.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

twists of fate

I had an odd and unsettling experience today. I saw a couple of old friends today, while they were visiting the Kimmel Cancer Center. One friend is doing well, better than when we were younger. The other friend is not doing well at all -- he was the patient at the center. He is my age, married, with an 8 year old daughter. He has cancer. He is hoping the clinical trial he is participating in will save his life.

When we were all 17 years old, we were at basically the same point. We were all getting ready to graduate from high school. We liked to joke around, laugh, have a good time. Now it's 30 years later. And we are at really different points. The difference doesn't so much seem to come down to specific choices we made. It seems to be fate.

Why does life single out some people for hardship, and others for success? you fall in love, get married. It works out great for some people, awful for others. The starting point was the same. You have kids at 20, or at 30, or at 45. You lose a job, or luck into a career. You get sick, recover. You get sick, you die.

Random. Fate. Destiny. I don't know what to call it. I think though that sometimes awful things happen to good people. And sometimes great things happen to bad people. And there doesn't have to be something that turns that wheel in one direction or another.

We have to roll with what we have. And love the good stuff, because it's precious, and rare and maybe, just maybe, temporary.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the itch is back

The itch is back. The almost overwhelming desire to GO SOMEWHERE. I am buying travel books again. Rsearching flight prices. Hotels. I know I can't, just can't, afford to do this. But the impulse, and that's what it is, is really powerful.

I spent a week in the Outer Banks in April. I am going to OC for a few days in July. I am spending a week in Michigan in August. I am not vacation deprived. But it's not the same. This is connected to the concept of NEW. I want something NEW, DIFFERENT, not the same. I don't want to move again -- the other way I scratch this itch. I'm already in school, and that helps some. I need to stay at my current job for at least 7 more years, so that Michael can go to college, and JHU can help me pay for it. So no new job.

Hobbies don't work. A project doesn't do it. I suppose I could get a puppy, or adopt a child -- but those seem to have more downside than I like in a change, and the other folks in my life would NOT be happy with that version of NEW.

That leaves travel. And boy oh boy do I wanna go. Portugal. Laos. Hungary. Peru. Guatemala. Hell, Toronto would work. If only I could deduct travel as a mental health expense. In the meantime, I guess I could renew the passports. And dream.