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Sunday, July 30, 2023

Reach the Beach

“Don’t waste the time. Time is the final currency, man. Not money, not power - it’s time.”
- David Crosby

I say, with no disrespect to the memory of the late David Crosby, that the whole money/power thing is an interesting sentiment when you have had money and power to begin with.  This noted, he was right, and  the older I get, the more I understand the point.  This is a good way to being today's travel post.

So it's thinking about time that I'm here outside of Ocean City, NJ for an extended weekend mini-vacation.  We spent yesterday on the Ocean City boardwalk in the morning, and then later in the day at Longport and Margate City for the late afternoon/evening.  About 12,500 steps into the day, and it seems like it was a long day.  But yet, in the true spirit of David Crosby, it also seemed to pass by quickly.  And I have been thinking a lot about time lately.  

One of the traits that Ms. Rivers and I share is a tendency towards being planful.  We try to think things through and do what's right for the longer term, the bigger picture if you will.  I think that a point of commonality between our very different upbringings is the fact that neither of us grew up in households where there was a lot of money, which probably play a role in the whole security/planful thing.  Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to retirement planning.  

As I've likely (I am not 100% sure, and I'm too lazy to check...) said before, this is the part of our life when we can see retirement on the horizon.  Not imminent, but not far away either.  The good news is that the whole planful stuff means that we will be financially ready.  So says our financial advisor.  For most folks that would be a relief...and for me it mostly is.  However...and you knew a "however" was coming...I often wonder if I'm ready in other ways.

I will note that physically, I am something of a wreck.  A "hot mess" and the younger folks would say.  While I have a good job that makes use of my skills, it's pretty demanding on my time, and while in years past I could make time for exercise, that hasn't been happening for years now.  Between the extra weight and a very actively lived 58 years behind me, the parts are starting to show some wear.  The point of discernment for me is trying to understand just how much of this just comes with the territory (i.e., something like my arthritic right big toe), and how much of it is actually self-inflicted.  The former I can't do all that much about, but the latter?  I'm feeling some guilt about that part.  The trick, if you want to call it that, is turning a fairly useless feeling like guilt into some concrete actions.  So far, I'm not doing so well.  But I have time...or do I?

One of the reasons why I enjoy the beach, in addition to the childhood memories associate with Atlantic City vacations, is the fact that the ocean is this hunkering big-a$$ed reminder of how large the world truly is, and how small the machinations in my head probably are.  Someone with the gift of brevity would says that it provides perspective.  I personally think it's actually more than that, although I can't come with reasons to exactly say why.  The saltwater smell hitting my nostrils is a kind of gentle reminder to me of a world that surpasses my dismay at physically aging and fears of forgetting, at some point, how to tie my shoes.  

I try to think about things like this from a 95/5 perspective.  This means that if I can take away some deeper sense from this (or other) experiences, even if it's just a small thing, then it's a good thing.  On the other side of the coin, as a wise person I know would say "why can't you just have a good time Steve?".  Maybe that's the 5% this time around.  Suffice to say, the jury is still out in the enlightenment department.

As for Ocean City NJ, well I was here once a long time ago.  In addition to being a typical Jersey beach town, it's simply and impeccably clean.  I also appreciate the whole "no smoking anything" policy that keeps the boardwalk not smelling like much of Atlantic City these days (see THIS posting) i.e., what I image to be the odor of Snoop Dog's limo. 

Today brings a trek to the beach in Brigantine, a spot we enjoyed when we were last in Atlantic City.  There's also this hotdog/ice cream joint we found that calls our names.  Loudly, and robustly, I will add.  I'm hoping to also finish one of the books I brought with me.  Yes, this is what passes for fun.  And this is okay, by the way.

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