Prompt: “My Retrospective Retirement Speech: What I Accomplished, and How I Did It.”
The things we choose to do in life sculpt our experience. The dreams we choose to chase make up the majority of our time. The lifestyles we live bloom from our youth, and evolve as we do. Asking myself what my lifestyle will be before I’ve matured into it sure is an undertaking, but it’s also a chance to dream of what I want to live.
When I’m in my eighties, surrounded by family within the life I’ve created, what do I want to see around me. Do I want to chase stardom, inspiring my peers and bringing light into the areas that have been darkened? Do I want to chase knowledge, soaking up the wisdom of generations past and telling the stories of the old days to my children’s children? Do I simply want to pursue peace within myself and my space, getting to know myself better each day until I can eventually greet myself as an old friend. In my mind the most well rounded choice would be to do a little of each. Inspire people, learn the wisdom of the past and present, and discover myself and my everyday joy.
I can imagine three physical ideas I would like to make real within my world some day. The first is inspiration. I’ve always had an intense fondness of cartoons. I see them as dreams fully realized, the artists inner spirit being brought to life on a paper or screen. I want to make a cartoon one day, one that expresses my emotions, thoughts, and personal inspirations. If this future work of art could inspire someone to be themselves more truthfully or pursue their own individual joy in life I would feel most honored.
The second physical I want to create will take a piece of nature to bring to life. When I am older I want to buy a slice of land, fairly large and able to support my ambition. This ambition is made up by two parts, architecture and agriculture. I’ve always adored tiny house architecture, as well as earthen building. I want to build several earthen tiny houses on my land, either to rent to my friends or to use as multiple Airbnbs. I also want to build an organic farm/ranch for myself. I want to raise goats, cows, chickens, possibly llamas, as well as other animals. I also want to create a fairly large crop production. I’ll raise a cornfield, a pumpkin patch, apple trees, grape vines, sprouts of all sorts, and a decent sized food forest. With the architecture combined with the agriculture I’ll feel confident in my ability to build, maintain, and help things grow.
Once I’m at that point in my life I’ll be ready to have children, who I’m sure will become the light of my life. I’ll want to help them find themselves, bring them joy and humor every day, and encourage anyway they choose to grow and explore themselves. Their happiness will make me extremely content and proud.
At the end of the day, or the end of the life, the physical accomplishments you’ve made matter only as much as how happy and proud you felt while making them. You could earn a high raking job, be making millions, and be miserable. I would call this a life that is not being lived to the fullest, for a life that is not making you happy to live does not create much value for the individual living it. On the contrary you could be dirt poor, but if you’re finding joy and peace within that lack of material wealth I would classify you as among kings. A monk could spend his life meditating in a cave, living off scraps of fruit dropped from the trees. A lawyer could spend his life defending things he doesn’t believe in, living in luxury but feeling empty. I would rather be the monk, truly enjoying every moment of being without ever selling myself.
If I inspire people with my animation, build beauty with my architecture, and grow life with my agriculture I will be very happy and contented. If I can raise my children to love and be true to themselves I will be very proud. If my grandchildren raise their children to love being alive, learn from their mistakes, and laugh as often as they can I will be truly at peace.