Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coffee and Cigarettes

Tomorrow someone will hand us a large amount of extra time and a big chunk of extra money. What will we do with it?

“Coffee doesn’t taste good without cigarettes,” Elsa rasped as she explained why she’s cutting down on both. In her twenties, looking every bit the archetype of a Norwegian, she posed for some pictures. She went on to be on the cover of a magazine in Norway- the kind of magazine her parents didn’t tell their friends about, though dad may have read copies while in his youth.

Even models have biological clocks. At the age of twenty-five Elsa set her career aside to raise three boys. Fast forward that digital clock thirty years ahead. The boys are all grown up and Elsa’s life consists of coffee, cigarettes and trips to the high desert for massages and marijuana-until this month. This month Elsa is giving up cigarettes and coffee to begin focusing on herself. She had made phone calls to some magazines to see if they want to do a retrospective, the model at 60.

Five years down the road my daughter will be college age. Twelve years down the road I’ll be retirement age. Hailey’s hurtling toward twenty will mean more time on my own. Do I invest it or squander it? Do I try to get some interviews and relive my glory days, “Blogging Barista Bicycles into Sixties?”

Pastor John Piper has challenged my thinking in this area (you can read his book “Don’t Waste Your Life online): Do I want to spend the last years of my life standing on a beach in my Bermuda shorts and throwing shells into the sea? Or can I leverage my retirement to invest it in mankind?

Plan, Pray and Dream: If I’m going to leverage my time and money investment later then I need to think through options now. My present time investment is in Hailey-school and clubs and homework. Dreaming big but practical-What’s my heart desire for five years down the road? For me it would be some involvement in missionary work, World Vision is located two hours from home, my church is located five minutes from my doorstep.

Whether to give up coffee, cigarettes or self isn’t the right question. The correct question is what gives greater significance to life. In the final retrospective; what will they write in our obituary?

Clock courtesy of AlexKerhead


Anonymous said...

Where did you get the idea that you'll be at retirement age in 12 years? It'll be 17 years IF we're lucky (I'm pretty sure the current Social Security retirement age is 67, not 62...and over the next decade that might change again, assuming there's any money left in Social Security by the time we live long enough and qualify anyway...). Figure that we (and a whole lot of other late baby boomers) will NEVER get to retire--that's a much safer estimate for retirement planning purposes: we get the honor of dying with our boots on. Not that there's anything wrong with that--but it is a more realistic expectation.


Dillo said...

True, I may not be ready to retire by then. In 15 years though Hailey should be on her own...and the orthodontal bills finally paid for.

Joshua Rogers said...

Good thoughts. Thanks for putting them out there. I'm 31, and it's got me looking at now a little more closely. God bless you.

IamFarmgirl said...

I gave God my cigarettes 15 years ago, I gave up drinking coffee 6 months ago and I didn't even drink the "leaded" stuff! I never gave up on myself. I am 2 courses away from a Doctorate Degree and I'm 63! When I retire, I'm going to live my dream!

Anonymous said...

Nice blog you got here... Just droppin' by to say hi!