Saturday, May 12, 2007

The song, 'What About Now?' and retirement

- The most frequently asked question (FAQ) about our impending retirement (19 days from today) is "How did you know it was time?"


Well, some people go to retirement planners - but I have never been that organized.

But what I did do about two years ago was create a file (on the computer and on paper) which we named Project Escape Velocity. PEV (not the best acronym, but what-the-hell...) consisted of retirement benefits projections, records of long term (and short term) debts, and potential post-university income.

Not being a graph or spreadsheet guy, I used my calculator every few months and looked at the debts, watched the potential retirement income go up, landed a few more writing contracts and finally in March we fed all the data into an analysis system I learned when I was a newspaper editor called SWAG


SWAG said: You have escape velocity.

Escape velocity
Retirement liftoff

But besides all the $$$$ issues, there's lot of questions about leaving careers, even though we will be doing guest cameo teaching every fall here.

Which brings us to the headline: What About Now?

I've always been looking at the horizon and wondering what's beyond it. In 1970, I packed up a VW van and headed west from upstate New York. I would have done so on a motorcycle, but with a wife, a three-month-old baby and a cat, balancing would have been a helluva trick. I guess I could have considered a sidecar, but that would have seemed so, well, dorky.

And, of course, all the boats! I had thought when we sailed off to Mexico on Sabbatical in 2002 we were very close to escape velocity. But close is just that.

So in addition to making a file Project Escape Velocity, I started collecting music, much of which I put together on a CD for my amigos Ric Brown and Rosemary Papa, who, like us, are escaping Sacramento and headed for great new opportunities. The CD is called "Catch Us If You Can," with the first song an updated version of the Dave Clark Five song by the same name from the 60s.

But another tune that has been ringing through my brain for weeks (on and off, though mostly on) is by Lonestar called "What About Now?"

Lonestar - country singers without cowboy hats

The pulsing music of that song is almost enough to give you escape velocity:

What About Now

The sign in the window said for sale or trade
On the last remaining dinosaur Detroit made
Seven hundred dollars was a heck of a deal
For a four hundred horsepower jukebox on wheels

And that road rolls out like a welcome mat
I don't know where it goes but it beats where we're at
We always said someday, somehow
We were gonna get away, gonna blow this town

What about now, how 'bout tonight
Baby for once let's don't think twice
Let's take that spin that never ends
That we've been talking about
What about now, why should we wait
We can chase these dreams down the interstate
And be long gone 'fore the world moves on and makes another round
What about now

So, with the rockets roaring in the the background and the music on the CD, it's 19 days to retirement and Mexico. Fittingly, on our first day of official retirement, we will be flying to Puerto Vallarta where I hope by lunchtime to be toasting el futuro at the Cafe Tacuba with its owner Victor who serves tequila shots with every order he serves.

Followed by a siesta, of course.