Tuesday, November 22, 2016

If I had it do do all over again...

It's easy to play the "what if" game.  I regret not marrying young and having a large family of my own.  But neither I nor my wife are the same people as we were in back when we were in our early 20's.  We wouldn't have met, and we probably wouldn't have even liked each other if we had met back then.  It was better that we became what we eventually would become, before we met.  Otherwise, we would have divorced before we got very far.

I regret not finishing my PhD.  I was working on my dissertation while on loan to a branch of my company, living out of hotel rooms in the mid-west, working 60+ hours every week for years on end.   Eventually I had to choose between burning out irreparably, or burning out in a way that I might eventually recover from.  So when push came to shove, I gave up the PhD work.  I would have loved teaching college in retirement instead of just doing a few guest lectures, like I do now. Plus my wife is an EU citizen and I could have taught in Europe.

Marrying late meant that I didn't have the large family I would have liked to have fathered.  Instead, I married the perfect person for the rest of my life, with two young kids who I couldn't have loved any more than if I had fathered them myself.

But let's be honest.  I made lifelong friends, learned more than I could ever have otherwise, and advanced my career in a way that set me up for the rest of my life because I worked those long hours and spent years away from home.  I didn't have the burden of time and money having a family when I was young, so I traveled extensively, disappearing for weeks on end deep into the mountains with my back pack and gear.  Plus, I had a head start on saving and investing that made it a lot easier to help us, and the kids, later in life.  Starting early has set us up well for retirement sometime in the near future.  Something everyone young person should think about.

The luxury of time and independence in my early 20's allowed my to explore my naturist tendencies.  I visited nude beaches and nudist venues in several countries, and I became active in a local club my politically connected future wife would never have allowed me to be active in. No, I didn't get to hike the Pacific Coast Trail or the full length of the Appalachian trail.  And I didn't get to raise my kids as nudists.  But I did confide in them my background and I expressed my hope that they'd at least be at peace with their own bodies, very early in their lives.  I hope they consider that option with their kids.

I'm happy with how my life turned out.  I love my wife, my kids (they are, to me, my kids), and our two grand kids (and counting).  And I look forward to a wonderful rest of my life with them.  My wife enjoys the freedom of not having to wear clothes around me.  And she's OK with coming with me to nude beaches and nudist clubs every now and again.  I've had a few discussions with the kids, and they understand their options.  I just hope they raise their kids to be as least as accepting as my parents raised me.  Sometimes, that's the most you can ask.

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