Money Matters (May 2017)
By Chuck Dudley
WOW, 45 YEARS NOW!
My Paragould High School Class of 1972 came together for the 6th time since our graduation in May 1972.
We never fail to have a good time, and most said this was the best ever. I think I agree with that assessment. It’s a caring, warm group of people who genuinely look forward to seeing each other. Probably the best reason is our ages are now in the 62-63 range, I’m sure. We are closer to the end than the beginning, truth be told…………..
Yet, as with most things in life, how you deal with them (aging perhaps) is directly proportionate to the enjoyment you get. For instance, our class has its own’ middle aged garage band’ made up of class members and one teacher. That’s pretty unique! Yes, I’m in the band……….We have fun playing for our class members and they really enjoy dancing, singing and just having a great time. This is what it’s all about.
People working together for a common goal. And having the time of their lives.
As with any group of people, you have a diversity of state of health, economic background, and stage of working life.
Many were in good health. Many were not. There were a lot of joint replacements. Some have weight issues. Several have had strokes.
While we were there, one class member’s mother in law passed away, and another’s son was involved in a wrong way driver incident (he walked away with a few stitches and bumps and bruises…..and a totaled car). This happens with more frequency.
Some folks drink and smoke a lot. Others are teetotalers.
We have some workout warriors, yoga practicers, and 5k racers.
Others have no interest in exercising. Mostly gray hair and balding on the guys……….the ladies looked real nice!!!
Hard to know about economic status. Most don’t, and shouldn’t, talk about it. It’s more personal. Yet in a group like this you will have some high net worth people and some folks looking at Medicaid. They will hope that Social Security is there for them to have a retirement.
No matter, we loved them all for who they are, and not for their place in the hierarchy.
WHAT MY WISH IS FOR THESE FRIENDS
First, I hope they found a professional financial services person in their past that helped them plan for these coming years. I want them to have time and resources to do the things that make them happy. Travel, fishing, reading, grandkids………..whatever is their pleasure.
Second, I wish them good health, both fiscally and in their living. We are NOT that old, and there are strategies for helping people retire with more money. Learning to use Social Security wisely is on the list too.
Third, always remember where you came from. We learned a lot of lessons from our once little town of 9,500 when we were growing up. I think most do. We received a very good education with emphasis on reading and learning the basics. Most of us, to a person, appreciate the teachers we had, and their attention to the important things in education. Especially learning how to write and understand. And for teaching us to think on our own two feet, and not let others persuade us differently.
Fourth, is to remember the values taught to us by our parents and the supporting people in our town. Being kind to others, help others when they are down on their luck, lift people up, be there when needed.
Fifth, is to be a good role model for the younger generations. Our kids and grandkids. People are always watching you, watching how you handle situations. We should take the lessons we have learned and pass them on to younger folks in hopes that they might avoid some of the heartaches we had to suffer.
Finally, and most importantly, to take care of ourselves in all the manners mentioned above so we can gather again in 5 years for our 50th reunion. I suspect many things will change in the next 5 years, but if we pay attention to the details our lives and stay healthy, and God willing, we will meet again.
I do understand that not everyone has a great experience at reunions. Some classes are close, some are not. It’s just the way it is. We are fortunate and we are really not going to wonder why. We are just going to forge ahead and look forward to meeting again one day.
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