This classic Beatles tune tells the poignant story of a girl leaving her parents' home and striking out on her own. The chorus has a call and response feature with the refrain, “She’s leaving home.” There are many interpretations to this particular song, but I like the simplest, that a young person has reached the age when it’s time to leave the nest.
And so it was, that the mermaid and I helped the littlest mermaid out of the bay and into her own cove last week. Arranging for movers, furniture and bedding deliveries, and dealing with building supers, and it all finally happened. And at the end of the day, we stared at each other and realized she was in her own place. Like many our age, we’re truly empty nesters, and wondering what next?
Just as many of our neighbors, we had done our job and given the little one wings. Our roles had changed dramatically from the days we were changing diapers and losing sleep. And now we were firmly in a different phase of life. Of course, we didn’t feel old, we just felt different. And as we talked with others our age, it seems the story is somewhat the same.
Last week’s Rockapulco Gold Music Festival was a great success in my opinion. Not because the labels barely stayed on the cans, but because it drew a large crowd to the new “event space” (read – parking lot!) on Beach Channel Drive. The food was delicious, and I am told healthy (the beer must have been strong for me to eat healthy!); the views were spectacular, and some say even better than the Wharf (don’t tell the Wharf!). But it was the conversations that I found so extremely interesting. More than once I had discussions with friends about retiring, selling their houses, being a snowbird or just plain wondering what the hell do they do now at this stage in life. What should they do? Volunteer? Learn guitar? Walk NYC? They asked how I transitioned, and I told each and every one that I don’t know, I just did. That it seems like every day is filled up with fun and interesting things to do. I think the trick is really to try to stay healthy for as long as you can.
Back to the song. "She is Leaving Home," the refrain changes to “She is Having Fun” with the response being that Fun is the one thing that money can’t buy. And so it is with all those little guppies of ours having fun, that so should we. Those of you who retired or are about to retire and have done your job raising families; taking care of our parents; paying all those damn bills; should now just have some fun and do the things that you always wanted to. Like creating a Rockaway beer, holding a festival, or just walking around Manhattan.
One thing we should not be, is like the couple in the Beatles song, wondering what did we do wrong. On the contrary, let me tell you now – you did all the right things, and everything is as it should be. The kids are growing up, the world will be better because of them, and we now have an opportunity to enjoy the sweetest of times – what was once referred to as the Golden Years, with the promise that they actually will be Gold, as in Rockapulco Gold baby. And if you heard the theme song at the festival, it sums it all up. “If you drink that beer boy, you’ll never grow old, you’ll never grow old!!”