I have a lot in common with Epicurus, a Greek philosopher, whose position was that the body and soul die together. Therefore, I strive to live as good a life as possible, because I believe that’s all there is. What is important is this: whether a person believes in an immortal soul, or believes that when you die, that’s it, game over, how we live is what’s paramount. That’s what I strive for; to live a life that enriches the people in my life and me.
In my career as a union staffer, I built many working relationships and some friendships. I hope that when former co-workers ever think about me, they will remember me as capable and considerate. I hope they remember me as someone who liked a good laugh and worked hard; a person who was a good negotiator, a talented educator, and someone who cared about empowering union members to have a strong voice at work, in their union, and in the community.
I am an only child. Consequently, as to compensate for not having siblings, I have formed strong peer relationships. I’m not especially outgoing, so I don’t have a ton of friends. But I have enough, and the friendships I have maintained over the years are deep and strong. I have a best friend, and we’ve been best friends for 58 years (since our sophomore year in high school).
I am still in close contact with my roommate from graduate school. I have a relatively small group of friends in and around Portland, friendships I’ve made over the last 30 years. I hope and trust that their memories are positive and comprise lots of laughter and support. I hope they enjoyed my sense of humor and remember that we laughed a lot. If this is what they remember, then I have been the kind of friend I hoped to be.
Finally, there’s my immediate family; my wife, my two stepdaughters, my son-in-law, my granddaughters, and my grandson. My family “came together” when I got married for the first time at age 44. Thirty years later, my two stepdaughters are now in their 40’s. My granddaughters are 9 and 7, my grandson about to be 2 (he lives on the other side of the country, so I’ve got a lot of memories to build with him). I hope my stepdaughters remember that although I never tried to be their father, I’ve been their K.O.S. (Kindly Old Stepfather), been there for them when they wanted or needed me to be. And that’s what I hope they’ll remember. I hope my son-in-law remembers some of our discussions about music and life.
My older stepdaughter is a single mother, and she does a terrific job with her girls. However, as a single parent who owns and operates a restaurant in the Oregon wine country, she needs help. That’s the reason my wife and I moved to McMinnville – to help out with the girls.
They are the first human beings I’ve known since the day they were born, and theirs were the first (and only) diapers I changed. As they’ve grown up, we’ve shared holidays, birthdays, and “movie nights” (they stay over on Friday nights); we’ve been a large part of one another’s lives. As they grow, I am confident that we will have a treasure trove of memories to share, ones that will stay with them.
And when they think about me, I hope they’ll chuckle over some of the things we did. Finally, my wife, she’s my mid-life crisis, and we are almost to our 30th anniversary. We’ve had a lot of good times, some hard times, but we’ve always hung together, and that’s what we’ll remember about one another-I love her, and she knows that. The many laughs we’ve had, the adventures, the parenting, and grandparenting – these are the memories that I cherish.
– Edward from McMinnville, Oregon, a FAR customer who is finding purpose in this new stage of his life.
Edward writes for FAR and is also a customer. He is 73-year-old, born and raised in and around New York City. After college and a little graduate school, he took Horace Greeley’s advice and went west. Edward lived in several cities throughout California and currently resides in Oregon. He practiced law for a few years as part of a law collective doing what they called “people’s law,” but spent most of his career working as an internal organizer for the unions.
When Edward’s career ended with the unions, he was determined to become an advocate for older adults. He enrolled at Portland Community College studying Gerontology. He learned a lot about aging and how it applied to his own life experiences and my own aging process. Much of Edward’s writing is related to what he learned in his Gerontology studies.
* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Finance of America Reverse (LLC).