My 98 yr old Dad just passed. He worked 6 days/week for decades as a pharmacist/drug store owner in rural MN. He did his duty to provide for his family. The youngest of 7 kids (he was 46 when I was born), we became close when the only kid at home (age 10–18). The duty he felt to family (all 7 kids college bound), as church elder (Episcopal deacon), community leader, kept him busy until he retired in his late 60s. I think his sense of “what was possible” had greatly dimmed.
Unlike my Dad, it’s at 53 that the opinion of others mean less to me, more time for personal interests and relationships is a priority, and “stuff” (all of it- house, furniture, clothes, etc) feels cloying.
The rate of change in circumstances (jobs, housing, income, relationships, health, etc) is constant compared to my Dad’s day. It’s either learn from these transition periods or spin-out and life goes to crap. Change is constant. I get more graceful with each one. And I know my kids must learn these sometimes tough but, important life lessons. And they’ll be okay too.
My Dad is beside me as I move towards a life with less stuff, less stress, and more time for myself and family.