“You are too young to retire.”
I never anticipated hearing this statement as often as I did after retiring at age 50.
After 23 years as a criminal investigator with the federal government and 28 years in the law enforcement profession, I was ready to do something else. I enjoyed my career, my employer, my colleagues, but I was just ready to do something else.
And, I was thinking about time.
I have thought a lot about time. Perhaps this is something we all do as we age.
Time is equal for everyone. And as I get older, I appreciate that more.
I think about a cartoon that I had hung in my old office as a reminder of this. It depicts three phases of a man’s life. In the first, the young man is chasing money. In the second, he is older, has money in his hands, but is still chasing more. And in the last, he is an old man now. His hands are full of money, but he has come to the end of his trail.
When is it enough?
At some point in life, you need to enjoy what you worked hard for.
For me, I had other passions like teaching, training, traveling.
Sure, I could have waited another 5 or 10 years, but why?
It did not make sense to me to put off my other passions until later in life and have less time to enjoy them. I have always tried to find balance in my life. And this should be no different.
When I hear people complain they do not have enough time, they are really saying they have other priorities.
The best way to manage time is to manage your priorities.
- Brian Townsend, Eagle 6 Training
Talk to your kids.
Talk to your kids about drugs.
When your kids are young, you are their world. They are learning from the things you say and the things you do. Be a role model and take advantage of this time to give them information they can grow with.
Do not treat them like they are dumb or will not understand. Talk age-appropriate like you would with any other lesson, and they will probably understand. They know more than you think.
Do not avoid tough conversations because you are uncomfortable.
Find teachable moments.
And not all teachable moments have to be about drugs. Talk about making good choices. Maybe it is related to something that happened at school, or maybe it is something at home. Talk about choices and consequences.
Be specific whenever you can. “Drugs are bad” does not mean a lot. “Drugs can alter your brain” does mean something.
As they grow, they will continue to learn from what they see or experience. When they share things, find the lessons. When you listen, when you care, they will share more. Building communication means building a relationship. Before you know it, you will realize you are still their mentor.
Get to know their friends. Their friends will have an incredible impact on their decisions. Their friends will be influential. Offer your house as a meeting spot and meet every friend and offer to meet their parents.
Talk to them as they get older and have more experiences and potentially, knowledge of drug use. Even if you have never said anything before, it is not too late to start. I have spoken to a lot of parents of teenagers who think it is too late to have these conversations.
It is not too late. Start. At least take the first step.
Listening to your kids will go a long way to establishing trust with them. The more they trust you, the more likely they will tell you things and the more opportunities you will have to build a strong bond with them.
Many people turn to drugs to cope, especially when they do not think they have anything or anyone else to turn to. You can be that person for them.
Drug use is not as normal as many will tell you. Not everyone does it. We have been conditioned to think this is somewhat of a rite of passage; something everyone does at some point in their lives, usually in their teenage years. It is not. It is not “normal” to use drugs.
Do not wait until it is too late. Educate yourself now. There are a lot of good resources on the internet, like www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov, www.justthinktwice.gov, and www.campusdrugprevention.gov.
And finally, do not be afraid to seek professional help. Untreated mental health can lead to drug use. It is ok if your kid needs to talk to a mental health professional. There is no stigma to this, do not let the stigma begin. Stop caring about what your Facebook friends will think.
- Brian Townsend, Eagle 6 Training