By Craig Hastings
I’m sixty-four years old so I guess it’s only a natural question to ask me in a conversation about not much. The question is; “So Craig, where do you see yourself in the next ten years?” “Do you think you’ll retire soon and move somewhere warm or at least to a state not coming apart at the seams?” Even just two or three years ago I’d respond with something centered around what decisions my sons might make about their own whereabouts might be as they mature on to grown men and set their permanent careers in motion. I’m rethinking this now, two years later. I think there are a couple of things wrong with me making my future plans based on my son’s future plans. First, why would either of my boys want their dad following them from place to place as they try to build and grow their own lives? I guess I was assuming that they might still need me close by to do the dad things I’ve done forever for them. They won’t and I’m just now beginning to understand this. Jeez, I moved away from home two weeks after I graduated from High School and neither of my parents hovered over me to make sure I didn’t crash and burn. And I’m glad they didn’t. Secondly, like I said in my opening, I’m sixty-four, two-thirds of my life is over, maybe I should come up with a plan that works best for me. In a couple of years both boys might be gone and I may be living in this big house alone. So maybe I should decide how I would like for this short time we have on earth to play out for me, maybe?
Moving somewhere warm year round is appealing to me but, with everything that has gone on in America these past two years I think right now that Tuscola, Illinois just might be the best place in America to be living my life. I don’t have enough side gigs to retire right now. I’d be bored out of my mind if I was waking up each morning trying to find enough to do each day, all day. “Why don’t you buy a small home somewhere south and live there through the cold Illinois winter months?” I won’t do that because I have stuff. Too much stuff to have in two places so far apart. I like to piddle around and fix things that don’t work anymore or just need refreshening. To accomplish this I need a lot of tools and some of those tools are one off tools I’ve improvised from another tool. Then I have my fifty year collection of bits, bobbles, nuts, screws, washers, and bolts that I could never duplicate even close to having doubles. For now I still have two cats in the house that need me along with my oldest son’s chinchilla that I pretty much care for each day. Chinchillas can live up to twenty years and if Payton doesn’t take him with him when he moves out I’ll be stuck with a third animal that needs food, water, and clean bedding! I won’t even get into the collector cars I own that would need to be sold if I were to move. And right now at this point in my life selling out of the car craze is not an option for me. I’m still very much into gas and oil operated V8 engines.
So without any doubt I will not transport these guys back and forth between two homes nor will I just give them away just so I can stay warm for the cold ninety days of Illinois’ winters. No, I think my future is here in Tuscola as of today. If I move to a warmer climate it will be a permanent move and my first and last relocation. I’ve lived in Tuscola for my entire life. I’ve been to many different states and I’ve seen many things I couldn’t see had I never traveled outside of Illinois. I’ve played hard and worked hard most of my life. Well the playing hard ended about twenty-five years ago and probably needed too. It was fun while it ran its course but I don’t miss it. It takes a toll on a body. I should probably let the rest of my life do the same; run its course and hang on for the ride. Whatever it brings it brings and I’ll just roll with it. My boys will figure their own lives out without me being close by to coach them along. I’m finally, finally, just now able to let go of just a little bit of my boys being boys and now being men that don’t need me so much anymore. It sucks and it hurts a little but it’s all part of life coming full circle I guess. So tonight I’m thinking; Tuscola it is!