Fortune Cookies 

I hardly ever open fortune cookies. I don’t like the way they taste, so I’m not interested in eating them, and I couldn’t care less for the piece of paper stuffed inside of it. I opened a fortune cookie the other day and ate it. I read the fortune too. It said, “A determined heart scares away many problems.” It’s been a while since I’ve caught you up on our journey, but not without excuse. Twelve days before Christmas and we’re remodeling our kitchen… why? Because. That’s why. I’m determined to finish it before Christmas, but it doesn’t look promising that we will because we’ve run into many problems, none of which seem scared by the way.

So anyway, I have an interview typed out for the boy. At the end of this post are the questions that I’m planning on asking him. He already has the questions so he has time to think about his answers. I’ll post the interview for my next blog entry.By the way, leave comments if there are any questions you might want me to ask him.

This whole Life Begins at 48 thing affects his plans for college. I’m encouraging him to choose Rutgers because he could earn a degree from an excellent school at a fraction of typical college costs, (you know… in-state tuition and all), but I’m leaving him with little choice; I’ll explain in a sec. I know, I know. He’s thirteen. What the hell am I talking about, right? I’m having serious discussions about college choice with my thirteen-year old son? Well, yeah, that’s kind of what this is all about–planning out the next seven-and-a-half years, and it involves the lot of us.

He wasn’t quite 13 yet in this pic


You might say this is unfair to him; that his dreams should be what my Lucy and I are striving for; that for us to sell our house, ship off to law school in NYC or DC, and thereby limit his choices for his college career is selfish. Honestly, I can’t really argue with that. The interview questions I have for him are essentially along those lines. I’m looking forward to hearing his honest thoughts on it.

So how does Life Begins at 48 hinder his college choices? In a word, money. I mentioned this briefly in my second blog post , describing how the plan is to retire after twenty years of service, instead of twenty-five. That leaves us with a reduced pension. That, in turn, limits what we can afford to spend on college for our kiddos. Toss in my law school tuition, and that pretty much leaves zilch. On the flip side, I could stay at work for twenty-five years, and by the time I retire from law enforcement both of my kiddos will have graduated from college, not to mention we’d be more equipped to pay for that education. Seems like a no-brainer, amirite? But no. I’m gonna do it the hard way. And now you see how this little plan of ours will have an effect on our youngins.

Not that I would know from experience, having never shipped off to college myself, but I imagine not having his childhood house to come home to during holiday breaks might be another sucky byproduct of Life Begins at 48 for him. Nobody promised anything would be easy, ya?

Hey, Problems… you scared yet?

The boy’s a killer in school, a wiz trumpet player, and a track and field athlete. He’s so much better than I was when I was thirteen. He’s actually looking forward to high school so he can get into some honors and AP classes. He’s been marching with the high school marching band since he’s been in seventh grade, and he knows what it is to be a champion. He made the All-Shore Intermediate Band this year also. There looks to be at least some possibility of scholarship awards in his future, so how much Life Begins at 48 actually affects his college prospects remains to be seen.

This was on my 40th birthday. My Lucy and my boy ran a five mile leg in a relay marathon with me.


But here’s the thing. I’m not aiming to study law, and then sit on my butt and pat myself on the back. I want to go to back to work after law school. So even if he ends up with some obscene amount of student-loan debt, I’ll eventually be earning an income again, and I’ll be able help him unbury himself from any student debt he might accrue. As crazy as all of this may seem, in the end we’re not really leaving our little brats high and dry.


Handsome boy playing the trumpet with the worship team in church.


So, the kid is awesome and he deserves everything we can give him. But Lucy and Ricky have plans, and he’s just gonna have to deal with it. To be fair, I am the primary force behind Life Begins at 48, so if everything turns out to be a total disaster because of it, it’s mostly on me. I’m not worried though. A determined heart scares away many problems. I got that from a Chinese fortune cookie.

Before I share what questions I’m planning on asking him, I want to share with you another iconic duo that applies to one of my family relationships – Red and Eric Forman. Seriously, I can’t tell you how much of a dumbass my son can be. And my son, like Eric Forman, gets the biggest kick out my exasperation. Watch “That 70’s Show” and take note of how Red and Eric interact. That’s precisely how things are between me and my son. This may possibly be my biggest failure as his father. But St. Peter says, “Love covers a multitude of sins”, and  I love him more than words can describe. I think it’s something we both rather enjoy anyway. From henceforth, insofar as Life Begins at 48 blog is concerned, the boy will be known as “Forman.”


Here are the questions I’ve asked Forman to think about. Tune in to the next post for his answers.

Do you know what life begins at 48 is all about? 


Does any of life begins at 48 make you nervous, or uncertain? 


Do you find any of it exciting or inspiring? 


Do you think it would be better if I wait until I’m 53 to go to law school? I would have a full retirement pension, and you and your sister would both be finished with college. 


What do you think of our plan to move to NYC, or maybe Washington DC for three years while I go to law school? 


If we accomplish our life begins at 48 plan, that means that when you and Ryan come home for the holidays, and when you finish college, you won’t be coming home to the house you grew up in, but you’ll be coming home instead to a small apartment in the city, where you’ll probably be sleeping on a pull-out sofa in the living room. What are your thoughts about that? 


Life begins at 48 means sacrifices for all, including your choice of college. We’ve talked about how I think you should go to Rutgers because of the quality of education and the cost of attending a public institution with in-state tuition. If we postpone our life begins at 48 plan and change it to life begins at 53 when I retire, we would probably be in a better position to help pay for college, thereby expanding your college options. Ultimately, you can go to whatever college you choose, but I will be limited in helping you pay for it. I know you’re only in 8th grade, but you do understand why we’re thinking about these things now. How do you feel about a life plan that potentially limits your choices in which college to attend? 


Do you have any resentment towards me or your mom for wanting to do something like this? 


This is a pretty unorthodox plan for 40-something parents of college-age kids. Do you see any value in it? 


Do you think we’ll actually be able to pull life-begins-at-48 off? And if we do, do you think it’ll end up being a good thing, or do you think we’ll find that we would have been better off taking a more traditional road in life? 


Any last thoughts? 

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