We were sad of getting old, it made us restless. It was just like a movie. It was just like a song, when we were young. -Adele
Jerry and Kim called for a ride shortly after the concert was over. If you've been outside the Palace of Auburn Hills after a show, you know that it's a gridlock similar to NYC rush hour. So I told them their best shot was to walk to where I was, rather than me trying to drive into an all-exit parking lot. So after they hoofed it halfway around the arena, Jerry and Kim slid into the backseat, ready to be back to their hotel.
After the great show that Adele had put on, both Jerry and Kim were on a bit of a high, the kind of high that only great musical performances can take you to. "Was it the best concert you two have ever attended?" I asked. Jerry raised the stakes a little with his answer; "Well, it's the best year we've ever had."
"I was so scared to face my fears
Nobody told me that you'd be here"
Jerry and Kim retired less than a year ago at the age of 58, 36 years after they married each other. "36 years is a long time, but we feel very lucky that we've made it to where we are now." The two of them were very open about the fact that, 23 years into their marriage, their relationship was on the rocks. Both Kim and Jerry were phased out of their jobs at the age of 45, and the strain of their professional lives spilled over into their personal lives. "There was a year and a half where I was certain that she was going to leave me." Jerry recalled. Kim chimed in; "...I'm pretty sure I felt the same thing about him at the time."
With a big chunk of their lives invested in a career that no longer existed, and no real obvious road map in front of them, Jerry and Kim started a small business to provide resources to the education system in southern Ohio. "Going out on our own on that business venture, together, really made me fall back in love with him," Kim confessed. The two of them hadn't worked together in the past, and the process of trying to start something from nothing, professionally, allowed them to see sides of each other they hadn't seen in 23 years of marriage together, to that point.
"'Cause I've been by myself all night long
Hoping you're someone I used to know"
So, after 13 years of growing the business they started together, Jerry and Kim sold the business, and dove headfirst into retirement. Jerry explained the manifesto for their new lifestage: "For this first year of retirement, we made a decision: Let's do everything we wanted to do. When the year's over, we'll reevaluate and see if we need to work a little more. But for now, let's live like we're embarrassingly in love." Here's what that looked like: Jerry bought a Harley Davidson, and in less than year, he and Kim had put more than 13,000 miles on it. In that time, the two of them had been to 23 different major concerts, as they've both always been music lovers. "Who have you seen in that year," I asked. Jerry quickly started to rattle off the list. "Let's see, we saw Stevie Wonder at Madison Square Garden. We saw Paul McCartney. We saw Billy Joel. We saw Journey and the Doobie Brothers. We saw Beyonce. We saw Kenny Chesney..." The list came so fast, and was so full, I could barely keep up.
Kim chimed in with my favorite comment of the night. "This last year, it's like Jerry and I have been dating again. On the bike, I have three jobs; I'm the navigator, I keep an eye out for good restaurants, and I'm responsible for flipping off the bad drivers. It's like we're back to being 21, and just loving every minute we get, whether it's burning up highway around the country, or singing along with songs we know."
I dropped the two of them off at their hotel. As we parted ways, Jerry left me some parting wisdom. Stepping out of the car, Jerry said, "Have a good night, but remember not to put off the good parts of life." From there, the two of them smiled at each other as they went through the revolving door at the lobby and inside for the night.
So I'll keep this short and sweet: Do me a favor and raise your glasses...to Jerry and Kim, to finding young love, no matter your age. Cheers!
We were sad of getting old, it made us restless. It was just like a movie. It was just like a song, when we were young.