Two-and-a-half years after retirement, I am beginning to see things a bit more clearly. When I retired, I had no idea what I was going to do; I only knew that I had to reduce my living expenses immediately, and that meant moving somewhere I could afford to live. A few months before retirement, I managed to get completely out of debt and furnish myself with new glasses, a bridge for my teeth, a pair of new hearing aids, and a new computer. I had enough extra money to make a state-to-state move. I just had to get rid of all my teacher stuff and everything else I didn’t want to take with me.
Unfortunately, my health was at a breaking point, and sure enough, almost exactly two months after retirement, I found myself in a hospital with not one, but two pulmonary embolisms (one in each lung), struggling to breathe. I had just packed up most of my things for a move. I went into the hospital two days before my official moving day.
My family, God love them, took over the move. They finished packing for me, and dumped my stuff into a place I’d secured earlier in the little South Dakota town where my parents and a few other family members live. I was very glad to have chosen to move to a place near family, so that I could recuperate from the embolisms. (You have no idea how tired you can get when your body is not getting enough oxygen!)
I had no idea what I was going to do next, but I knew I couldn’t work for a while, that I needed to recover and lose some weight to feel better. I hoped that I would gain back enough energy to make a little money here and there with writing or tutoring. My new place was beautiful and I loved it, but I realized that I couldn’t really afford it on my retirement income, so nearly a year later, I moved again to a much smaller and cheaper place, where I was able to keep from going into debt again.
Now, I am very close to finishing one whole year of writing two blogs, and from that experience, I am confident that I can write just about anything on demand. A little nonfiction children’s book that I wrote will be published soon, and I’m in the process of writing another one for the same publishing house. The major novel I’ve been working on for over seven years is about to be overhauled and written from a completely different perspective. I’ve also had a few small tutoring jobs, which help to keep the wolf from the door.
I just turned 61 in December, and when I’m 62, I plan to ask for my Social Security benefit. I wanted to wait until later so I could get more, but I just realized that I don’t want to pinch pennies quite as hard as I have been. Social Security will double my income. When that income starts, I will then have a window of opportunity to make some changes in my life Since writing is something that can be done anywhere, especially nowadays with the Internet, I have the option of living anywhere I wish, as long as it is affordable. I have a chance to choose the climate and the lifestyle I’d like to live in and the people with whom I wish to be surrounded.
Although I will still have some restrictions in the form of finances and less than optimum health, I will have more of a choice, this time, than at any other time in my life. Now it’s important for me to decide what I want in life. Although I reserve the right to make further changes, here is my list.
1. I want an opportunity to serve God, individually and with others.
2. I want to write, and if possible, to make money from my writing.
3. I want the opportunity to live consciously and to participate in a loving relationship.
4. I want to live in a warm place.
5. I want to regain my health and strength.
Now that I have made my wish list, it’s time for me to find a way to make all these wonderful things happen. Wish me well! 🙂