Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Column from Sunday's Paper

Life comes in stages, and sometimes the transitions can be rocky. I think the trick is to think about who you are and where you want to be.

Recently, while looking back over 30 years of old journals, I noticed that I’d written time and again that I wanted to retire by age 59. 

I'm not sure why that number resonated with me, but I'm guessing it stems from the fact that both my dad and granddad died young. 

One thing I’ve learned in my life is that there’s power in intention.

I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of things had to fall into place in order to make my intention of retiring at 59 become reality. I often say that life is a gift, and this was just one more example.

I know it sounds all “new-age'y”, and perhaps goofy to some folks, but it was almost as if the Universe conspired to make it happen. 

It's much too complicated to cover here, and I doubt any of you would be interested in the details, but it happened, and I haven't looked back.

During this stage of my life, I write. It’s something I love, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do it.

All this stuff was percolating in my head today as I sat across from a Social Security administrator. I'll be 62 in January, so I signed up. I could have done the paperwork online, but it's such a milestone that I wanted to do it in person.

Usually when one thinks of dealing with the government, they cringe, but I must say today was painless.

I walked in, took a number and sat until they called my name. A security guard came over and chatted with me pleasantly while I waited. It seems he was in the Signal Corps in the Army too.

A few minutes later, my name came over the intercom and I walked back. Mandy, a young woman in her 20s, greeted me and we chatted for a while.

She recognized my face, but she couldn't place me. I helped her out by telling her I wrote for the Daily Mountain Eagle in Sunday’s Lifestyle section, and she smiled broadly.

She and the other folks there were very helpful. Mandy took all my information and after about 15 minutes, I was out the door and on my way. I must say that it feels a little strange shifting gears for the next stage of my life. I spent so many years on the grindstone. For the last five years I was employed, I was on call two weeks of every month. 

There were many nights during that time that we were startled awake by a jangling phone or a chirping Blackberry pager. 

Those calls almost always involved grueling hours on the telephone coordinating repairmen, locating and shipping parts and listening to screaming managers who were upset that their computers were down.

I have to say, I don't miss that. The holiday season these last two years have been unmolested by ailing computers.

But at each stage of life, new challenges rise up to take the place of old ones. The loss of loved ones, the need to be more mindful of your money, and of course, staying healthy.

The journal entry and life goal entries I've been writing these last few years involve being healthy, happy and seeing the world. 

I plan to travel using my hard-earned money that the government’s been holding on to for the last 40 years.


  1. I liked this column.

    Like you, I have absolutely no regrets about retiring. I still work part-time jobs but doing things I love.

    A return to writing for a newspaper is one of them! Feature stories. I feel like I've died and gone to heaven.

    Enjoy your travels! Susan

  2. You don't look a day over 50! :-)

    I do hope you get to travel far and wide! Take care

  3. I also remember a very pleasant time signing up for social security. Surprised me. I wondered why...


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