Retirement or just the next phase?
I hit that magic age where no employer wants to commit to a real honest-to-goodness job. That’s ok; I knew it was coming, most of my friends are older, and I have watched this phenomenon play out year after year.
There have been unexpected occurrences starting in 2020.
Before Covid was a thing, I managed to catch it from a masseuse. She was from China and spoke little to no English, not that it mattered. This was not my first time in this business. While there was a language barrier, she managed to know where it hurt and was able to manipulate the fascia or what have you in such a way to stop the muscle spasms.
It was 68 degrees in the room, and she was sweating profusely. I remember thinking, she must be working hard. I better tip her extra.
Three days later, I was in my doctor’s office with a sore throat, breathing issues, and a fever. At this stage of the game, the virus was not transmissible from humans to humans. It was not airborne and was only in Wuhan near the wet market.
We were assured by the CDC and the WHO not to worry. Pelosi was taking photo ops in China town along with its population, and the head of the health department in NYC was among the Chinese folks in NY, telling the world it was safe to go amongst them and…enjoy Chinese New Year’s Celebrations.
Words Matter and they all lied to us. While they might have given a get out of jail free card to Big Pharma, those that lied to us should be held accountable. They knew they were lying.
Backing up in history, about 30 years, I was in a head-on collision with an 84-year-old man who was drunk. I wrote the story as a memoir for the Anthology my writer’s group put together.
I wrote it as a cautionary tale. I will put a link to the Anthology for those of you interested in such stories. My story is the very last one in the book. The Roads We Take
That fateful day changed my life. I was forced to re-invent myself. The impact had a combined velocity of 110 mph.
There is a reason football players make the big bucks. The abuse they put their bodies through has a cumulative effect, and they will pay for it later in life. Much like every injury, broken arm, or leg you might have had will cause a twinge of pain during a weather change, imagine your entire skeleton as if it were on fire.
No, there were no grand settlements. One of my lawyer friends told me he could make me a rich man. The persons who were culpable had the same insurance company. They would not have paid the price for what she enabled, and he did. He was obviously well known in that town, the cop protected him, only wrote him up for left of center.
I heard the argument between him and his wife. There was only a thin curtain that separated the two of us. “You promised me that you would not drink and drive if I got you that new car!”
“Well, we were out of beer and it was halftime. I was just going to Kroger.”
Pffft! Every day, over thirty years later I pay for his lack of judgment and her enabling him. I am certainly not alone.
Life goes on; you do the best you can. Hence the massages and chiropractors and the occasional doctor who remarks while looking at the x-rays…’I would hate to be in your body.’
It could be worse; I know it, so I press on. Hence retirement.
Many, too many, in fact, have given up. They have taken the government up on whatever entitlements they can get and just survive.
It is always a red flag to me when I speak with a friend, and they ask have I seen this or that on TV?
I don’t watch TV. I know how that sounds, but to me, it is noise. Those that you see on the screen cannot relate to you or me for the most part.
If it were not for writers, many would be as vapid as the force that makes balloons rise, hot air. Don’t believe me, find some on Twitter and read the garbage that they spew. From their ivory towers and gated communities, they scream, “let them eat cake.” ‘Cake was a metaphor for the scraps that fell off the table that the dogs got.’
With few exceptions, there are not many I would like to meet. Introduce me to the writers; those are the geniuses.
You might have guessed by now that I had to re-invent myself once again.
I went from an engineer to computer support to the management of teams of folks working in the IT field. Back when I started, it was Data Processing, that tells you a little.
Today I am winding down my company www.timedok.com. The company serves many but mainly takes care of municipalities. All good things must end. The machines I sell and service are used less and less. The pandemic has expedited the process. The supply chain failure by this administration have not helped.
Currently, I am in the middle of writing a science fiction novel which you will hear more about if you follow me.
Why not just retire, you might ask?
One of the most repeated failures by retirees is they don’t plan for what they will do after the job. I cannot speak for women, but as a man, I can tell you that most of us identify with what we do for a living. Most of us take pride in what we do, and we do the best we can.
Suddenly you find your pay has reached some magical number that a bean counter has decided is too much. Around your company’s fiscal year end, your boss is given his budget. He or she is forced to let someone go to raise your salary or find someone less expensive than you, and keep as many employees as he or she can.
Usually, that happens long before you reach retirement age. Then what?
I started this blog at a certain age nobody wants you. It is not because of age discrimination per se but they know you were probably making a salary that would exceed what they could or are willing to afford. The application, which is a legal document, most of the time asked what your salary was.
If you didn’t plan for retirement both financially and with an idea of how you will occupy your time, what do you do?
The house you paid for undoubtedly you will find yourself taxed out of.
Thanks to the failures of the government of California, my taxes have exceeded what the original house payment was, and there are no signs of the taxes going down. In fact, if I were attempting to live off social security, the taxes would take most of it.
Why California? There seems to be a mass exodus from the west, because of the cost of living and taxes. Those from the West who voted for the policies which have destroyed their state are heading East. They most probably will not have figured out that their ideology, and the way they vote is why they are having to find jobs back East.
Government is good at taking what’s not theirs. It becomes easy to understand why there are those who learn how to take advantage of the system and live on whatever handouts they can get, including housing.
It is a form of socialism but shhh, the right is not aware of it yet. They still think if Bernie is not in office, we are fine.
The re-invention of myself is nothing unique. I see retired people in the hardware store earning whatever the government will allow them to earn without subtracting that amount from their (entitlements.) I was offered such a job not long ago. I chuckled at that offer and left with my purchases to play plumber at my home.
With this book I am working on, do I expect it to make me millions? No, I am, in fact, a realist. One of the largest issues with getting published today is that everyone thinks they can write.
These people range from school-age kids to retired people who have a story to tell. Once they create their tomb, they send it off to agents, where it sits in what is known as a slush pile.
The slush pile of want to be authors sits for days, weeks, or months until either they have time to sift through it or they hire their teenage child to sift through the thousands of entries, while he or she plays games on their phone.
No, I don’t expect the weeks to months I have invested in this project to make me rich. This project, much like learning to 3d print, or teaching myself python, is simply a transitionary device from working to retirement. Everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning, or they die.
You can be old and have a terminal illness, and still have a quality of life while you are sucking in air. Don’t waste it.
If you want to understand why writing isn’t a get-rich scheme, look no further than Kindle Unlimited. Ten dollars a month to Jeff Bezos and read all you want. That book that you might have spent a year of your life creating is basically free to anyone that subscribes to KU.
Unlike those books in Barns and Noble that sell for real dollars, e-books are worthless. Services like his and others have programmed the reading public to believe that your efforts should be free to them.
I know of an author who spent 35 years creating one novel. No, I don’t think writing a book is a get-rich scheme unless you are a tv personality and can hype your book multiple times a day.
Writing the perfect novel, is only a small part of the puzzle. In the future we will be examining what those other parts might be, and how to pull them off without an agent.
Make sure you hit that follow button.