One of the things I’ve been coming to terms with the past
couple of weeks is letting go. I
suppose everyone who has worked at a job for as long as I have (over 24 years)
feels a certain sense of ownership.
In my case it was strengthened by the fact that the original doc and I
literally opened the doors together.
I was with him the first day he started seeing patients in this
office. I’ve seen the practice
grow from only having about 20 patients to having over 3,000. During that time I’ve been given a great
deal of say in how the practice has been developed and have had a great deal of
responsibility. When the practice
sold 10 years ago, the new doc was even more accepting of my involvement and
made me feel like a real partner.
With the new ownership all of that has changed. It’s probably fortuitous that my plans
for retirement have coincided with the change. I’m not sure I could have stayed on otherwise. But I’m also having to grasp the fact
that the practice I’m leaving is not the practice I’ve spent 24 years building
up. That’s really hard, but I
think I’m coming to accept it. I
have to, because I can’t change it.
But accepting it is making my last few days a little easier. I’m teaching as much as I can, but what
the new ownership has the employees do with that is their decision and one that
the practice will have to live with.
I can leave with my head held high knowing that I did all I could to
make the practice successful.
I’m now looking forward to a whole new chapter of my
life. My emphasis will be totally
altered – from business/medical oriented to an opportunity to indulge in
artistic endeavors. I’m looking
forward to concentrating more on my quilting. I have a competition quilt that I would like to finish in
2010, along with an embroidered quilt for Abby. Quilts for the girls’ bedroom are on the agenda and I would
like to be more proactive in either altering knitting patterns to suit me more
or designing my own. I hope to
have more time to exercise and do yoga.
Maggie and I have started agility training and I look forward to the day
when we can compete. I’d like to
take up some new interests – improve my photography skills and learn to use my
camera and maybe even eventually dabble in spinning. And of course, continue on with my scrapbooking. Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about all of the possibilities.
A lot of people have asked how we can afford to retire so
“young”. I’ll get on my soapbox a
little, but bear with me and there will be a payoff at the end – I
promise. A lot of that has to do
with my husband’s defined pension plan.
He was offered a cash bonus for early retirement at age 55 and jumped at
it. But we wouldn’t have even been
able to afford that if we hadn’t run across Mary Hunt many years ago. Mary has a website called
debtproofliving.com. I highly
recommend it. Her philosophy is to
give away 10% of your income, save 10% and live on 80%. She calls this “living below your
means”. The central tool in all of
this is to carry no debt. We
began living that lifestyle. We
used our credit card so we could earn air miles, but we paid it off every
month. We made it a goal to pay
off all of our debts except our mortgage (and we’re working on paying that off
early) and not to go into new debt for anything. If we couldn’t afford it, we did without or waited until we
had the money.
You might think this would cramp our lifestyle, but in
contrast we felt very liberated.
When you jump off the great American consumer machine you feel such
freedom. You no longer have to
“have it all”. I like Mary’s
quote, “Because I live frugally doesn’t mean I don’t spend
money. It means I spend money thoughtfully and with a sense of discipline and
purpose. As my life is blessed and my income increases, 80 percent increases as
well.” We’ve learned to manage our
money instead of letting it manage us. When the recession came and we watched our investments
tumble, we felt a little concern, but not panic. In fact, we’ve decided to live off hubby’s retirement and
leave mine to sit for a few years and gain back some of the losses. One of the biggest impacts on our life
with being debt free is that we have choices. We choose where our money will go, knowing that it is
not a bottomless well! When your
money is going to pay high interest rates on credit cards, you can’t
choose. The bank or credit card
company chooses for you. And as of
now, they can choose to jack up your interest rate at any time and for any
reason! That is bondage!!
Ok, so I told you that if you managed to
wade through my lecture (and a post with no knitting content and no pictures),
there would be a payoff at the end.
To celebrate my retirement, I’ve decided to do my very first giveaway! Leave me a comment and you’ll go into a
drawing for a Swallowtail Shawl, made in your choice of color. All comments made from now until my
retirement date of December 10th are eligible (except in all
fairness I probably have to disqualify any family members – but they can
contact me and I’ll do a shawl for them anyway!). Each comment will be numbered and I will use a random
number generator to choose. Just
be forewarned that the knitting will have to wait until January. I plan on spending the first three
weeks of my retirement relaxing and playing with my granddaughters!