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  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!




15 thoughts on “

  1. Wow! What an excellent post, Dorothy! Very profound and insightful, indeed. You have a wonderful future ahead, and I think your plans are amazing. It’s all about goals. Sort of the rudder of our lives. And, they keep us grounded. Just where we need to be. Good for you! I, too know how tough it can be to let go. But, also very liberating.

    Your Swallowtail offer is also amazing. Thanks so much. Enjoy every aspect of the artistic future that lies ahead. Wonderful!

  2. Dorothy,

    Congratulations on your retirement!! It sounds as though you have earned it, and are retiring at the “right” time (new owners, etc.).

    I’ve been an admirer (read “lurker”) of your blog for some time; this is my first comment. I envy the fact that your family lives close enough for frequent visits. Your granddaughters are adorable! Even more so in Grandma’s handknits.

    I’ve always wanted to have a Corgi, but we seem to gravitate toward larger breeds; right now we have two Chessie girls and love them dearly.

    Keep on blogging, please!


  3. Dorothy, I wish you the best for your retirement. You have stated many things in this post I would have liked to speak about and didn’t when I retired. Never really put my thoughts in words.

  4. Thank you for posting this! I am only 26, and have been striving to pay off college debts, and even took the credit card out of my wallet. It’s nice to know that what I am trying to do is actually possible!

    If only the students I take care of understood the plague that debt can cause. :/

    I appreciate the opportunity to get a swallowtail shawl from you, and I hope that you will continue to blog heartily even after retirement!

  5. I have to tell you that Grace cried when we told her you were retiring from the dental office. I think her whole little world has just been turned upside down in the last few months and knowing that you were leaving was just more than she was willing to take. She asked who would take care of the children at the office now that you AND mimi were gone…

    And since I saw mention of spinning 🙂 I’d love to get together sometime to indulge in my all-time favorite activity (and one I certainly don’t spend enough time doing).

    Here’s to changes, retirement, and enjoying the life you’ve worked SO hard for

    (and I 2nd Mary Hunt’s website – that was the only way we could afford Ava’s adoption w/o any debt!)


  6. As you probably know, parents frequentlu wonder if they did the best for their children when they were growing up.

    Any doubts your Mother and I had were removed by your retirement statement.

    Congratulations on your retirement.

  7. You and your husband were wise to adopt and stick to your savings and retirement program. When one is young you never think the day will come. I read Mary Hunt’s column in our paper faithfully, though I can’t say that we are as wise in our finances as you guys.

    Oh, the Swallowtail Shawl, another lace project of mine which hit a roadblock and is languishing.

  8. Hello,
    I had the end of December as your retirement date, but yipee, it is sooner, only about 3 weeks. What a great way to start your retirement with your granddaughters.
    Then to start the year with some lace knitting.

  9. Wishing you the very best in your retirement! It’s been a while since I lurked around your pages. Glad I stopped by to catch your news. Looking forward to continuing to follow your work.

  10. SO you should have plenty of time for learning to spin 🙂

    PS – don’t put me in the running for Swallowtail – I already have one – it should go to someone who hasn’t experienced the wonderfulness of this beautiful lace shawl!

  11. Congratulations on your retirement! It could have been me talking when you were listing all the things you wanted to do now that you’ll have more time for your crafts.

    I love reading your blog, just make sure you save time to keep it going!

  12. I’m sure you will enjoy your retirement.

    After some disastrous financial times in the last recession (1991), I too have paid all my debts and lived debt free for many years–and amassed a comfortable rainy day fund. That has been very reassuring now and it has allowed me to sleep at night. I know exactly how you feel.

  13. It’s just too bad that most people don’t learn this lesson. John and I are extremely fortunate in that our careers paid well, but even at lower incomes it’s possible to live within your means. The only debt we have is our mortgage, and much of that would be paid off if half the house hadn’t fallen off a few years ago, necessitating a little refinancing!
    Your offer for the Swallowtail is amazing! I’ve seen your lace work, I’m certain that it will be an heirloom piece!

  14. We share the same philosophy regarding debt. I think I’ll send that link to my kids, although I think they are pretty good about their spending except for frequent eating out, something we hardly ever do.

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