Time For A New Story

Isn't he just handsome? Even if he is a bit impatient with me taking his picture.

Isn’t my husband just handsome? Even if he is a bit impatient with me taking his picture.

As May drew to a close, it became apparent to me that I needed to tell myself a new story. I need a story that doesn’t involve the workplace, doing taxes, being a CPA, or any of the other ways that I’ve defined myself for these many, many years.

I’m proud of my career accomplishments and the hard work I’ve put into being the best I can, becoming an authority in my field, and being a recognized name “out there”. I’ve dedicated myself to learning all I could about corporate state income taxes, showing up when I was needed, being a diligent employee and mentoring those around me.

But that time has come to an end. For the rest of this year, I am on sabbatical and planning what I want to do with my writing and photography as well as seeing that new grandson of mine.

Yes, that is a cannonball in the bricks

Yes, that is a cannonball in the bricks in Yorktown, Virginia

I received one very nice offer and it was near my daughter. It didn’t pay much for relocation though and after examining many alternatives, my favorite boy toy and I decided that we didn’t want to pay for a move out of our own pockets. We will at some point move closer to her, but not this year. I don’t want to work all those hours and still be in the hole financially.

Additionally, if I want to pursue my creative ventures, I need my life to be settled. My favorite boy toy and I have moved 13 times and lived in 8 states. We lose about two years of our life each time we move, from having to fix up yet another house to finding new doctors, tradesmen, and where to go to do things (have fun). By the time we’re ready to move, we’ll also be ready to downsize and curtail our lifestyle. That will not happen for a while yet.

If we hadn’t moved so much – and lost our home equity several times – I’d have been more receptive. The company was good and I really liked the people I’d be working with. That made it hard to walk away from the offer and I really stressed out over it. I’m still stressed and fearful about how we will do with me leaving the workplace, but I believe this is the right decision for this time.

This has been a long time in coming.

Back in 2004, I was part of an on-line forum for creatives called “Planet Sark”, which evolved into this website here. When I signed up, I was encouraged to consider my dreams and write them down, which I did in the forum and in my journal.

In 2011, I dug them out, tweaked them slightly, and put together a small photo album to remind myself of what they were:

  • Dream #1 – make a living from my diaries and photography
  • Dream #2 – to have financial security before I turned 60
  • Dream #3 – to live near our daughter
  • Dream #4 – to own, without debt, a secluded private home that backs up on a nature conservancy
  • Dream #5 – to lose weight and improve my health
  • Dream #6 – to retire early and do the things I want
  • Dream #7 – to relax, sniff the fresh air, and enjoy my life

I further stated:

  • I believe each one will be answered
  • They are still alive

Earlier this year, I felt strongly about getting these out and looking at them again, which I hadn’t done for quite a while. I found:

  • I have enough financial security to retire now.
  • I live close enough to my daughter that I can hop in the car and be there in under a day.
  • My home does not back up on a nature conservancy, but within a short drive (5 to 20 minutes) I have all kinds of parks and a great botanical garden which I do not have to maintain. A little longer drive and I have other venues, such as Colonial Williamsburg, Brown’s Island and Hollywood Cemetery. That’s a good enough answer for me.
  • Several years ago, I lost nearly 40 pounds and improved my health considerably. It would be good to lose more weight, but I’m happy with what I did.
I thought this brick wall as interesting in Yorktown, Virginia

I thought this brick wall as interesting in Yorktown, Virginia

The first dream – to make a living from my diaries and photography really jumped out at me. Was it time to do this? I couldn’t decide. As a result, I spent the early part of this year angry and confused. If I was to make a living with my diaries and photography (and exactly what that means, I don’t know), why was I looking for a job? If it was time to retire, why all the calling, networking, and interviewing?

During this time, a friend of mine from Minnesota (Hi Barb!) sent me a card, feeling strongly she should share a favorite Bible verse with me, from Jeremiah 29:11 –

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”

I carried that card around with me a good long time as I worked through my confusion of what I was supposed to be doing. I always thought when I retired that there would be a big party, people telling me they were sorry to see me go, and a final closure. I’m disappointed to not get that after all these years but this is how life has become for many workers.

I could keep looking for a job. My field has a low demand, but it also has a low supply. Companies tend to dismiss my skills until they have a problem. Then they find there are very few of me around. I’m employable, but it always takes a while to find something because of corporate state income taxes is so much smaller dollars than federal or international taxes.

But that’s not what I’m to be doing. The old story is broken and it’s time for a new story, which I will share in a later post.

Isn't that fence interesting? Taken in Yorktown, Virginia.

Isn’t that fence interesting? Taken in Yorktown, Virginia.

The beagle, of course, wants to know if that means more treats!