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
  • THEY ARE NOT DEAD

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!

30 thoughts on “Time For A New Story

  1. Dear Nancy,

    I am still catching up after a very busy time, and I just read this post–Wow! I can hardly wait to see what happens next!
    Best wishes on your courageous new adventure,
    Naomi

    • Thanks Naomi! I have a part 2 that needs to get written. I plan on pursuing my writing and as I’ve been working on that, I now have a very nice offer for some temporary work. So I’m back to work tomorrow!

  2. hello dogear6 its dennis the vizsla dog hay i think this is a gud choyse my mimmier and pippier and auntie all appeer to endjoy beeing reetired!!! hay i think sumwun shud tel those peepul sumwun has ben shooting cannons at there howse it wuz not me i sware!!! ok bye

  3. Nancy – I love your 2nd story, you really haven’t begun yet. There’s so much new and exciting experiences that you’ll have. Yes, it is scary simply because of the “unknown”. For many of us, years of setting those alarms, going to work became “routine”. It really became “the grind”. Now, you have a gift of spending more time with your family, getting to know your grandson, taking in new sights, and showing us the beauty of the world thorough your blogging and photography. Enjoy this new time in your life, you’ll be glad you did!

    • Thank you so much and yes, I owe you a letter. Work has been a grind for a long time. The overtime here is not new – it’s been like this for a long time for me. With all the changes my current employer is undergoing, I’m glad I was let go when I did. They merge on July 1 with their biggest competitor and very few know who is going and who is staying.

      I’m loving the time with my daughter and her family. I haven’t been out on field trips as much as I’d like and that’s something I need to figure out. Actually, I need to figure out how to get more laughter. I seem to be back into being cranky all the time again. I think it’s all the learning I’m doing as I look into monetizing my writing.

      Thanks for being a good friend and staying in touch!

  4. I am excited for you, while at the same time knowing how scary it can be to make that kind of decision. I had to do it back in 2006-2007 when I left work due to an injury and a move. Trust yourself and you’ll be fine. Better than fine, I bet.
    This jumped out at me: “We lose about two years of our life each time we move…” This move to the Eastern Shore was our 14th move. I understand perfectly not wanting to move again, or at least not moving until the time is right and you’re ready to downsize. Besides, it sounds like you’re living in just the right area for what you want in a place to live. :)

    • Thanks Robin! Yes, you understand about our reluctance to move. It’s been hard each time. I think one of the cats died earlier than he had to because of a new vet and we nearly lost the Vizsla due to an incompetent vet. It seems each time we’ve moved, we lost more than we gained. I hated Richmond when we first moved here, but after several years grew to like it a lot. If I’m going to stay someplace for a long while, this is a good place to be.

  5. Change from something familiar we know well to something that we cannot see clearly as yet, is always a bit scary. I’m happy you have decided to follow your heart and do something you have passion for. I jumped off the corporate treadmill very early as I had the financial security to retire. I still do consulting in my field of expertise (management), but only when something really exciting comes…just to have time and energy for my creative pursuits. They give me happiness and my life is much more balanced now. You will find that when you follow your inner calling, the path to something good will open in front of you. Your new story will be wonderful!

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I’m open to contract work, but not a single thing offered so far has been exciting nor is it paying much more than I paid to our interns. Having said that, I’m putting a lot of time into what I want to do with my writing and how to monetize it. I’m glad you shared your story with me and gave me some things to think about.

  6. Barb

    Nancy- I’m honored that you carried my card around & that it was meaningful. :) Like I said, I just felt called to do it. I love knowing that God has a plan & a purpose for our lives, even if we can’t always see it!
    I always love reading your posts!!

  7. Sounds like a corner has been turned. (I know what you mean about being highly skill, looking for a job, and being in that fork in the road.) Someone one told me if you be still – very still and quit spinning wildly, you’ll see the answer is there.
    Love your picture choices – lots of texture and richness
    …who could laugh at that wall holding the cannon ball? Life captured.

    • Thank you for laying it out like that! And I laughed at your comment about the picture. My husband thought they didn’t match the post at all, but I kind of did. Thanks for affirming my choices.

  8. MRY

    That is one of my favorite Bible verses. I’m so excited for you and your new story! Look at all of those blank pages just waiting to be filled hugs

  9. Sometimes a plan has to unravel its own way for reasons we do not know yet. One thing I am sure of, if you follow your heart, you will always be where you are supposed to be. I’ve been thinking about you. Sounds to me like a new chapter of the whole book is yet to be written! :)

    • Thanks Cindy! I think it will, but for right now there’s a fair amount of floundering around. That’s not a surprise with change, but frustrating nonetheless.

  10. A new story for you – how wonderful!! A number of years ago I listened to a speaker in Calgary who said, “There is no such thing as a right or wrong decision. You make the decision, then you make it right.” This has served me well when I make changes (and believe me, I do agonize over them so I understand) It is time for you to do this now. A friend of mine who has similar skills as you have, retired about 5 years ago and now gets called for contract work from time to time which helps put a bit of money in the bank while she enjoys other pursuits. Relax and enjoy your life!! <3

    • Thanks Darlene, for so much encouragement! I agree about there not being a right or wrong decision. I prayed extensively about the job near my daughter’s house and felt clearly that there was no “right” way. I could chose to move there, be by her, and continue working or I could chose to stay in Virginia and retire. But neither decision was right or wrong. That was a bit hard when making my choice, but I think it was true.

      The contract work that’s been offered so far has been at a really low hourly rate, so at this time I haven’t done any of it. I’m working at how to monetize my writing instead (the photography is unlikely to monetize), although I’m so desperate for time to do nothing that it’s not going very quickly. But each time I think I’ll just relax and rest, I know I’m not ready to do that either. So frustrating. But I’m still working out the new routines to my days and now that it’s gotten so very hot out, it’s much easier to sit at my computer and work :)

      Thanks again for all the support! I so very much appreciate it.

  11. I’m sure this has been a rough year for you emotionally. So glad you’re finding peace and following your heart. I love the old brickwork on the Colonial Parkway and Yorktown. I need to catch up on your posts. I saved the email notifications and look forward to sitting down(?) and reading them. A rainy day has been nice to stay inside!

    • Thanks Patti, for such a wonderful note. That’s a good point you made – it has been a rough year with some real ups and real downs. But yes, the decision to retire and move on with my life is a good one. I’m still figuring out what’s next and am thankful I have enough financial security to do it at this time.

      I always enjoy hearing from you. What a wonderful compliment that you save the E-mails to read when you have time! I’m not doing quite as well. I’m using “likes” a lot more lately because I’m reading on my iPad and don’t want to tap tap tap on that tiny keyboard. I’m reading what I’m liking, but not leaving as many comments right now.

      Will you go Williamsburg at all this summer? If you do, let me know and we can meet for lunch or breakfast.

      Nancy

  12. I have the feeling you have made the absolute right decision to retire and pursue new directions. And you will know the right thing and go for it without hesitation.

  13. Sometimes we have to just change our story to be the way we want. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and if it’s meant to happen, it will.

    • I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with the decision, but it was rough up until recently. I’ve wanted this for so long, I’m having trouble accepting that it’s finally happened.

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