Friday, May 20, 2011


Painting by Jennifer Branch

Have you ever waited for your ship to come in and then actually have it come in? But you discover it wasn't what you expected?

Before I left my six-month long temp job at the Health Department, I bragged to my coffee-break friends that I would be retiring when my assignment was over at the end of April. My husband went ahead and fully retired in the middle of March, in expectation of that ship. This wasn't some unrealistic fantasy, mind you. It wasn't a pipe dream - we had reports that the ship was coming our way, and then that it headed toward the harbor. It had, in fact, arrived two weeks earlier than expected. But when it docked, lo and behold, our long-awaited Ship of Dreams was not an aircraft carrier, not an ocean liner, not a yacht, not even a motorboat. It was a little old dinghy.

The trouble is, I had really counted my chickens. Yes, I know we are told not to do that. But still, it was hard to resist. Retire at 62? Certainly. Combine a mini-vacation with my cousin's wedding in Minneapolis in June? Not a problem. Travel around the country? That would be so great. Help out my sister? She deserves it. A four-wheel drive for Dan? He deserves that too.

Ah well, it was not meant to be. And actually, we may not even be able to do the things that really need doing, like replacing our leaky roof, getting a physical and new glasses and paying the real estate taxes in full.

I don't mean to suggest this little dinghy is unwelcome. It will help us relax and put some sunshine in our days. We can float serenely upon the calm waters and not worry about wolves at our door (to really mix metaphors). And, as WOL so insightfully says in her comment to this post, it's better than being up the creek without a paddle, a situation I have found myself in way too many times in the past.

I must have had a premonition of all this when I left the health department that last Friday. I did not have the feeling that I was leaving work for the last time. There were no thoughts of no more soul-sucking jobs, no more bad bosses, no more nasty co-workers, no more drudgery and boredom.

And sure enough, after a two-week break, I'm back on the job at another temporary assignment. So what comes next? Will I semi-retire when I am eligible to draw Social Security at the end of June? Or will I keep on taking assignments? For sure, there will be no attempt to find a permanent job. The one thing I am sure about is that I am completely through with resumes and interviews.

I dunno. The only thing I have plans to do is hop aboard that sturdy, reliable little dinghy and enjoy my summer to the fullest.


JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Well, a ride in a dinghy has always been one of my favorite things - they don't go too fast - they don't need a lot of preparation - they take you easily into the little places you want to go, so hop aboard and enjoy the ride.

Kath said...

Thankyou for the hare post, I followed one of the links to a gallery here in Glastonbury! I'm going down to have a look tomorrow.
We used to have a boat on the Thmaes, very relaxing and so English LOL

Annie Jeffries said...

Yeah, that dinghy is pretty much what we have too but it's a hardy little boat and well able to keep us afloat too.

Unlike you, when I retired, I didn't look back. Didn't get bored either. True there are days I just seem to switch the old brain off but I'm perfectly happy with that.

Seems to me that when you draw social security you will still be able to work up to a certain amount of time before it starts working against you. That will make it the best of both worlds for you - work as much as you choose and draw SSI.

WOL said...

I'll be "semi-retiring" in August. Having a dinghy beats being up the creek without a paddle! Here's the website that tells about how much you can earn, etc.

Maggid said...

Thank you for this post.
You've given me a lot to think about.
I was always an artist (the performing type) - and did really well - until a health challenge rocked my world. I have been re-configuring ever since - and, have begun to think (only recently) I'm at home and happy with life the way it is - perhaps the future will seem "a-okay" for me after-all . . . I haven't counted chickens - I'm still trying to envision a future . . now i know I'm not alone on this journey - AND - realizing i have good company (like yourself) - seems more than enough for today . . I hope we all enjoy our summer.
love & love, -g-

Shopgirl said...

I think very few people get the dream. I think we all want to think there will come a day when everything will be easier, and that our so called golden years will be so shinning. Life is what we glean from it, and I am very happy with the dinghy, it provides what I need and in the long run, what I want. And I have learned...less is really more. Big hugs from the co-captain of a dinghy. Mary

Leanne said...

it doesnt matter Julie- the size of your boat- its how you sail in her that counts. Wishing you calm seas ahead, clear skies to navigate by, and the good company of blogland for the voyage!!
Leanne x

gma said...

Ahoy Julie wishing you smooth sailing and lots of FUN in your dinghy.