The realization hit me as I paid the tuition bill…I won’t have kids around (full-time) much longer. My days of being a live-in parent are coming to a close. The day is approaching when the last of my children will leave the nest permanently and only return under the guise of “visitor”.
It’s time for me to kick into gear for researching new areas, saving as much as possible for retirement, finalizing my (priority) life goals, and finishing my commitment to the kids.
That last sentence is simple but daunting. Am I biting off more than I can chew? More than I can complete in 36 months?
I’m extremely lucky. The freedom to work remotely opens possibilities that most people don’t have available to them. As long as I have a willing boss and a reliable internet connection, I can work from home. It doesn’t matter if that home is in Scotland, Scottsdale, or Scott County.
Hmmm…. Scotland. I’d like to live for a while in a little stone hut on the Scottish moors, walking to the nearest village pub for a simple meal and cozy fire. I wonder what my American accent would sound like to a bunch of brogue-ish Scots. I would be the foreigner, the oddity. Maybe they would refer to me as “The American”.
Let’s tuck that daydream to the side for a moment.
Maybe I would move to a small water-side town for a while. Something next to the sea shore or the lake shore or the river. I think I would prefer Great Lake or Ocean, just so I wouldn’t be able to see to the other side. The expanse of water is soothing to me. I like the sound of waves. I like the changing tempo as storms kick up big waves and calm days result in tiny ripples. Husband #2 and I would turn on an Ocean Waves CD each night for our white noise. Or maybe I’ll end up like some Pavlovian experiment and fall asleep whenever I get close to a wave-lapping shoreline.
Would surrounding myself with such tranquility result in delaying my retirement as long as possible? Perhaps with the opportunity to take the laptop outside, work will end up being less stressful than sitting inside in the office. Or maybe I’ll have to mute myself on conference calls as the hawks call out overhead and the songbirds at the feeder chatter and sing to their hearts’ content.
I’ll have to work longer than expected now. Retirement for one is more expensive (per person) than retirement for two. I don’t have Husband #2’s Social Security, pension, or savings to add to the retirement calculator anymore. It’s a hard blow to my plan to retire early but such is life. You plan, situations change, you plan again.
In the short run, I still have a few dependents who aren’t so dependent on me anymore. They can cook, somewhat clean, do laundry, and have jobs but still need my roof to keep them safe and still need some of my funds to co-sponsor their college educations. I’m not too worried about them. When the day comes, each will move out to a new place, learn to live within a budget, and hone the skills of adulthood as they start a new life separate from Mom. The most important thing is that they each know that Mom is only a phone call away and willing to help, even if it’s telling them to call a plumber rather than an electrician. Maybe one of them will surprise me and become a DIYer. I’m sure I surprised my own parents in that regard as teenaged me was more interested in books than in bolts.
I have three years to daydream about what I want to do with the rest of my life. Plenty of time for experimentation…