How Will You Spend the Time You Have Left?

My father died when he was 57. My mother wasn’t much older when she was killed.

My nephew was just 35 when he died a couple of weeks ago, but my uncle was 88 when he passed away right after Christmas.

At my current age of 51, that gives me a wide range of odds, especially since I’ve relatives who lived to be over 100.

But with COVID on the rise, I may not make it to tomorrow.

So what do I do with my now?

As news has trickled through friends and family that I’ve actively began to immerse myself into computers again the reactions have been mixed.

“Why are you doing that? I thought you liked your job.”

“You know you’re too old to go back into computers. You’re the wrong gender, besides! All they hire are young guys. You know that!”

“I’m surprised you waited so long. You’ve always had a gift when it comes to computers. Way to go!”

“At least you won’t be binge watching movies any longer. That was so unlike you.”

“It’s good that you’re still learning. Shame that you’re on the verge of retirement, though–you won’t get to use the knowledge at a job.”

“Only you!” (spoken with a good-natured shake of the head)

Lessons Learned

One thing I have learned over the years is to disregard any negativity I receive. In fact, my greatest successes have been when the responses I received were overwhelming negative.

Even so, my critics have a point. I am older. In just ten short years, I’ll be eligible for early retirement. In 13 years, I’ll be eligible for normal retirement.

But if I wait until I’m 70, I’ve got 18 whole years to enjoy myself.

With modern medical science, I believe that it is safe to say that, barring COVID or accidents, I can live until my 80s. That’s almost three decades of life I have left.

So how do I spend that time? Do I spend it living, or do I spend it dying?

We all die

That’s a fact. None of us can escape it, so we need to accept it.

We don’t have to sit around and wait for it, however.

Whatever your age, you don’t have to just give up and wait for death to take you. Whatever your age, it makes no sense to continue living if you’re just waiting to die.

If we’re going to be here anyway, why not have fun while it lasts? After all, none of us really knows what the next adventure will bring.

So look around. Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet? Do you want to take a trip, learn something new, change careers, or explore a path you’ve not dared to take?

Why not do it now?

You don’t have to take major steps. If you have always wanted to travel, you can research places and pick one to visit. Save up money, or maybe think of ways to go on your current budget.

If you’re interested in learning something new, you can take a class online. The prices are amazingly reasonable, and you may catch it on sale. I had a look around Udemy this weekend and I was amazed at how far online learning has came. You can take a class for almost anything these days!

I don’t care what society says, and I certainly don’t care about the opinions of those around me, and you shouldn’t either.

You may be old, but you’re not dead yet.

So stop acting like it!

Take the trip. Have the adventure. Join the class.

But don’t stop there. Make sure to tell others that you’re not done living yet. Share stories about your dreams and adventures. You can start by sharing them in the comment section below.

Do the Thing

Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from achieving your dreams.

I come from the Mountains of Eastern Kentucky. I’m the daughter of an ex-con and a dancer. My formal education was a joke, yet despite everything I managed to achieve everything I really set my mind to.

  • I opened a computer repair service in my thirties.
  • I pivoted to writing by my forties.
  • I became a stay-at-home single mother by teaching myself how to write online.

And now I’ve given myself permission to dive deep into the world of computers in a way I’ve never given myself permission before.

If I can do all of that with barely a high-school education and all of the odds stacked against me, there is no limit to what you can do with the advantages you have today.

This is your chance. Don’t waste it.

~#~

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I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

It is Time to Press Pause

I’ve suffered from a bit of an existential crisis these past few days. My beloved daughter informed me that she plans to officially marry in November.

By some time in December she should be gone.

It’s all hitting me. This stage of my life is officially over.

I started blogging as a form of cheap therapy. I needed to get my thoughts out of my head so that I could focus on my goal of being the best single mother I could be.

In hindsight, I believe that I focused on minimalism and frugality because, in a life that seemed so out of control, money and possessions were the two things that I could control. As one of my friends pointed out so many years ago, I tend to slip into “survival mode” when facing emotional issues.

In other words, when faced with something I cannot control, I shift my focus to shaving as much off of my budget as I can instead of dealing with what is truly bugging me.

And I’ve become quite good at that. As I announced in an earlier post, I doubt that there is anyone blogging online who lives quite as cheaply as I do.

That said, I’ve reached a critical juncture in my life. My youngest daughter, my sole reason for fighting the fight for almost 20 years, is leaving.

If I am not very, very careful, instead of dealing with this head-on I will bury my pain deep inside and obsessively focus upon my finances.

I can already see the signs. When I start seriously conserving money by washing my clothes in a bathtub despite the fact that I can afford a laundromat and debating the financial implications of a purchase, I know that I’ve slipped into survival mode. I can preach different reasons all I want but I know myself, and I have finally realized exactly what I am doing and why.

I am trying desperately to avoid the pain of loss that is eating me up inside.

It is high time I stopped doing that. While saving money is a good thing, my continuing obsession with money is unhealthy.

While I still want to achieve financial freedom, I have decided that I need to shift my focus inward for a time. I need to face the fact of my changing circumstances. For once in my life I need to face my pain instead of burying it deep.

I need to press pause, step back, and seriously evaluate my life.

I have not made this decision lightly. Behind the scenes of this website I have been madly writing about my finances. I even penned some painful posts about things that have happened in the past, posts that really need to stay buried, at least while some of the people involved still live.

I’ve written so much these past few days that despite increasing my posting schedule to a daily format I had things scheduled into next year as I’ve tried to come to grips with what is happening to me. Upon a critical review of my words late last night I saw myself for what I am: a woman in the midst of a major life change.

Some of the ravings didn’t even make sense as I flip-flopped between obsessively focusing on my finances and ranting against the cold, hard reality of what I am facing.

This stops now.

I pulled every single one of those posts. In fact, I’ve pulled every single post that I had scheduled from this day forward as an added precaution. I intend to review them over the next few weeks. I want to sift the good and helpful from the drivel and craft them into something that may benefit you before I give them to the world.

It is time for me to sit back, take a deep breath, and figure out exactly what I want to do next. I know I need to grow up. I know I need to own the fact that I am changing. I need to accept the reality of what I have become, decide who I want to be, and start making positive steps in that direction.

I will return in a few days, I promise. I simply need to work out a basic idea of where I want to go next without advertising the worst of my internal crisis to the world at large. You don’t need to witness that.

That said, my focus on extreme frugality is over. I have traveled as far as I can safely go down this path.

I’ll write more later.

 

 

Katie’s Graduation

The big day finally arrived. My youngest, the reason I worked so hard to live on less, finally graduated high school.

It was a bittersweet day. I spent close to 20 years striving to work less so that I could spend as much time with her as possible. I swam against the current as a single mom but this day marked the moment where the journey was finally over.

My baby is now an adult even more so than she was when she turned 18.

A friend of mine drove over four hours to celebrate with us. The first thing we did that day was surprise her with flowers.

The next thing we did was take her and her boyfriend out to Olive Garden. We wanted to make this a day she would never forget.

We gifted the kids with a round of gag gifts. Her boyfriend C really got a kick out of one of them!

As we told him, we figured that since he was going into the Army he could use the guy for practice! Oh how he laughed! His real gift was a journal in which we inscribed “to keep track of your future adventures with Katie.” He was touched.

We also got him a set of crowns so he could remind Katie of who was the “king” – complete with spares for when she knocks them off his head! She got a tiara, of course – she is my princess!

After digging out some other gifts Katie finally got around to her big one from my friend. I’d given her my gift earlier because I didn’t want to detract from the moment. Here’s the expression on her face when she realized that my friend had gifted her with a pair of diamond earrings.

Once the dust had settled C had another surprise for my daughter. I was the only one aside from him who knew his plan. He smiled at her and announced. “I’ve got something to go with those earrings.”

That was when he proposed.

After all of that we still weren’t done. We drove them around and took lots of photos of them to mark the big day.

Once we dropped them off so they could do their thing prior to graduation my friend and I went out for a good stiff drink to mark the end of an era. We both needed it by then. My friend had known her since she was a baby and I needed liquid strength to get through the graduation ceremony. Not only was my youngest daughter graduating, I was lost. I’d spent so many years trying to be the best mom I could be, trying to spend as much time with her as I could. It didn’t help that, like my daughter, my dad had been dying of terminal cancer as well when I had graduated from that very same high school. I was filled with bittersweet memories, all of which came to the surface as I sipped on my Jack and Coke.

Thus prepared, we headed to the stadium for the graduation ceremony. We looked around, relieved to see that her dad, my ex-husband, actually managed to attend. He’d had Hospice take him. Once the ceremony finished we met up with the kids and took some more photos. I’m the one with the red shirt and big boobs.

So this is it, folks. The end of an era. My goal of raising my daughter is complete. Katie has not only graduated high school, but she’s engaged as well.

I’m both proud and sad.