In several ways, 2017 will be my final season as a working person.
That’s not to say I won’t continue to work hard in life. According to the Social Security Administration I have a lot of life to live —19.2 years on average. Longevity’s secret is no secret: as long as life holds, engage in it and don’t stop until the final curtain.
By year’s end, my spouse and I will be in a position to slow down and work on projects better aligned with our interests. We won’t be rich, but that was never a goal.
A constant theme is embedded in the thousands of posts I’ve made over the last ten years: Radix malorum est Cupiditas, money (or greed) is the root of all evil. We managed cash flow well during our lives together with almost never a bounced check. Yet currency has been little more than sunlight, reasonably available if one is willing to join in society. Its value is as part of photosynthesis in the botany of our lives.
On the final workingman’s lap some things are clear.
My work at the home, farm and auto supply store is needed to provide health insurance until we both are on Medicare. Health insurance has been the biggest and most unpredictable expense since leaving my transportation career in 2009. I compare my experience to co-workers from Mexico. When they need significant healthcare, they travel home to take advantage of Mexico’s free clinics. In the United States health insurance is pay to play. Premiums contribute to many jobs: physicians, nurses and lab technicians, of course. But also to corporate entities with their executives, sales representatives, manufacturing staff, actuarial workers and legal counsel. By my calculation, monthly premiums for an individual health insurance policy are roughly ten percent higher than Medicare’s cost of service. My lowly paid work will continue at least one more year.
I hope this year’s growing season will produce in abundance. If last year created one of the best gardens ever, I plan to make this one even better. What I don’t or can’t grow will be acquired from two barter arrangements with Community Supported Agriculture projects. If my execution of garden work isn’t flawless, decades of experience should serve us well. Knowing what to do and when makes a big difference.
Our logistics system needs attention. Downsizing possessions, maintaining the house and its mechanical systems, and ensuring cost-effective transportation enter into this year’s plans. Because of the low cost of storage (i.e. loss of usable space), and the value of having built a new house needing few repairs, these tasks have been delayed.
Writing will continue to be important next year, both here and on social media. Writing has been a way to work through problems and relieve stress. When I write a fixed piece — a guest column for a newspaper — I write with confidence. When I start with a blank Microsoft Word document, ideas rise from a deep well of experience. As I mature as a short-form writer, increasing readership will be important.
I feel a sense of limited opportunity as the final months before great change come into focus. There are only so many days to get things done. The feeling is encouragement to make the most of my time. A sense of hope pervades everything and for that I am thankful.