The 2012 general election marked the end of a personal era.
Working on campaigns drained our financial reserves and we would need income to meet our obligations going forward.
The following winter was a time of reflection and adjustment.
2013 began a work period where writing occupied more of my time. That, combined with low wage work, became a way to get along. We never made enough money as I worked those jobs. They bridged the time between leaving my career and beginning Medicare at age 65 and Social Security at age 66. What made our survival possible was a foundation created by my 25 years in transportation combined with Jacque’s income from the public library. It was tough going during the transition but we made it.
Our move to Big Grove Township was predicated on a few things: we needed a place to live, my job in Cedar Rapids, being centrally located near other job opportunities, schools for our daughter, two working automobiles, and being a distance from the office. Over time, and by 2013, those things changed, raising new questions:
- Do we want to move to town?
- What kind of work will be next for us?
- Is there a way we can work without a commute?
- Is this home right for us as we age?
- Will we be able to afford living here?
We decided the best approach was to stabilize our lives here and we did. Working at home was difficult but straight forward. I wrote about it in a Dec. 29, 2012 journal entry:
Part of work is forcing myself to come into my work area and sit. The kind of discipline that Norman Mailer wrote about. Not being distracted, or leaving the work area. Just working to the detriment of all other activities.
It is not always easy to do this, but do it I must, and for more than an hour at a time.
I felt an urge to go to town. It is similar to the urge I felt when living in Mainz. That often led me to shopping or walking into the downtown area. I resisted it today, even though it was complicated by the new $50 bill my mother sent — itching to be spent. It was a major accomplishment to resist the urge to go “elsewhere.”
The low wage work I pursued was readily available in the area. My criteria was to work for a company with a professional payroll department where I could count on wages being paid accurately and in a timely manner. I didn’t give much thought to the physical requirements of the jobs, although they mostly required standing on concrete or other hard-surfaced floors. I worked as a temporary laborer, as a product demonstrator, and in 2015 wound up at the home, farm and auto supply store which offered full time work, health insurance and a reasonable work load. I also worked as a proof reader and freelance correspondent for local newspapers.
Most significant among these jobs was a chance to work with people much different from those during my transportation career. If I didn’t bring home much money, I met many new people.
Weathering the last seven years was the kind of accomplishment few people point out as a highlight of life. We did what was needed to survive. Now that it’s over there are other things to do, including the “good stuff” in the diagram from my journal. We now have a chance to figure out what that means.