I retired early for a couple of significant reasons; stress and drama at work becoming too intense, and a desire to pursue my passions before I was too old to enjoy them.
I didn’t want to wait until I had crippling arthritis to tap the keyboard.
The healthcare industry (at least here in Florida) needs a lot of work from the inside out.
So here I am.
I am reading, researching and writing. I love what I do. I am happier than I have ever been in my life.
I was looking through some articles on retirement and I find two persistent themes.
1) There are a hundreds of articles telling you how to financially retire early.
2) Most people are working longer due to improved health and financial need.
So what is it; retire early or retire later?
Here’s the deal. The books that I write are for a mature audience. My audience, like me when I was working, has little time to sit and read. They are busy working and earning money so they can retire…maybe early. Many boomers are just now beginning to retire, at least that’s what I am seeing in the articles I am reading.
One thing that people are saying they want when they retire is, “MORE TIME TO PLEASURE READ.” Yes, they want to travel, pursue their hobbies, but they also want more time to read!
That is a great thing for writers in ANY genre.
The books that I most enjoy writing are about an era that most young people can’t really relate to.
I don’t write Twilight fan fiction, contemporary romance, or YA anything.
I write literary fiction and historical fiction. The real lives of people who have carved the paths others walk, with hope that new travelers will make those paths broader, safer, cleaner…keep them up and use them as roadways to a better future. It isn’t boring the way history sounds. It is real life drama in the best of times and the worst of times.
I hope that any of you who are looking to retire early to pursue your passions are able to do so.
For those of you that have already begun to pursue your passions, I applaud you for being true to your spirit.
When I was in high school, I had teachers encouraging me to major in journalism in college. I had a $17,000.00 scholarship to go to Wesleyan (a lot of money in the seventies). I was anti-establishment back then. I turned it down to get married, start a family, and work at McDonalds. Divorced and remarried at 19, I think I must have moved twenty times in two years. I was precocious, as many were in that era. Yet, I had no clue where I was going.
A year later, when I realized that the establishment was about the only way anyone could really support themselves and increase their standard of living, I returned to school. I had a desire to become a psych nurse so I could help people like my mother who committed suicide at the age of 26, and others whom I had known with addiction problems. I went to L.P.N. school first, but you needed an RN license to work psych. I lucked out when a hospital, based on merit earned in vocational school, offered me a scholarship for RN school. So off to University I went. I did have a passion for nursing, a calling.
It wasn’t an easy road to raise three children and go to school in-between pregnancies and nursing children. It took me eleven years to obtain a four year degree despite having excellent grades. I have no regrets, as it was what I needed to do and becoming a nurse, the career experiences, have given me a perspective that I will forever treasure.
Divorced again and single in Florida, with my kids off at college, I had opportunity to live young, but with means. I was glad to have had my children early in life while I could still do cartwheels with them and chase them around the trees. We literally grew up together. We went through some really tough times together. We experienced a lot of joy together. While I am not advocating anyone to live their lives that way, I am saying that there is hope if you find yourself in dire circumstances and feel that things will never change for the better.
Although I have worked all of the high energy, fast paced areas; like ER and CCU, and did get in a few years of psychiatry, the area I am most fond of in retrospect is geriatrics. Why? Some have told me that it is too depressing…but I never saw it that way. The old people with their stories fascinated me. Often, I would work the night shift when the old timers, who could not sleep, would get up and come to the nursing station between our rounds just to chat.
What fodder for writing! What fuel for my fire!
Years ago, I had regrets that I was not following my dreams to write, regrets that I chose a passion for nursing over journalism.
I have no regrets now.
With three beautiful grown children and two adorable grandchildren, I have had a thirty year plus career in health care, fifty three years of life experiences. God willing and the creeks don’t rise, I have time.
I am retired and living well. I am writing.