The Million Dollar Question

Have you decided what you’re going to do in your retirement yet?

Yes, if I had a dollar for each time I was asked that question (and the people who asked it repeatedly would have to pay proportionately more each time they asked) I would have a million dollars and I really wouldn’t have to worry about living on a “fixed income.”  Perhaps I’m just a little defensive about being asked?  Here’s some of the answers I’ve thought of.

The silly answer:  

I’m gonna get chickens!!!

The best answer:  

I am listening for God’s direction, and am willing to go where He wants me to go and do what He wants me to do.

The daydreaming answer:

 I’m gonna move to a farm in Oregon!

The boring answer:  

I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, only not go to work two days a week.

The most-likely-to-happen answer:

 I’m going to do some of those things that I’ve had to put aside/give up/put on the back burner for the last 25 years while I worked as a nurse.

So, to expand on some of those answers, I am seriously seeking God’s direction.  But sometimes He doesn’t give exact directions, and you just have to make a decision.  The day I read the words “Jesus decided to…” was a very important day in my indecisive life.

I really really do want to have chickens again.  I just read a book called “Still Life with Chickens.”  It was very fun to read, and had a lot more detail about life with chickens than I expected.  I really like everything about chickens except the mess. And the crowing.  But I know what to do about that now LOL.

Regarding that daydreaming answer:  A couple of interesting things have collided, in this order.  While surfing around Amazon, I noticed a book called Fifty Acres and a Poodle.  All about a woman uprooting her life and moving to the country.  It included a standard poodle, so I had to have it.  While looking at that book, the “Still Life with Chickens” book showed up, so I ordered that one too.  I thought they would both be fun books to read.  Then in my blog about grief, PJ wrote such a good comment, and part of it was encouragement to “take the trip or journey to a place you have always wanted to go or experience to feel the renewal of dreams.”  THEN, my BFF reminded me that I had always wanted to move to Oregon (Even before she moved there.  I’ve loved Oregon since I was a young girl.)  And hey!  Don’t you guys think that moving to a farm and writing about the whole experience would be the best blog fodder ever?  Of course, the down side of this answer would be that I would actually have to move LOLOL.

Most-likely-to-happen?  These will include just some everyday life kind of things, as well as maybe some more fun exotic things.  You know, like maybe gardening a bit more.  Keeping the housework under control.  Exercising more consistently.  Having EVERY SATURDAY OFF LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD.  Celebrating every holiday on the same day that the rest of the world is celebrating.  Traveling without worrying about getting back in time, or fitting it in, or finding someone else to ‘cover’ me.  Oh my, the possibilities are endless under this category.

And did you notice I did not even include the one thing that I am for sure planning to do:  work on my art quilting.  I have said this answer many times to many people, and am usually met with a blank stare and a polite nod.  I don’t think they know what an art quilt is, or they think that is a boring goal, or whatever.  I don’t really have the inclination to try to explain it to them.  So I’ve stopped giving this answer.

16 thoughts on “The Million Dollar Question

  1. I live in Southern Oregon, and while the city is growing, the area still has that nearby “rural” feeling to it. And boy, are the prices cheap right now! It’s beautiful and green. Having come here in ’76 from gray Los Angeles, I love it.

    We have a big fenced backyard, and I’m thinking of chickens… there is a big movement going on called “city chickens”. 🙂 On our little plot we have a peach tree, blueberries, snow peas, strawberries, zucchini, several tomato plants, etc. Oh, and 2 kitties and a Pup! Come and join the Urban Mini Farm revolution, LOL!

    • Ruh Roh. You figured out the fly in the ointment LOL. Every evening Noah delights in running out and chasing away the poor doves in the yard. I already decided we’d have to invest in a special ed session with the trainer to resolve that little problem LOL. If he had been raised in his natural state, he would have proudly GUARDED the chickens. Not sure there’s much of his natural state left in him.

  2. You are very industrious and have lots of interests. You will find your way. I’ve been retired for three years now, and it’s evolved into a comfortable spot for me to live, and I haven’t even moved. I’m also thinking about chickens!!

  3. I’m thinking LLAMAs or alpacas and weaving? goats and artisan cheese? retirement home for dogs?

    You know, one of my favorite themes for books (and blogs) is city folk or not so city folk moving to the country to a farm. If you want some book / blog suggestions let me know. Sometimes the concept of past lives sounds just about right to me and therefore I must have been a farm wife. In my current life, I can’t sew or cook or garden. well, I can just a wee bit.

    I have to say this , but it’s not meant to damper your dreaming? The scenery in your pictures of your walks around your home look absolutely magical to me. Isn’t it funny how what we have isn’t what we dream about but it may be someone else’s dream?

  4. Your idea of working on the art quilts sounds just right to me,i have had 4 years of freedom and i love it.
    Would like chickens but my garden is to small,have a allotment where i grow
    vegs etc.
    Just enjoy

  5. I vote for following your dream! You are blessed to be retiring at a young age with no outside obligations to tie you down. “Eleven Acres & A Menagerie” Go for it!!

  6. When I worked in nonprofit, we always kept an eye on people like you. We called you “Junior Senior citizens.” We noticed some distinct transitions that would happen at retirement:

    1. The fix-up-the-house period (or sell it and downsize). In other words, get the domestic ducks in a row. In your case, I don’t think you can “downsize,” but you can move. This phase can last two weeks to two years.

    2. The travel period, or wild oats stage. Go to the places you want to while you can still do so relatively comfortably. Can last two weeks to two years.

    3. The confused state. “Okay, now that my ducks are in a row and I’m all traveled out, what do I do?”

    This is when we in nonprofit tried to pounce. If we didn’t offer a volunteer job that was meaningful, then often people would, ack, return to work! My favorite nonprofit was Arts in Prison — a ministry that helped inmates find their humanity through fine arts education. It was amazing. And more necessary than many people understood. Since 95% of offenders will return to our neighborhoods, it’s nice for them to have an appreciation for beauty (something many have not known in their chaotic lives), to open themselves to the vulnerability that the arts require (something that has been beaten out of some and suppressed in others), and to take on projects that require discipline (another life component that they may never have picked up along the way). The idea that prison should be a miserable “boot camp and balogna” place is so misdirected. Those kinds of experiences only confirm for the inmates that people are jerks, the world is cruel, and they were right to commit their crimes of violence toward those people or drug induced escape from that world. Sigh. Only mercy turns hearts.

    Long-shot idea, but maybe someday you’ll want to consider sharing your art quilting with people who here-to-fore have made some bad choices. Do not write off the idea. If a men’s prison scares you, consider a women’s prison or juvenile detention center. Arts in Prison paid the milage and supplies for its volunteer educators. I don’t know if there’s one in your area, but the prison would know if you called. Just a thought for the back of your mental file cabinet. May not be applicable for several years.

  7. I think you are getting the blank stares because the “regular public” (and yes, I just used air quotes) doesn’t get quilting. Just tell them you are going to be focusing on your art. If they ask, tell them that you do multimedia pieces using fabric and found materials (no need to tell them that you might have “found” those buttons at Joann Fabrics!). That should fancy-schmancy it up enough for most people! 😉

    I’m looking forward to all your retirement adventures. Although it sounds like the most likely fodder for the blog just now will be book reviews! Ha!

  8. Debbie,

    I am 45 and have been “retired” ahem… still weird to write/say… for about 8 years. You will find when you DO retire that you get a modification of that question “What are you 2 doing and aren’t you bored?” Sigh. You might be surprised that after the initial shock and flurry of cleaning and organizing and fixing, that you will fall into (if not paying attention) bad habits. House not so clean, lack of schedule makes for exercise skipping. After all – you have all day!

    I highly recommend chickens and a little gentleman’s farm. You might be interested in these two sites: and

    Although, you get a farm and animals all of a sudden you are no longer retired, but ARE referred to as The Nut by your former life friends.

  9. (Reason you do not want an ipad: Safari browser does not play nicely with WordPress. Just lost my comment! Grrr.)

    “Eleven Acres and a Pug” <-LOL!!! (sorry, Juice)

    Re: chickens, we've toyed with the idea. Too messy. The Mr.'s brother and SIL live just south of us. They used to keep a few hens. Loved the eggs, and they were able to deal with the mess by, er, "enriching" the field behind them. 😉 We'll stick to trying veggie gardening.

    Sounds like you have many wonderful possibilities! I think I wouldn't quite know what to do with myself. Kind of like this weekend, in which we have no plans. Do need to plant the snow peas, though. Hope you have a good one!

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