Are you rich?

Miss Z, one of my 5th grade students, asked me this today. She likes to come to the library to hang out for a few minutes each day after she finishes her ELA assignments. I thought for a minute (well more than a minute) and responded that I was rich, but not because I had a lot of money. Rich because I have family and friends I care about, work and hobbies I enjoy, plus enough money to cover the essentials. I told her that I worked hard and saved money for most of my life. I didn’t spend all my money. Sometimes I didn’t do things or buy things because saving money was the priority at the time. Over time, our savings added up and this pot of money provides us stability, choices, and a certain amount of freedom to do what we want to do. I work because I want to, not because I have to. If I had to make a certain level of income, I would most definitely NOT be a teacher.

Miss Z let on that her teacher “had told her I must be rich because I send my dog to doggy day care and only rich people do that.” No, Sadie NEEDS doggy day care at least one day a week to burn off excess energy, especially since Miss Jenna is no longer able to work as a pet sitter. Big Girl will continue with doggy day care even in retirement, although the pet sitter visits will cease since one of us will be home to give her the long walks and social stimulation that Labradoodles require. This pet parent makes sure her “daughter” has what she needs. 🙂

Yes, it is scary to be walking away from a regular source of income. This is totally normal and all retirees experience this to some degree. It takes a (giant) leap of faith to go out there into the unknown. Those who have gone before us say it’s worth every moment of discomfort and uncertainty. I will proceed with my plan to exit at the end of May, enjoy a six to nine month sabbatical and see if I want to return as a part-time reading specialist (somewhere else) in 1st Q 2023 – working around QuiltCon ATL in mid-February, of course.