One of our favorite activities in the library is to play a game of “would you rather?” This usually involves two possibilities with differing outcomes. You must choose one and tell why. Would rather read Dog Man or Wimpy Kid? Cool bookmarks or smelly bookmarks? Those scratch & sniff (“smelly”) bookmarks will win every time!
For quilters, it might look something like this?
Would you rather have milk chocolate or dark chocolate?
Would you rather have white wine or red wine?
Would you rather have 50 wt or 60 wt thread in your bobbin?
Would you rather hand appliqué or machine appliqué?
This list goes on.
In grad school, my advising professor asked me a similar question when I thought about dropping out of the on-line program because we were moving half-way across the USA. December 2000 was coming. That was a fact. Would I rather have a master’s degree or no master’s degree? I decided I’d rather have the master’s degree in hand. Hobbling across the stage in Tallahassee that December to receive my diploma meant the world to me. You see, ten days earlier I’d been a serious car accident that required me to be life-flighted to the nearest trauma center. It took 3 months of physical therapy and I still have visible scars some 20 years later…but I have my master’s degree…and a specialist degree…and National Board Teacher Certification.
So June 1, 2022 will be here. In fact, there are 166 work days on my current teaching contract.
Would I rather move on to another adventure or teach another year at my current school? ADVENTURE
Would I rather be comfortable or uncomfortable in my own skin? COMFORTABLE
Would I rather think pleasant or unpleasant thoughts whenever I look at my sewing machine? PLEASANT
Life is short. Time to get rid of the excess baggage in all areas. I know where I want to be next June. Let’s git ‘er done!
Sometimes life whacks you in the back of the head while you are laser-focused and moving toward a goal. Our goal has always been an EARLY target retirement date of March 2025. Cancer and COVID caused us move the target date up to June 2023. Navigating our new work normal in the era of COVID has certainly been interesting. No wonder people are quitting jobs in record numbers. You eventually reach the point when you’ve had enough.
I reached that point on our first day of teacher preplanning. Apparently, my husband had a similar revelation about the same time while he was in the tube undergoing his most recent CT scan. He shared a little bit of what was going on at work before he left for his annual pilgrimage to the trapshooting competition in Sparta, IL. Since his return, we’ve had some very frank discussions about the future. His most recent visit to MD Anderson was mostly positive, but the blood tests show the cancer cells are active somewhere in his body. There just aren’t enough of them in any one place to show up on a scan.
These discussions have led to a flurry of activity:
(1) Number crunching – do we press pause or can we actually retire early?
(2) Figuring out our health insurance options. With his cancer, we need insurance. This is a non-negotiable.
(3) Being realistic about what life might look like without a day job.
(4) Am I really ready to stop working?
Answer: Health insurance coverage is going to be driving the bus. Fortunately, we do have some options for COBRA through our employers and private insurance; however, none of the options comes cheap.
My take: After 20 years of doing essentially the same thing, I’m ready for a new adventure. I’d like to chill for 6-12 months, travel, volunteer with Sadie and work on my sewing biz. I imagine I’ll be plenty busy, but I can always go find a part-time job if I get bored.
As Dave Ramsey always says, “Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else.”
It’s very true. We’ve worked hard, saved money and lived well below our means. We’ve been at Step 7 (Dave Ramsey plan) for a while. On paper, the numbers say we’re ready. Mentally, we’re ready. In a couple of weeks, I’ll have confirmed the nuances involved in keeping my existing insurance coverage in place during the gap between my last day of employment and the date I reach the age to receive my pension (insurance drops to retiree rate once my pension checks start if I keep the insurance in place during the gap).
So, if the price of freedom = 24 months of COBRA insurance payments, you bet we’re going for it!
Kid’s sewing classes are booked through January 2022 at the Southeast Quilt & Textile Museum.
Need technical editing for your quilting pattern? I have availability starting in September.
Curated precut packs are being assembled from my stash to be listed in my Etsy shop along with other notions and goodies.
Learning to master my Cricut Maker.
Finishing up the last block of my Christmas redwork project
Reviewing website hosting options
Currently determining exactly how soon I can exit the day job [super excited about this one!]