Friday, December 30, 2011

Resolutions

It's that time of year again, when people make New Year's resolutions. Mine are a litany of repeaters: Lose weight, eat more vegies, exercise daily, don't say negative things about other people especially if it would constitute gossip, etc, etc. Same old same old.

In Boots N All, http://www.bootsnall.com , there was an article today about Quarterlies, resolutions/goals made on a quarterly and therefore more accountable basis. I'll pass on that idea, not because it's a bad idea, it isn't, but because I have a book.

In 2009, my company made deals to all us "older" workers that was a clear disincentive to keep working for Honeywell. If we retired by September 1, the company would subsidize our health insurance until we qualified for Medicare. Otherwise, we would lose that benefit. I still had 13 months before I reached the golden 80 points, figured on time at the company combined with my age. I had planned to retire then. After checking a few websites for single person health insurance, I called Honeywell and retired that second.

Of course the Los Alamos National Labs still had the job open for me and I continued to work for another 18 months at the same job with a different contractor. Fortunately that contractor provided NO benefits, they just paid a gob of money. I didn't need benefits, I had health insurance from Honeywell, so I socked away a tidy sum and when the job finally ended, it was time to start traveling full time.

When Honeywell made that announcement, I got a bit worried and wondered how on earth I might survive financially with a mortgage, a son in high school, and their dinky little pension. So I began to write in a blank book with the words "Listen To Your Heart, Follow Your Dreams" on the cover. Normally I don't go for hokey girly stuff like that, but somebody had given it to me, and it seemed perfect for what I was about to do.

I listed on the front pages, all the long term goals I ever had. World travel, downsize to practically nothing, find a career I could 'do' on the road, learn Spanish (finally), write a novel/book, a reading list, etc.

Then I listed very specific goal, little steps to get to the bigger ones. I needed to sell my house and downsize into a condo. With the equity in the house and some savings I would be able to pay off the condo. That goal took a lot of time and work, mostly because the condo (very cheap) came on the market before I could sell the house, and then the house didn't sell for almost a year. Yikes! But once it was over, I was debt free, and I had an asset that could be traded in a house swap or rented for additional income.

I went on a 'starter' trip to Mexico, to the safest place you can imagine, San Miguel de Allende. It was so Americanized I could have gotten away with speaking no Spanish at all, but I happened upon a romantic Mexican architect and quickly got swept into the same mode Hector and I used when I was 18, he spoke English to me, and I spoke Spanish back. Except Spanish is so much more romantic, and thanks to Hector forty years ago, I didn't have to learn any new words in that sphere!

The book allowed me to make the long term goals a reality by letting me plan, think things through, and decide directions. Writing it all down kept goals on track. It's far too easy to forget the plan, or even the rare brilliant thought, when months have gone by.

The book is now two years old and about 3/4 full. So far I've accomplished many of those early set-out goals, and added more as time has passed.

As 2011 draws to an end, I need to update the latest accomplishments; the Eastern Trip completed, tickets purchased for 6 months of actually living in a foreign country (Mexico again), good health reports from the doctor, a renter lined up for the entire year, and weight loss as I'm still too fat. I know in Mexico, even with all that walking, the incredibly wonderful Mexican ice cream is going to sabotage any goal of weight loss. Sigh. Knowing that probably won't stop me from eating plenty of it!!


Happy New Year to all the readers of this blog. The feedback I occasionally get is a big motivator to keep writing and improving. My heartfelt (too girly?) thanks to all of you!