When I was in my twenties, success was defined by having a million dollars in the bank—cold cash, not this artificial Bitcoin stuff we have now. The amount sounded like a lot of coin to me at the time, though. Thirty-five years ago, it was. And a pound of bacon was well under two bucks back then. Have you priced a pound of bacon lately? How about an artichoke? And when did a six pack of cheap toilet paper top ten bucks? I’m wiped out when I go to a grocery store. It’s an extortion racket!
So how does one get that cool million in the bank? Lottery tickets were never a sound investment for
me, but I must admit that I dreamed of that scratch-off moment with the winning news. My heart raced at the thought of what I’d do. Fantasies about that sexy car were hard to resist. I can still recall the imagined aroma of hand-stitched leather. Then I figured I’d have to spend a lot on a lawyer and a tax adviser, even before I had my picture taken with that oversize Styrofoam check. Heart-racing visions of winning the lottery quickly dissolved to those of predators: charities, friends I’d never known, and those who checked in at the Why Me Inn. Dang! I’d give it all away, anyway, to assuage my guilt of receiving money I hadn’t earned.
Back to work. That was the key to financial security.
Pesky word “work”. Right through my forties, the term signified a sense of accomplishment, self-pride, and climbing the ladder to show my worthiness. It was about that million dollars too. Along with my ego, the monthly statements of accounts became a measuring stick of success. My accountant wanted me to be insatiable because his growth depended on mine. Don’t get me wrong. I love my accountant like my own father these past thirty-eight years, but he’s getting ready to retire too. Now what? Do I have enough? Had I earned the right to freedom?
The closer I get to that magic age of sixty, the less fear I have of turning my back on the corporate world. I’m not razoring through my fingernails over the thought of retirement. My husband and I will only do something different and personal, like writing full time, growing and hunting our own food, and hiking the trails of Glacier National Park. We want to make experiences our goal, not buying more stuff. Besides, we’ll be cutting way back on our expenses in retirement, so our monthly nut should go down.
Panic shoots through my spine, shattering my fantasies.
Wait just a darned-tootin’ minute! A million dollars is what my accountant says I need just in my retirement account to step away at sixty-six (preferably at seventy-two to maximize Social Security). I brace myself for battle. My fight-or-flight reaction retreats and my shoulders drop in defeat. All plans of a frugal retirement are eclipsed by the destinations on our bucket list: Roman walls in England, castles in Scotland, mountains in Peru, fishing in Portugal. Have you priced plane tickets lately? The baggage fees alone are more than the cost of a ticket used to be.
Back to work. I’m no boomer with a Trust fund. No one is going to will me a million bucks when they die. Everyone I know plans to bounce the last check they’ll write.
And my husband is so right. He says they wouldn’t call it "work" if it wasn’t.
|Photo: Loma Smith|
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Oregon, with her new family. She writes for baby boomers. By day, Courtney is an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor and mystery. She has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal.
Check out all of Courtney's books at:
courtney-pierce.com and windtreepress.com. Both print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com
The Dushane Sisters are back in Indigo Lake. More laughs, more tears...and more trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.
New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."
Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrix, three middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth?
Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to a scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in summer, 2018.