When I was 32, I bought a book called Cashing in on the American Dream, How to Retire at 36. Loved it. Finally a goal that motivated me to be a lot better about money. I was BAD in my 20s. There wasn’t really anything I wanted more than clothes. I lived in San Francisco and I used to say, “I don’t live for clothes…exactly…” LOL! I couldn’t retire at 36 even if I moved to a very inexpensive country, but early retirement was a dream that fostered good savings habits.

Later I bought a book called 101 Ways to Simplify Your Life. I liked all those things too. Or at least, a lot of them. Then later I bought a book called Your Money or Your Life (which I reviewed, just click on the title to find it.) That was awesome for translating time, money, and work into the minutes one has left in one’s life. I doubled-down on my early retirement dream and started tracking my spending with a spreadsheet. Uh huh, bean counter. I know. Actually a manager I had in my first job after college said I was a rare thing, a bean counter and a cheerleader. That’s how we classified the people at the nonprofit where I worked. Cheerleaders were great at fundraising and bean counters were great at administration. I did like both, and still do, but I digress.

The point is, we achieved early retirement. Not at 36! I’m not really good at moving somewhere else. I’m very emotionally bonded and attached to places, not to mention people. So it took longer because I wanted to stay here. But we did finally achieve our goal, and it was pretty early. (Some time between Cashing in on the American Dream, and 101 Ways to Simplify Your Life, I met my husband and retirement became a “we” goal.)

So three days after I achieved that dream, I took up writing again. (I had stopped writing for more than a year after a family  tragedy), but three days of no work and I’m back working, this time on writing. And I sold that short story (under the name Nia Simone. It’s called The Last Straw.) Now three years later I have realized I can’t work seven days a week any more or I experience major internal conflict because I’m not enjoying the thing I worked for so hard and longed for and dreamed of…retirement! And I’m not one of those people who thinks retirement is a bad word. I don’t think being lazy is bad. I think they are both great! I want to revel in, roll in, and embrace the joy of not working, or else I start to resent writing.

Yesterday I remembered something from the work model: weekends.

I wrote a lot on Saturday, but on Sunday, I didn’t write. I had a lot of fun. I baked a cake,

Pumpkin bundt cake results, little wedge missing
Pumpkin bundt cake results, little wedge missing
Pumpkin bundt cake all tucked away
Pumpkin bundt cake all tucked away

made soup, cleaned the house, read a book, and did some writing related stuff but for friends, not my stuff, and it was so fun.

What do you do on the weekends? If you are retired, do you have a routine that is a little like the work week?

Here is the proof that I had fun yesterday, and a photo of the sky to show you why I didn’t go outside much.

Making the pumpkin bundt cake from my newsletter
Making the pumpkin bundt cake from my newsletter
Storm clouds
Californians are very very grateful to Alaska for sending us a storm

8 thoughts on “Writing versus retirement

  1. Great post and photos, Nicci, especially I like your photo in the kitchen, it reveals your natural home atmosphere, you look so energetic and motivated and happy! Fantastic! You know what you are a cheerleader, you spread your energy and people catch it from you, at least, I caught and feel not so gray as your or mine sky today! Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I was retired already when I was philosophizing, Chris, but my writing is consuming so much time I haven’t been doing that super deep thinking in a while, which is sad. At some point, I need to get into it again and write a sci fi book. I did have a poem float into my head as I was falling asleep the other night. That hasn’t happened since 2013 either. I need to start working on that poem. Good to see you.


  2. Wow, Nikki! How I wish I had had your sense way back when and did my own numbers. Retirement was such a far-away concept, even as the years continued to add up. And I applaud you for reshuffling your priorities and taking time out to just “be.” Loved seeing your bundt cake – mmm, now I want some – and, of course, the NYC pic 🙂

    I really must catch up with your posts to learn more about your writing. My apologies for being so negligent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Stacy! No worries, you aren’t negligent. Enjoy, relax. I was just lucky to be such a book worm and drawn to that kind of thing. It’s never too late. Anyway, the really important thing is to enjoy the moment, which you are brilliant at doing. I’m working on it still and always will be I think. *hugs*


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