The first week of my 14 day self quarantine is over. I had no idea of how much the mainland COVID numbers would jump. I’m safe and keeping a close eye on the new numbers. It looks like I might be here for sometime.
As my days move from service in the Peace Corps to simply being retired, I’m slowly turning my attention to building a tiny house and volunteering locally. The American Red Cross, National Park Service, and (maybe) AmeriCorps, are coming into view.
Now that the evacuation has sent me home, earlier than expected, I’ve made sure to reconnect with both the Red Cross and the Sundance Film Festival. I volunteered with both, before heading back into the Peace Corps, in 2017. I have also put in applications with the National Park Service and AmeriCorps. Now, I’ll just wait it out and see who needs me first.
Forty seven countries and forty eight states later, I’m grounded and actually forced to really think about retirement. I’ve been working since I was fifteen. I was a co-op student, in high school. My school had a program that combined classroom education with practical work experience. I was a bookkeeper, for a wholesale shop, in Detroit.
The man I worked for wore the same thing everyday. The bank account I was trusted with (in 1972) had a balance of three million dollars. My employer sold the high school co-op students bread and lunch meat and gave us a fifteen minute break to eat. I never took it. I never paid for lunch, at the job. I took my money and went across the street for an opened face turkey sandwich, after work. My boss always shook his head and told me that I would be broke, if I didn’t learn how to save my money.
In the end, I guess his advice worked. In 2016, at age sixty, I applied for retirement. The moment came, after my annual financial advisement meeting, at Duke University. The gentleman asked me to login with my username and password. He moved his keyboard to me. The monitor was still facing him. Once I did, he hit a few keys and my balance appeared. We spent the next thirty minutes talking and never once mentioning money. “See you next year!” He said, when our session was done. “You’ll never see me again!” I thought as I said goodbye and made my way through the door. Mr. Merrill had schooled me, about saving money, and somehow, I had listened.
Now, there’s nothing left to do, but sit in the Utah sun and plan out my next adventure. —GGT