semi-retiring, work life balance, lifestyle block living


June 2016

Write Up

In three recent blogs – BabysittingAnother chapter, and Dreams 2 – I have prattled on about finally fulfilling a dream and how proud I was to have completed it. A pretty amazing feat for someone who was an accomplished procrastinator, I thought! I also mentioned that I had handed it to a friend who works in a related area to see if I had created something of merit.

Today was the day of reckoning. I met the friend to discuss my manuscript. Strangely, I wasn’t at all nervous about what she was going to say. Good news or bad news,  I asked only for honesty from her. There is, after all,  absolutely nothing to be gained by being told half truths.

So what was the verdict? It was mixed. As I was writing for an audience that I have never written for before, I haven’t nailed the voice correctly. It is too ‘adult’. Fair enough. I certainly had reservations about some parts, and, interestingly, these were often the same parts that the friend zoomed in on when she  was discussing voice with me. There were a couple of continuity problems. This was no great surprise. I’d picked up some myself. This is no biggie and can be easily fixed. I have, however, apparently created a story that will appeal to the audience I was aiming for. Score! And I have got the characters’ dialogue pretty near right. This, I think, is a good beginning.

The good friend then proceeded to give me invaluable advice. I was given the names of two or three authors who write in the right voice for the audience I was aiming for. I have been provided with leads: a person who reads manuscripts for a publisher and a couple of literary organisations. I have also been given a date. It is 31 October. This is the day my manuscript has to be submitted to meet the deadline for a competition. The winning entry gets published. How awesome would that be?

I have work to do. The first thing I will do is read the authors that have been recommended. I will then begin the rewrite.

I never thought it would be easy. And it won’t be, but I am rapt that my ‘change of life baby’ has a smidgen of potential.

Thank you, JB, for your invaluable help and advice. I am indebted!

Count down

For the last year the man and I have spent an awful lot of time plotting and scheming for our semi-retirement. Sometimes deciding the details has been easy-peasy, but at other times it has been a case of going round and round in circles, and getting nowhere fast.  Change is hard at the best of times and we have found that it is even harder when there are two or more attractive choices to choose from. Heads or tails, anyone?

Having said this, we are making progress and things are falling nicely into place. We have brought the date forward to saying adios to the 40 hour working week: February 2017 is D (departure) day for leaving full time employment. At the latest.

The rental is on the market next week. As we have decided to move out of Auckland, the house we are in at the moment is getting tarted up with the intention of selling it. We did consider renting it, but it is not a house that lends itself to easy renting and the fact is that being a landlord does not suit the man or my dispositions. It is important for happiness to recognise this.

Selling these two properties and buying out of Auckland allows us to get a property that has the land, the shed and a nice house, all within cooee of a smaller, quieter city with all the amenities. And at a price which leaves us  some capital to play with.

So will this capital be spent on matching Maseratis for the man or me, a Harley Davidson or two, overseas trips every two months or what? Well, sadly this does not sit well with the ever-practical Virgo in me, and the dreamy Pisces I am married to agrees.

We worked hard for this. And as some of it is inheritances from our parents who worked hard for it too, we feel even more obligated to be sensible. Retail therapy has no place here. We will therefore invest it wisely, and hopefully grow it.

And this is the problem: what do we do with it to keep it safe, and keep pace with inflation? Whatever we choose needs to provide us with a small income when we are fully retired, not to mention two damn awesome funerals (just joking!) and, ideally, something for the kids.

At this stage we admit to being pretty naive, maybe even totally clueless, so we are reading books, talking to people who seem to be financially astute, and thinking hard. We know we have to diversify investments to hedge bets. But what…? No doubt the man and I will work it out.

Meanwhile, some guy from Nigeria has just contacted me about a long lost Uncle John (never heard of him), but apparently he has left me squillions and  I just need to transfer some money to get it…. must go!


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