Do you remember what you were doing 20 years ago?

I do.

I was finishing my last days as a child protection  investigator, excitedly looking forward to beginning a job with a little more action, with a 20 year retirement, and that provided health insurance for my daughters: a juvenile probation officer.

It seemed like a perfect combination of things that I’d already done in prior positions. Victim advocacy. Coaching offenders. Community liaison.

I remember thinking then that by the time I retired I would probably have a hip replacement. I was in my mid-30s and had all kinds of assumptions about aging. Thankfully, plenty weren’t true. 🙂

What has been true is that decision provided the stability for me and my girls that I’d so desperately needed. It provided a sense of purpose and agency. And it provided potential for me to choose how I wanted to work and where I wanted to live during the final quarter of my life.

Renaissance in 2020, I thought. Perhaps I would move out of Alaska permanently, or have the opportunity to rent in several different cities over the following years to discover where I chose to belong. Or to make enough money in the next phase of life to keep a place in Alaska while loving warmer weather close to extended family all winter long.

It’s funny how often we falsely believe that our good choices guarantee good outcomes.

There’s nothing like a pandemic to remind you that you’re not really not the pilot of your life.

And yet, despite the fact that financial gurus advise against retiring during the Coronavirus, I cannot break the promise I made to myself to retire from government work at the first opportunity. So less than 100 days from today, I will retire. Which is not to say I will leave the state under the current circumstances.

At the moment, I’m sitting outside on my balcony waiting for the carpet cleaning man to finish his work. With absolutely no end in sight of the current pandemic, I’m determined to make the best of it and launch my new courses from my  home. I’m turning a tiny little closet underneath the stairway into a recording studio. The former bedroom closet will be part of my home office and I’ve created a filming station by turning a bookcase sideways.

Hopefully by my birthday -week after next,- my home office and recording studio will be set up.

I’m grateful Covid is sparing me a retirement party. I’m too curmudgeon-y for that. I am grateful that I can let go of having a full-time schedule In probation and a mostly full-time schedule in the evenings to reinvent my life. And I am so grateful to have a sense of where I want to be professionally and personally in the next five years or so.

Everything else will just have to unfold.

I’ll be setting up a Facebook live on my birthday, August 11 in the morning  (6:30AM Alaska time) on my author Facebook page. Feel free to join me. Because I’ve learned that when we’re under duress, it’s critical that we create our own fun. I hope you’ll be part of mine.

How have you learned to adapt over the past many months?

If you’re reading this, you’ re muscling through challenging times. Let’s continue to do it together. Thanks for being with me.

—Lizbeth

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