Although there are still a few weeks left in 2013, this year will stand out for me as the year of “the end” because I’ve experienced a number of various endings.
The biggest ending of course was retiring in July. When you’re 22 and just graduating college, the idea of retirement seems so far off. But when I look back at the 40 years since then, it seems like the time flew by. I guess that’s because we cannot remember 40 years of living, just certain highlights such as a new job, moving, getting married, etc. Retirement is both an ending and a beginning and I’m looking forward to the latter.
Related to retiring is the end of house payments. When we bought the house in 1989, I realized there’d be significant savings by paying extra principal in the early years when most of the payment is for interest. Just a few hundred dollars a year could reduce the loan period by a year. Rather than pay closing costs to refinance at a lower interest rate and begin a new 30 year loan, we just made additional principal payments and paid the loan off in 24 years instead of 30. That saved thousands of dollars which we put towards all our travels.
This month I ended the only credit card I had with an annual fee. It was a Southwest Airlines rewards card that I had for a good 15 years and was the oldest credit card I owned. Now that I’m retired, we probably won’t travel as much as we used to and I couldn’t justify the $69 annual fee when I was no longer earning a free ticket each year as I used to. I read somewhere that your credit score is partially based on the “age” of your credit card history and so you should not cancel your oldest credit cards. But, I’m not looking for new credit cards; I have four “no annual fee” rewards cards and all the credit I can imagine ever needing.
My status as a “senior” is resonating with me because this is the end of eating with all my own teeth. I lost a second rear molar a few months ago and will soon have a partial denture. Thank goodness I have dental insurance. The savings amounts to about 30 months of premiums.
Another ending is 62 years without surgery. I’ve been diagnosed with underactive bladder (which is not as common as overactive bladder). It may be complicated by a benign enlarged prostate so I’ll be having surgery for that in the next few months. The hope is that relieving the flow constriction caused by an enlarged prostate will allow my “lazy” bladder to empty enough to resolve the “retention” problem.
I’ve been healthy most of my life. I hope these two health issues are not the beginning of an annoying trend.
On a bittersweet note, this year is also the end of my high school alumni group’s formal existence. We decided that the principal reason for our organization – regular reunions – has disappeared. Which is good news. Good news because planning an “all classes” reunion every three years was a tremendous undertaking.
I’ll claim partial “blame” for the organization’s demise. After attending my first reunion in 1995, I was in a group of 70’s alums who didn’t want to wait three years for the next reunion. I volunteered to organize a reunion for the 70’s classes in my second home – Vegas. We began doing these every other year and they included a few three- night cruises.
Other classes took note and began organizing their own “decade” reunions. Soon, the classes of 60’s, 70’s and 80’s were holding their own reunions at least every other year. The classes of 45-55 hold a reunion every year. Even the “overseas” alums went into reunion mode with a number of “Euro reunions.” There also have been a couple of reunions “down under” (Australia and New Zealand.)
As the group’s webmaster, I’ve decided to continue the website as a clearinghouse for reunion information and other information of interest to alums. Since the alumni website is already hosted on my personal website server, the only additional cost is the annual domain name fee and that is negligible.
Take it away Jim….