I’ve yet to begin this post, and already lambasted for being a complainer. It’s a hot topic between us. I want to share how life throws us interference. He wants me to focus on the wonder of it all. We are living THE dream of millions, how dare I not appreciate every inch of it.
Please do not get me wrong, but here are my lessons on the road, courtesy of the school of hard knocks:
- TAXES: Apparently four months of paycheck deductions, does not cover 12 months of Federal expectations. 35 years of payroll deductions sheltered me from this reality. I am facing penalties as well as 3% interest on amount due. Ouch! And, there’s probably a whole lot of “DUH” in there too. I have never used the word naïve to describe myself, but it may be fitting on this point. Commercials about tax refunds anticipate you have been paying taxes all year, because for the most part, you are expected to be paying taxes all year; and, you really pay, if you don’t! LESSON: Pay taxes quarterly.
- OUTDOOR VENUES≠DOG FRIENDLY: Birds, raccoons, and cats are free to relieve themselves in abandoned or forgotten cemeteries, but dogs are not. It’s a bummer driving even 5 miles out of your way to see a landmark, and discover your pooch isn’t allowed. Take the Hoover Dam for example, or the Alamo, or the outdoor fairs that don’t welcome Rover. Several National Parks have extremely tight dog restrictions – essentially they are not allowed in developed areas, on trails, even back country – OK, I’m here to tell you dogs really don’t like parking lots. LESSON: Don’t assume anything, and do your research.
- TWO YEAR CONTRACTS ARE GIMMICKS: My two year contract wrapped up a few months ago and I was surprised my bill went down $20/month. That “free” phone cost $480 (it is an iPhone 4s) And, then, there is the totally pointless contract I wrapped myself in, for a mobile wifi hotspot, called a MiFi. After month 4, I learn you can use your cell phone as a hotspot. That one will cost me about $300 for a completely unnecessary product. (Dang it!) LESSON: pay attention to the fine print. Ask many questions before entering in any contract.
- HEALTHCARE: I’ve spent more time on the phone for Healthcare, than I have with any doctor. And, a zip code can dramatically change how much you pay for coverage. I have received a couple rounds of, letters confirming coverage, then denying coverage, then confirming, then a letter asking ME for clarification. Argggh. LESSON: don’t move, don’t change circumstance, and don’t quit your job. (Just kidding on that last one, but… the time on the phone is painful!)
- ROUTINE: A life absent of routine, makes routine-things, difficult. For example, I used to go to the gym at 5:30 a.m., 5 days a week. That was the best time for me. Now, with limitless opportunity, I am having an impossible time committing to exercise. Routine establishes a time to focus on enjoyable hobbies too. I miss working in a yard, miss my weekly friend gatherings, miss the backgammon competitions… LESSON: New disciplines are required when living this lifestyle – I have work to do!
So many lessons. I’ll be moving forward a little wiser now… that’s a gift, and, that’s the happy