FPQ: Satisfaction

Fandango’s Provocative Question #76 is a very personal one, really. I always feel compelled to be as honest as possible. Here it is:

Are you satisfied with your life at the moment. If so, what is it that brings you the greatest satisfaction? If not, what might you do to achieve satisfaction in your life?

Sorry – I couldn’t resist including this. It’s what I always think of when I hear “satisfaction.”

I could answer this question easily without going into detail, but since you asked, I will take the risk of sounding like a whiny, privileged white person.

Five years ago I joined my husband in retirement. With decent income coming in from pensions and investments, we did not need to worry about money, although I continued to budget because I was used to doing it. We had several options for how to live going forward. We could:

  1. Just stay where we are and travel as much as possible.
  2. Become “snowbirds,” going to Arizona for the winter.
  3. Move to another country entirely. (my favorite option, actually!)

Those were the three options I had in mind, but Dale added another one:

4. Move into a retirement community which will take care of us but gobble up most of our income. Meaning, cutting back on travel until our 10-year annuity matures and gives us more income.

I resisted this idea as long as possible. Both of us have arthritic knees so staying in our 2-story home with laundry machines and Dale’s “office” in the basement was become untenable. I suggested we start looking to sell our house and move into a condo. That way, we could stay in the same town, with our kids nearby, and we’d get rid of an awful lot of stuff.

But then our daughter and her new husband decided they wanted to rent our house and buy it eventually.

To prepare for that, I stepped up pressuring Dale to make a decision on one of the before-mentioned options. My sister and brother-in-law, meanwhile, had moved to a nice retirement community in Arlington Heights, and after looking at several places like it, we chose the same community. What an advantage, having my sister nearby! However, I had to give up the fight to move into a condo in order to be able to travel.

Don’t get me wrong – I like it here very much. Those of you who read my blog have seen many photos that I post of the nature on campus. The grounds are beautiful. But in order to move here, we had to take out two loans so we literally have very little in our account at the end of each month.

Which brings me back to Fandango’s original question. The thing I love and desire more than anything else in the world is to travel, while I still can. I’m still relatively young and able-bodied. My husband, while several years older, is also in pretty good shape after recovering from quadruple bypass surgery last year. We try to exercise as many times a week as possible, which is now mostly walking.

So, am I satisfied with my life? Yes and no. I haven’t traveled outside this country for a little under a year now, and I’m chomping on the bit to do so. But now with the pandemic and such poor handling of it on the part of our federal government, we can’t go to most to Europe, and probably would be required to spend two weeks in quarantine in order to go to other places we’d like to go. And I’m a bit scared of taking a road trip because Illinois is one of the best states right now in terms of getting Covid under control (thank you, Gov. Pritzker!). Cases are rising rapidly in many states, including at least one that borders Illinois.

So most likely, we wouldn’t be traveling now anyway. And really, I’m grateful now to be living here. Our meals are delivered to our door each day, everyone has been tested for Covid-19 and not a single resident tested positive, which is better than any of the other retirement communities/nursing homes/senior living facilities in this area, and we have a lovely campus with landscaped grounds and two lakes. I find much joy in walking over to West Lake to watch the swans, geese, and duck families, and I always hope to see the heron than drops by almost every day. So, yes, I am satisfied now with our living situation.

What brings me the most satisfaction right now is being able to pursue my interests without having to worry about time and money, spend time in nature, and being able to see the kids and their cats and spend time with part of my family.

The unsatisfied part of me desires two things: travel (which is impossible right now) and a grandchild. Neither our daughter & son-in-law nor our son plan to have kids.

I am also unsatisfied with myself, a lifelong struggle. I’m very critical of myself and I hate that I don’t do all the things I want and should, that is, to take advantage of the opportunities I have right now. I waste too much time playing games on my smart phone.

But I can’t have everything and I know that I am lucky to have a good husband, family nearby, and money for the future. If I have the patience to wait – wait for Covid-19 to go away, wait for the sale of our house, and wait for more income to travel – I will have a very satisfying life. So I am basically satisfied with my life, but right now I’m bored and restless – like millions of other people right now!

Also, I want the fitness center to reopen because I need to lose some weight!

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SYW: On Parental Discipline, Time Wasting, Braces, Pizza Boxes, and the Coronavirus Pandemic

It’s time for a new set of questions from Melanie’s Share Your World.
Questions:
On A Scale Of 1-10, How Strict Were Your Parents?
This is relative. My parents were not strict in the sense that they never used corporal punishment (except one of the few times that my dad got angry, he chased me with a hairbrush! But he never used it). They ruled by consistent expectations. There were certain things we were obliged to do – not just chores, but for example, we all had to take seven years of piano lessons. We were obliged to call other adults that were not relatives by their title and last name (e.g. Mrs. Smith), especially friends of my parents. Still, being the youngest of five, I was spoiled and so was my brother, who was the only boy.

Their expectations were that we should live up to their values of respect, courtesy, civility, speaking clearly and correctly, getting an education, etc.. Just a scolding was often enough to stop an inappropriate behavior, but if the behavior was more serious, and many times when my brother and I got into fights, my mother would lock us in our rooms. There was a little metal hole attached to the doorframe and a hook attached to the door. Sometimes they would just tell us to go to our rooms.

What Wastes The Most Time In Your Day To Day Life?
Playing games on my phone, especially Words With Friends.

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Do They Bury People With Their Braces* On? (* “braces” in this scenario are those metal bits they put on people to straighten their teeth. I realize “braces” are also some item of clothing that I believe men wear to keep their socks up or something. I’m talking about the teeth option).
I really don’t know. I’ve never seen it, but then I try to avoid looking at a corpse in a coffin. The only young person I know who died around the time he might have had braces (age 12) was my nephew, and he didn’t have them. That was either because his teeth were straight or because he’d been battling brain cancer for two years and braces were the last thing on his parents’ minds.

Why Does A Round Pizza Come In A Square Box?

Have you ever seen a round box? OK, hat boxes used to be common, but now it’s very rare to see a round box, especially one as wide and flat as a pizza. I imagine round boxes are more difficult to make as well as to dispose of. A rectangular box can be broken down and flattened, making it easier to store as well as to recycle.

Gratitude: Share something you are grateful for right now. I know that’s a tough question. It helps to share those bright bits with folks though, because many of us are seeing through an increasingly dark glass.
I am grateful for all the people who help in any way to alleviate or combat the coronavirus pandemic. That includes those on the front lines – doctors and nurses – as well as people who can sew making masks. I’m grateful for anyone with the ingenuity and courage to do what they can to make others’ life easier. I’m grateful for people like my husband who always have an encouraging remark for everyone they encounter during this crisis and who remember to call family and friends just to check in.

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