On The Horns of a Dilemma

In the beginning, I was a reader.  From the age of three, books were my friends, my companions, my drug of choice.  You want to hurt me bad?  Put me in a situation where I don’t have something to read.  For example, on one of my trips to the ER, I finished the book I always carry with me.  I told the nurse, if she didn’t want me to get into trouble, she’d better find me something to read.  She brought me a National Rifle Association magazine.  Truth!  And I read it.  Didn’t like it, but I read it.

I’m reaching the point of my life where I’m considering retirement.  Always before, that had meant to me to have the time to read and write as much as I want.  Going to foreign places for research.  Spending days in my jammies, writing deathless prose.  Curling up in my recliner with my blankie, my hot tea, and a good book.  But then I suffered a startling thought.  I won’t live long enough!

I have both of my children’s former bedrooms piled high with books, read and unread.  I also have boxes that used to hold reams of paper filled with books I’ve already read and hoped to re-read in my retirement.  Hell, I even have them stacked in the workshop where they’re probably growing mold since the space isn’t weather-proofed.

On the other hand, I have my “story” file.  That’s a list of stories and/or books I want to write.  Some of them are only an idea.  Some have character studies started and others have the first few pages written.  Allowing six months to write each and factoring in edits, promoting, etc., I figure I have to live another 30 years to get them all done.  More if I want to take showers and clean the house once a year.

So my dilemma is how can I live long enough to do complete the two things I love best?  Yes, I could split up my day so I write in the morning and read in the afternoon during the week.  Then, on the weekends, I could see my friends and family.  The only problem is my favorite authors keep putting out more great books and I keep getting all these story ideas.  What’s a girl to do???


9 thoughts on “On The Horns of a Dilemma

  1. Jackie,

    What a great problem to have! I say go with your half day plan. Write in the morning and laze away your evenings reading. But be diligent. When you go back through your story ideas, only work on the really great ones! I can’t wait to see what you crank out.

    If you need help clearing out your spare rooms, call me. I’ll come help. If you’re a pack rat, I’m the opposite. I’ll make you toss the stuff you don’t need OUT! spw

    • Thanks for the offer. My DIL made the same one. But I’m afraid I’ll lose the stuff I won’t get rid of no matter what!

  2. Hey Kramer!

    I have an even better idea. For the first 25 years of your retirement, do nothing but shameless experimentation and research. You can catch up on your reading and writing between conquests. 🙂

    Maybe you shouldn’t give up your nursing skills just yet. I hear there’s a great retirement package for nurses working the pipeline/oil rigs. 🙂


    • OMG. I hope you’re kidding. My idea of retirement is NOT nursing at all. Loved it, done it, ready to give it up. Writing and reading sounds way more fun!

  3. Oh, I hope. Remember that TWILIGHT ZONE episode with Burgess Meridith where he played a reader who never got enough time to read? He’s the only surviver of a catastrophe and just when he collected all the books he had hoped to have time to read some day, he broke his glasses. ‘Course, I thought he gave up way to soon. I’d have been searching every optomitrist’s office until I found a substitute!

  4. Jackie, you’ll figure out a schedule that allows you to do everything that’s important to you. And all those lovely books that will keep multiplying like bunnies . . .

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