This post will describe the final chapter of my life, which will be ongoing until…the inevitable end that we all come to sooner or later. As always, the purpose of documenting my life in this way is to accomplish the following goals: (1) to teach you some English words, (2) to document my life for self-reflection purposes, and (3) to provide you some insight into how you can avoid the same mistakes I have made so that your life has a happier outcome than mine likely will have.
I am currently 63 years old. I could retire now for smaller monthly retirement payments, but I am trying to delay official retirement until I am 66, when the monthly payments will be substantially larger. So I find myself in a kind of limbo. “What is limbo?” you might ask. Limbo is a place that you don’t want to be. In the Christian religion, Limbo is a place between Heaven and Hell, a type of “holding cell” for those who don’t fit into the nice clean categories of 100% good or 100% evil. Outside of religious context, we use limbo to mean an ill-defined, indeterminate, nebulous, unpredictable state, place, or condition maybe, that doesn’t fit neatly into any particular category.
My particular limbo I shall call “quasi-retirement”. It looks like retirement and acts like retirement but it is not retirement because I am not drawing any retirement payments yet. So I can describe my current limbo situation as “quasi-retired with neither job nor retirement income”. The truth of my current situation is that Chapter 9 has finished but Chapter 10 hasn’t really begun yet, so I could say I am in “Chapter 9.5”. Do you see the problem? Are you beginning to understand limbo? I am in a nonexistent chapter, a place that I am not meant to be. If you try to find me in a book as Chapter 9.5, you will not find me there. It’s like Platform 93/4 in the Harry Potter books. It shouldn’t exist, yet for a select group of magical people, it does. Extenuating circumstances have conspired to dump me into my current state of limbo.
Weighing the pros and cons of my situation presents an ugly picture. The single pro is that I don’t have to commute to work and be told what to do for one-third of my remaining, diminishing lifetime. The cons are many: I will have no income for at least two-and-a-half more years (if I can delay my retirement as I desire to). I have many large debts to pay in addition to many smaller expenses such as food, clothes, lodging, utility bills (electricity, water, sewage, trash removal). Without an income, I cannot afford medical or life insurance, gasoline for my car, vacations that require travel, etc.
The good news is that I am not insolvent yet. I have a small amount of savings that will pay my expenses and debts for about nine more months. Then I will have my first encounter with failure — an obstacle that I cannot overcome, an enemy that I cannot defeat. What will I do when that time comes? I don’t really know because I have never before in my life not had enough money to pay my bills. It will be a new experience for me. I don’t expect it to be pleasant. My debtors (or creditors) will want their money, and I won’t have any money to give them. We have a saying: You can’t get blood from a turnip. This means that you can’t get from something what that something doesn’t have to give you.
Of course, they can take me to court and sue me but… they can’t get blood from a turnip. I’m afraid I may have to pay money that I can’t afford to pay to a lawyer to help me declare bankruptcy. I have heard of people and companies doing this before, but I have no direct experience or knowledge in how to go about it or how it will affect my life subsequently.
So looking on the bright side, the silver lining if you will, new experiences are coming my way, like someone shouting “Fire in the hole” …, and I am in the hole.
I have never asked (or begged) for anything in my life from others; it is not in my nature to do so. However, at this stage of my life, my options have become very limited. So, if you should happen to know any rich, philanthropic people, I must humbly admit that any donations would be appreciated. I can try to offer donors some kind of training service to return the favor.