Avoiding Student Loans For University

These days, we hear a lot of moaning and complaints about Student Loans. Presidential candidates are promoting “Student Loan Forgiveness”. Students who took out these loans for higher education no longer want to pay them back. They want this loan
debt forgiven.

I cannot speak as a person who
had high debt loan after college. Because I didn’t have
loans to re-pay after college. Instead, I worked several jobs during the school year to pay
for my schooling. And, I applied and obtained a small
loan which was largely forgiven if I worked for 5 years in my chosen career, nursing. Other than approximately $500,
I had no school debt. And I paid off what I owed during my first few years of working.

Financing my education by always working while going to
school was not easy nor fun,
but I did earn my degree through my own blood, sweat and tears. And my college debt
was minimal once I graduated.

I attended two expensive, small liberal arts colleges to
earn my bachelor’s of nursing degree. My parents had 3 other kids at home and could not afford to help me much financially. My mom told me from the very first that I would have to contribute significantly to my education costs. And, I did.

First of all, I applied for a nursing scholarship and got it. This scholarship helped pay for a year of tuition with the stipulation that I work for 5 years in nursing when I graduated. At that time I’d have to pay back almost $500. And I did. This was the only scholarship I applied for.

I worked ‘work study’ programs throughout my college years. First in the Education Department and then in Food Service. I worked 16 hours per week during Monday through Friday at my work study job. Then, I worked every Friday and Saturday night as a nurse’s aide at our local hospital. I slept at my parent’s house after each night shift was complete.

I also took a gap year between my freshman and sophomore years to work full-time in a hospital. All of the funds earned during that year went to tuition, room and board. My personal expenses also came from my earned wages. My parents gave me no spending money, so I took that from these wages, too. I also used this money for text books. My parents gave me no $$ for books.

During my college years I had very little time for fun. The nursing curriculum was very demanding of my time and attention. When I wasn’t studying, I was working to earn money for tuition, room and board.

I survived college. It wasn’t easy. Lots and lots of concentrated work. But, I had little college debt after graduation and I did get a full-time job as a nurse.

I wonder how many students work all of the way through college these days. It is a way of avoiding student loans.

I don’t regret my college years. I’m proud of my hard work. It was worth it. I did have fun come back into my life after college.

I retired from nursing five years ago after forty years in this profession. Nursing is a very rewarding career.

Creativity

For 50 years I have enjoyed writing poetry and prose. I have been told by some that I should publish my work. During stressful times of my life, I have found writing to be a welcome release.

Retired

I’ve been retired from nursing
nearly 5 years now. I’ve truly enjoyed retirement. I made my nursing licenses inactive and never plan to go back. I enjoy sleeping in until 8:30 every morning. I love having the freedom to come and go as I please. Each year I am traveling extensively in the U.S. with my spouse. It is such a great time in my life.

For the first 3.5 years of retirement, I individually invited 4 ladies to lunch with me each month at various eating establishments. I would go out to eat with one of them at a time. I wanted to nurture some female friendships as my spouse is 10 years older than I. If he should die before I do, I wanted to create a support network of female friends. I always enjoyed these outings and it appeared to me that these women enjoyed our time together, as well. We each shared our life, our joys, our fears, our losses and laughter. I felt good about these relationships. Most of these ladies I had met through church.

After more than 3.5 years, I realized that none of these ladies called me at all between lunches. They never asked me to join any activities. I saw on Facebook that some had parties and get-togethers. I was not included. I felt saddened and excluded. I decided to stop calling them for lunch. I no longer felt that they thought I was their friend. After I stopped calling them to join me for our monthly lunches, I never heard anything from any of them. No phone call. No email. Truly, it broke my heart. I have continued on with my life suspecting that they really never cared. Apparently, our friendships were merely a figment of my imagination and wishes. Gulp.

My husband and I continue to travel. We are very close and loving. He does not understand why anyone would not like me. I’m perplexed. But, I’m moving on.

We belong to a very large church. I do volunteer work there. For 3 years I have been a receptionist at the Congregational Care office. I’ve spoken with many of our ministers and am friendly with the all female staff. After 3 years I left this volunteer position because I didn’t feel I was using my gifts to make a difference in anyone’s life but relieving the staff of greeting all who came to their office.

The other volunteer job that I perform at church is to stuff bulletins every Friday with any insert that the pastor wants. I enjoy this social interaction and I always sit in the same place. I’ve met many nice people and will continue doing this volunteer job.

As a RN I was handed opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. I loved it and that is why I became a nurse. Retirement has robbed me of that facile ready-made, intrinsic opportunities. So, I have looked for opportunities to make a difference. I have found some.

1. Stay with a RN for a week in another state to support her while she recovered from a cardiac event.
2. Help a former choir friend who severely hurt her ankle and back. I drove her to Dr appointments and listened to her worries. Then, when her husband of 33 years rejected her, I helped her survive her divorce.
3. Helped a former co-worker who is single with Dr appointments, grocery shopping, laundry and transportation after she fell and cracked a cervical vertebrae. She was in an immobilizer for 3 months.
4. Help our daughter with her house & baby immediately after giving birth. Now, I’m her chief babysitter outside of Daycare.
5. Bulletin stuffing dec 2014 through May 2017. Began again April 2018 —> ongoing
6. Volunteer at church counseling center Jan 2016-Dec 2018 (3 years)
7. Bi-monthly Lunches with a former choir member whose spouse killed himself in Aug 2017. I listen, encourage and support her.
8. Gave $500 for Malawi wells for iThirst
9. Gave $100 to a female choir member’s husband so he could get food while she was critically ill in a hospital.

I’m currently looking for new ideas to make a difference. At this time I’m considering going to a nursing home to talk with residents.

In addition to volunteering, I am slowly going through accumulated stuff at home. Throwing out, recycling or selling as I don’t want our daughter to have to do this when I’m gone.

I’ve done some extensive writing and am thinking of writing a poetry book and an autobiography.

I am terrified that I may be left alone if my spouse should die before I do.

Retirement has been generally good to me.

Experience with A Church Lady

One day before the final Sunday of last year, I received an email from our church which had been sent to the entire congregation. In it, it asked that everyone complete their financial pledge. And, in case you wanted, there was a link you could press to complete your pledge online right now!

For some reason, that email irked me big time. We have belonged to that church for 22 years and have always met this responsibility by the end of the year. Even though I had never replied to a church email before, I sent a reply that we were up-to-date and that I found this notice irritating. 😳

That evening I received a pleasant voicemail from a female leader of the church asking me to call her back.
She called me at 7:30 pm. I should have been wary since she called me well after hours. I was surprised at the timing of the call and realized she called me from her home. It was her first day back after vacation. She began the call pleasantly telling me she received the email and she had been the one who had written the notice. She said she wanted to find out more about why I’d written my response. But, before I could respond she proceeded to defend her position and chastised me for daring to respond to her notice. She told me everyone in the congregation received that notice if they had not completed their pledge. She said that I would have gotten the notice because our pledge was not complete for the year. She was condescending and as rude in her manner as I probably had been curt in my response. I sat there flabbergasted. She explained to me that the church had not received most of its pledges in full and that that was a big concern.i thought to myself that if she responded the same way to other members of our congregation, not only might they not get paid the entire pledge, but families may leave the church.
I did not say much during that phone call, but I was polite. I guess she told me!

I wrote a conciliatory email directly to her after the phone call.. TBH, I hope I never run into her again. It was NOT a pleasant experience! And, I won’t be replying to any church email again.

A New Life Adventure!

Two weeks ago, my world was upended. Late Friday afternoon I received an email from my company that all employees over 55 with greater than 10 years of experience were asked to consider a retirement package in which incentives had been added. I am part of that group. We were told that if we should choose not to take this offer, there may be more lat offs with lesser offerings. I felt as if I’d been punched in the stomach. I had planned to stay with this company until I was ready for retirement. Now, I realized that I would be with this company until they indirectly chose my retirement date for me. I will accept their offer voluntarily.

Their offer is generous but midst all of my friends’ congratulations, I feel sadness and anxiety about the future. I believe that we will be ok, but it has been an unwelcome surprise to me.

My company has been my home and they have been good to me. For that I am grateful. So, I am entering a new phase of my life earlier than expected. I am ready and we will survive this.

These job losses are common anymore. It’s the American Way. I now know how it feels to be the object of an incentivized retirement. My heart goes out to others like me. It’s a hollow and empty feeling which I just cannot take personally. May this company survive and thrive. I have been a proud member of this community for quite a while.

I will move forward and find other ways to give back to my community. I will volunteer and find other pastimes to keep me busy. It will be an adjustment but I can do it. I have confidence in myself. If I can merely survive this past 6 years, this is a lesser stressor, I will survive this.

Run From the Crazy-Makers!

Do you know anyone in your life’s circle who does things and you think, “That is just crazy!” ???

Let me give you an example:

You are ‘friends’ with this person and they tell you how much they like to go out and do things with you. They laugh with you and tell you how much fun you are. They compliment you and really seem to enjoy your company. 

Next time you do something with them or approach them to do something, they are very cold. They say ‘yes’ and then don’t show up. They begin to not respond to your texts or messages. 

Then, the next time you go with them, they are back to the way they were in the first instance. Laughing, joking and seeming to enjoy your company 

These people and those like them are crazy-making!! Ditch them fast and don’t look back. They like to make you believe that the reason for their nutsy behavior is you!! RUN and don’t stop until you are far from them!! They put you through hell. Life is too short to experience these people. 

Been there, done that

Social Isolation for Work At Home Employees

For nearly 8  years, I have been working this work-at-home job and I must say I never realized before how much of my social needs were met by co-workers.. I miss talking to people over the water cooler, at break time or at lunch time.

There are many advantages of working at home: 10 foot commute, less wear and tear on car, stay away from the office politics, less need for a spectacular wardrobe and longer sleep times during the night…but the social isolation is a major drawback!! I do make it a point to have lunches with friends on Saturdays, but my small group Bible Study consolidated and moved to a night where I must work.So, I no longer go to that Bible Study. I once belonged to a church choir, but dropped out of that organization last fall. I do have a husband who is a constant source of pleasure. He is retired.  We have couple friends with whom  we go to dinner with on Saturday nights. I always enjoy that.

I need to find new ways of connecting with people. My job as a telephonic health coach enables me to speak with people all day long, but these are clients, not friends. I have worked at the same company for over 15 years, so I have lots of vacation days and a higher salary, which is a plus. Hard to leave those benefits/salary!!

I once found a lot of pleasure in church activities but a conflict with someone there has been a never-ending source of sucking joy from my life.

I need to get out and volunteer to make new connections. Social isolation is not good for anyone.

My job may be lost soon because our company just sent out an email last Friday to all employees over 55 offering early retirement with a short severance pay package. If we decide to tell them we are willing to quit in the next couple of weeks, we will have some incentives to do so. If we do not quit, they may lay off people without this severance package. So, my social isolation may end soon. That may be a relief! Who would ever have thought that lay offs may have a silver lining!!

Looking forward to my pending retirement! It will be fabulous!

Vulnerability and Moving On

I was most vulnerable six years ago. That is when my life was made far worse by my own actions and by those whom I THOUGHT were my friends. Now, I am stronger and trying to rebuild my life. Am forgiving these friends for their betrayal and forgiving myself, as well. Looking forward to a new day dawning and more opportunities, joy and satisfaction. 

This next Monday, I will meet with a former friend whom I felt hurt me the most. I hope we can work it out so I am not haunted every day by this great loss in my life.  Moving forward is inspirational and I will do it. I am ready.

Pray for wisdom and courage and that I find the right words during our conversation. I want each of us to leave that meeting being heard and forgiven. With the help of God, we will.

Update: Unfortunately, he came to the table in prayer and then proceeded to blast me. He came to prove he was right and I was wrong. There was no grace, no soft words and no love. Why oh why would I ever wish to return to singing with them under those conditions and lack of grace. No positives discussed. Just ripped me open again. No thanks. There are other places I will go to use my gifts. I am strong but I am not stupid. I will go where I am appreciated and loved. I have much to give my world. I have love and grace and forgiveness for him though he does not want it. I will leave this curmudgeon behind to sulk in his vitriolic juices. I wish him well.

My Father’s House

I have three good memories of my father. One is my memory as a 5 year old, chasing my father around the yard with a hose turned on. I can remember the laughter and my delight in getting him wet. The second memory is of swimming in a deep lake with my little arms tight around his neck. The third memory is of sitting at a card table in our Family Room and my father helping me with my math homework.

All of these positive memories are overshadowed by my memories of my father’s temper and violence. I had to walk on eggshells around him. His temper would flare and I would be his chief target. Even as a small child not yet in kindergarten, I can remember the wild look in his eyes, his fists, his kicks and his unrestrained anger. Little things set him off–like my watching a movie at 3 pm and he wanted me to go outside. Note to myself: Don’t voice an objection when he rushed into the room and, not saying a word, forcefully turned off the TV in the middle of a G-rated movie.

My father was not a drinker nor did he do drugs. He was a man of no patience. He was violent toward me (I was his eldest child.) with little provocation. He was not violent toward my mom nor my brothers.

When I left home to go to college, my dad treated my sister the same way with his beatings of her. When I came home from college, my sister refused to talk to me. I didn’t find out about her beatings until 40 years later when she told my eldest daughter who promptly told me.

Several years after I left home, my young husband and I were home for a holiday. I remember that my father got mad at someone else and began to yell. I couldn’t stop trembling.

My mother never interfered or stopped my father’s beatings. Perhaps she was frightened she would be next.

My father died 5 years ago of IPF…Ideopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis which is a progressive scarring of lungs until the patient no longer breathes. My mom tragically fell down her basement stairs and died a few months before my father’s IPF became worse. I was my father’s main caretaker. I treated him with kindness until his death a year later.

Because of my experience with my father, I married a kind and loving man who is a wonderful father to his children. And, I read parenting books and treated our children with loving kindness. They were never hit nor abused in any way. Our kids knew they were loved!

So, each Father’s Day , I pray that other violent parents will realize their great mistake and become a more loving parent. For the memories of the violence have never left me more than 40 years since I left my father’s house.

I Drink Little Alcohol

  I have lived six decades. Within that time period, I’ve probably had a total of 10 drinks..Five of those in one sitting when I was 21 y/o. No, I never had a hangover and I didn’t get rip-roaring drunk, either. I didn’t even throw up later. The other 5 drinks I’ve had during my lifetime were at random points in my life…just single drinks at one time.

I do not have a religious reason why I do not drink..I am not a Baptist, but a Methodist. I do not hold anything against anyone else who likes to drink. I just prefer not to drink. I don’t really like the taste of alcohol. I like the smell of beer and of wine and even of hard liquor, but I do not like the taste.

This has caused me some problems over the years as others, I believe, are uncomfortable around me since I stick to my Diet Coke.. I do not always get invited to social gatherings where there would be alcohol and I have been asked, point-blank, why I don’t drink.

Over the years, I’ve been tempted to tell people I don’t drink because I’m a recovering alcoholic.. That would put an end to the ceaseless looks and inquiries.. But, I am not a recovering alcoholic and I’m a poor liar.

After this much time, I truly doubt that I will take up social drinking.

My spouse’s only brother was an alcoholic. He died at age 40 of metastatic cancer. Truly I believe that he died of cancer because he had drunk so much of his meals over the years that his body was in no shape to fight off anything. The alcohol only diet had destroyed the ability of his immune system to destroy cancer.. At least, that is my hypothesis.

My spouse does drink an occasional beer. He also drinks some non-alcoholic beers. That is fine with me.

When I was in my 20’s I used to be given a hard time about my abstinence from alcohol and I surely thought this would STOP when I became an older adult. Sadly, it has not.

I have a lot of fun in my home and out with others without drinking. I hate having to defend my choice. Those who have never taken the time to get to know the real me because they view me as ‘different’ since I don’t drink, it is their loss. I am worth getting to know.

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