Living rich.

What’s that???

While struggling with an early retirement, I came across an excerpt of Michael Pollan’s Living Rich. I still have it, and I read it from time to time. I have to admit that his writing has helped me make the difficult transition into retirement. And I continue to read the excerpt over and over again to remind myself to be grateful because not everyone is fortunate enough to retire.

Living rich has nothing to do with money. It is making the right choices in life for yourself. And it doesn’t always mean sticking to a 9-to-5. Today, there are so many choices that can be made in the workplace. Work with your employer and find a better way that will work for you. It is not unheard of to work different hours or take time off for family.

Living rich means living a good life, and it means finding your own way to make life work for you. Money is money, and you can still live life without being a slave to it.

As for retirement? Don’t get sucked in by the hype or feel guilty that you didn’t have enough money to fund your retirement.  I am living proof that you don’t need a million to retire. And I am sure there are many others like me.

I have been retired for over 12 years. Although most people tell me that they would not have any problem retiring, I was the oddball who had a hard time with retirement because I had planned to work until I was 65. I am a Boomer. I was born in 1958, and I worked my way through college using my writing and photography skills. Because work was plentiful back then, I had enough part-time work so that I didn’t need student loans.  I stay home with my parents, paid for my college education and collected art pottery and antiques.  Those were the days!

I am born under the sign of Gemini. As far as that goes, I am actually two people. I buy for two. I am restless enough for two, and I have this tendency to wander. I can be charming when I want to be, and I can talk my way out of a parking ticket when needed. I love to travel, and would spend my last dime on it. I love the ocean because it is unpredictable and open to change. People have always fascinated me, and I want to know what makes an individual tick.

At home, I love to cook and garden. I feel at peace when I’m around dogs and horses. I enjoy meeting family and friends over breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Publishing a book is a lifelong dream of mine, and I must say that I’m getting closer to my goal.  Or maybe not.  I am forever the Queen of Distractions.  That’s my M.O.

Writing comes easy to me. It is my best way to communicate, and I have been writing since I could hold a pencil.

Since I am restless and have the attention span of a gnat, I can’t say that I stuck to a career. I continue to chase. And ways I’ve supported myself and my dreams have included positions as an illegal farm laborer, newspaper reporter, editor of a statewide newsletter, clerical worker, correctional officer, and youth correctional counselor. When I got tired of the work or the people (or both), I gave myself permission to move on.

I returned to writing in 2010 after taking online classes in 2009. I know this sounds like a real bad case of Writer’s Block over the years, but writing has always been a friend of mine. Something like an old boyfriend that you feel comfortable enough to keep tabs on!

SheRetired began on Blogspot. When I got the notice that my abandoned blog was not being noticed by the Google gods, Amazon and an adoring audience who paid me $5 per 1,000 views, I wanted to leave that behind and experience WordPress.  I did try content writing (the mills) for a year, but I decided that it wasn’t for me.  I don’t believe in making these so-called online writing sites rich because writing in volume and for pennies is beneath me.  Part of the reason why I am retired is that I am a published writer, journalist, and photographer.  I am a so-so graphic and layout artist.  But most of my writing experience also guaranteed me job security and benefits.  I started collecting magazine and book rejection slips when I was 12.  As far as the business of writing goes, I earned paid experience right out of high school as a freelancer.  There are many ways that writers make money with their writing, but my passion for writing is all about bringing joy to me.  When you want to sell your writing, you will also have to answer to a copywriter, an editor and maybe an agent or publisher.  This is only the beginning.  As with anyone who has creative talent, making money is a lot tougher because most people won’t pay you what you’re worth.  And you can’t put a price on my major passion in life.

Yes, I can say that I am a dinosaur in this technology world, but at the same time, I’ve seen a lot of wannabees online who can’t cut it as writers.  I know because I am a writer.  I can spot the sloppy mistakes.  If I were to pick up my red pen and edit poor writing, I would be ruthless.

I cannot and will not be bought when it comes to the craft.  I will not lie just to sell you something so that I can get paid in pennies for it.  That is just not my style.  I am always searching for honest writing, so I start with myself.

Now, I feel more comfortable writing for myself. I am writing for the pure joy of it.  Making money is nice, but it’s not a major goal of mine because I did earn a pension that takes very good care of me. I know how stressful it is to make money through writing. From the time I was in my teens, I always freelanced and paid for my toys with my day job. There was no way I felt that I could support myself through my writing back then, and there is no way I’m going to make a go of it during my retirement.

To be honest, I don’t feel the extreme need to prove myself as a writer.  Or as a woman.  I started SheRetired as a way to record my retirement. And my goal is to have fun with it!

I will always be looking for ways to save money and making retirement more enjoyable.

Join me in the chase!


  1. The Belmont Rooster · November 11, 2013

    Arlene, I just nominated you for The Liebster Award. You can follow this link to tell you what to do next: http://thebelmontrooster.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/the-liebster-award/
    Congradulations and good luck!

    • Arlene Poma · November 11, 2013

      Thank you, Lonnie! I’ll follow-up on your link.

  2. Dorset explorer · November 12, 2013

    Just dropped into your blog and found it very interesting. I’m in my very late 50s and retired two years ago. Like you I started blogging, as a record of this important transition. You seemed to have nailed retirement. Congratulations! (Must remember to bring my camera with me more often!)

    • Arlene Poma · November 13, 2013

      I have to admit that I had a horrible time with retirement because I retired on a Comp (on-the-job) injury. There was no closure. Writing helps a lot. For me, writing has always brought me comfort. It still does. I encourage you to keep writing. Not everyone will see retirement. Also, keep a camera with you. People love to see photographs to go with the writing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kicked myself for missing some good shots. Things happen. People do funny things. Wild animals come out when they want to. Then there’s always the landscape shots. Thank you so much for your comments. Now, I love being retired. My blog is a promise to myself that I’m not going back to work. I have all that I need.

  3. candidshot2000 · November 21, 2013

    I am glad that you are faring well with your retirement, You are right. Living rich is not about having millions in our pocket but the amount of joy in our hearts in whatever situations we are in. It does look like you have had great adventures in your life. You had supported your schooling by working hard and you always chase your dreams and want. It look like yu are a very strong woman. I hope I can be like you — chasing and fulfilling dreams

    • Arlene Poma · November 21, 2013

      Thank you so much for your comment! I encourage you to set your goals and chase after your dreams. Make things happen for you–don’t wait for them. You are so right about me. I pretty much do what I want. Retirement has become icing on the cake for me. I’ve learned to live my life without having any regrets. I wish you the best!

  4. forestmtnhike · December 18, 2013

    Hi Arlene! I am enjoying your blog! Your butter cookies with Lavender recipe looks delicious! I will give them a try sometime. The pictures on that post look really nice. Thank you for sharing with us!! Have a great holiday season! ~Rose 🙂

    • Arlene Poma · December 18, 2013

      Rose, thank you for the follow. I enjoy your blog because I am a big fan of dogs, chickens, crafts, and life in the country. The butter cookies with lavender are easy to make, so I hope you enjoy them. Happy holidays to you and your family.

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