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It's been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come


Welcome to the third installment of Kelly’s Komplaints. If you’ve stuck with me this far, you must either be eminently empathetic or massively masochistic. Either way, I hope this issue brings you a certain amount of satisfaction.

A couple of weeks ago, I learned, in a very roundabout way, that my coworker had been put in charge of the prepress department a few months before. I now answered to that young guy that I had trained.

I wasn’t upset that I didn’t get the job. I didn’t even know the position was open – it’s only a two-person department. Hating my job as I do, I certainly didn’t want to add the frustrations of management to my duties.

But I was kind of pissed that I wasn’t involved in the conversation. Or even told about it for months, until it couldn’t be avoided any longer.

I didn’t know if, in a really close-to-home version of ageism, I was being maneuvered toward the door, or if it was simply a massive oversight. But I knew that I had to do something. Some kind of change had to take place.

Sometime during the COVID isolation in 2020, my wife and I started talking about retiring in Europe, or maybe Mexico or South America. A number of countries, it turned out, could support us in a decent lifestyle for a lot less than it would cost in America. Once that crazy pie-in-the-sky feeling passed, Linda and I realized that it was actually a realistic option, and one that greatly appealed to both of us.

But because of COVID and so many Americans’ resistance to intelligent and reasonable precautions, the number of cases kept rising and other countries weren’t allowing Americans in. So we were still stuck.

Rather than ranting against American stupidity (okay, I did some of that, too), we decided to do what we could to get ready while we were stuck. We subscribed to tons of newsletters about moving and investing overseas, and tuned in to several webinars. We also began looking into various ways to support ourselves remotely, online, since neither one of us wanted to wait until we had saved enough to support ourselves in our retirement, when we were too old and feeble to enjoy it. It was a lot to take in, but it kept our minds focused on our goal.

For me, my chosen method of support was, of course, writing. I subscribed to newsletters about freelance writing, how to get writing jobs, etc. I purchased an online course which featured step-by-step lessons on all of that, and they said to be prepared to bid on ten or twenty jobs, or more, before one is accepted. The first one I bid on was accepted in a few hours.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I just happened to be lucky enough to find one right off the bat that was perfect for me as far as subject matter and style were concerned, and to be honest, I submitted a number of bids after that and never heard back on them. But still, it got me fired up to continue pursuing this new life, to supplement our retirement, or even to support ourselves before retirement, if it happens to take off.

My wife and I have breakfast together every morning, and talk about whatever’s going on in our lives. The last few months, the topic has mainly been research about what countries we’ve checked out, and the pros and cons associated with them (financial, weather, taxes, etc.). More recently, it’s also begun to include the new business tracks we’re exploring. One of those involves blogging, and Linda recommended that I do a blog documenting my journey toward making a living doing freelance writing.

Well, as I was listening to her, that clicked because, well, I’m a writer, and I love writing about me. And thus the idea for this book began to take shape in my noggin. It’s mainly a way for me to track my progress, a digital journal of sorts. But if anybody else happens to read it and it helps them, inspires them, encourages them, or just gives them a laugh or two, then so much the better.

Since I’m starting this at the beginning of my journey, I have no idea how it will turn out. I’ll discover the outcome right along with you. To me, that’s kind of scary in itself. I always know how my books will end. Sometimes the characters surprise me and take a different route, but they always end up where I send them. So this is completely new territory for me.

Hopefully it’ll be fun, a wild and crazy ride toward financial autonomy and international residency. But whether it’s wild and crazy or calm and orderly, I think it’ll be fun. Or frustrating. Or terrifying.

But it’ll be real. After all, to paraphrase something that Ralph Waldo Emerson (supposedly) said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”