Rural Retirement

I hear a lot of people talk about moving when they retire. They want to head to a third world country to get the biggest bang for their buck. Or they talk about moving way out in the boonies, where housing prices are lower and the cost of living, in general, isn’t as costly. These ideas make sense, but there are several factors to consider.

First and foremost, to my mind, is healthcare. The older you get, the more prone you are to catastrophic health issues. Do you have quick access to a hospital if you have a heart attack or stroke? More importantly, is it a hospital you feel you can trust to give you the best care? It’s all well and good to live in a shack on an island in the middle of the south Pacific, but it would be unfortunate to have to fly 3,000 miles to cope with an unexpected allergic reaction to coconuts.

Another thing to consider is the isolation factor. The older you get, the more isolated you become. Younger people get impatient with your slower pace and your antiquated opinions and your oft-repeated stories. That seems to be a part of the circle of life. But do you want to isolate yourself even further by putting miles between yourself and your family and friends? Sure, Skype exists, but it doesn’t feel as good as a hug.

Also, it’s important to remember that rural locations don’t have as much ready access to the services you might well need. Counseling. Grief support. Adult Protective Services. Home health aids. Tow trucks. Public transportation. Grocery stores. Maids. Airports. Libraries. Pizza delivery. While it’s possible to get by without these things, it’s a lot less pleasant.

The thing that would drive me the most crazy would be the boredom. And boredom, combined with isolation, can lead to depression. I never thought I’d say this, but you can only read so many books, especially if your eyesight is failing. You can only play so many games of solitaire, or watch so much TV.

I’d miss being able to go to restaurants and concerts and movies and festivals. I’d miss having options. I don’t want to bury myself in a casket before my time. I will want to continue doing things when the mood strikes, even if it doesn’t strike as often as it once did.

Yes, it’s a great idea to stretch your retirement dollar, but look before you leap. The sacrifice you make may be more extreme than you intended. You get what you pay for. Find a healthy balance.

Rural Retirement

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Deeply Shallow

There’s nothing more annoying to me than someone who is intentionally ignorant or oblivious. Especially when that person thinks it’s amusing or charming. You were given a brain. Use it.

At this particular time in our nation’s history, as the bumper sticker says, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” Yeah, I know. Outrage is no fun at all. It’s exhausting, to be honest. It is understandable that you need to take a break from the news now and again. But to intentionally block it out as a matter of course, all while sitting on your hands and doing nothing, is unconscionable.

For God’s sake, vote. And take the time to educate yourself before doing so. If you don’t vote in 2018 and then complain about your healthcare being taken from you, I reserve the right to personally slap the white off your teeth.

I know it’s tempting, and rather comforting, to just tiptoe through the tulips while humming quietly to yourself, but while you are doing that, important things are happening all around you. And a lot of it, lately, is a threat to those very tulips that you’re treading upon.

Don’t brag about your ignorance. It’s not a good look. And it’s actually becoming a hazard to the health and safety of everyone on this planet.

Wake up.

tulips

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Why I Love Obamacare

As an abysmally underinsured American, for the past decade I’ve been acutely aware of the passage of time. Every day that went by felt like it was one day closer to whatever catastrophic health problem was going to take me down. The company I work for thought it was decent and fair to provide its employees with insurance that had a 3,500.00 cap. I always felt as if I were one sprained ankle away from joining the ranks of the uninsured, and it terrified me.

Once, I tripped off a curb and as the asphalt was rushing up to meet me, instead of thinking, “What can I do to prevent this?” or “This is going to hurt,” my very first thought, even prior to impact, was, “I can’t afford this.” That shouldn’t be the case.

Another time I broke one of the bones in my foot and couldn’t afford treatment, so I hobbled around for six months on a cane while it improperly healed. I can feel it every time the weather gets cold, and that will be an ache that I’ll get to experience every winter for the rest of my life. That shouldn’t be the case.

Oh, believe me, I tried to get individual insurance, but due to pre-existing conditions, they wanted to charge me 900.00 a month. That shouldn’t be the case either. Before taxes, I only make 1700.00 a month, and I pay 700.00 a month in rent. That would leave me less than a hundred bucks a month for food, gas, utilities… Give me a break.

Could I get some kind of financial or medical assistance? Nope. I make too much money. My friends in other countries are shocked by my situation.

So when I finally, finally paid my first monthly premium for Obamacare and found it would cost me the same amount that I had been paying for my previous, crappy insurance, but that this coverage would be about a million times better, I hung up the phone and I got tears in my eyes. That’s one less thing to worry about, freeing me up for that pursuit of happiness that I was assured was my right according to the Declaration of Independence.

Let’s address the big old Republican elephant in the room, shall we? Yes, the website is a joke. Yes, it took me daily attempts for almost two solid months before I could get through that nightmare. But you know what? I did it. In spite of the frustration, I kept trying until I got through, because I desperately needed to succeed in this effort, and I wasn’t going to give up. It was too important.

Yes, the Republicans are flooding the media with absurd horror stories and warnings that they’ll take away your firstborn child, implant you with microchips, shuttle you off to a death panel, plaster close up photographs of your hemorrhoids on the billboard closest to your place of work, and force all the doctors in America to go bankrupt, but I’m here to tell you that Fox News and their ilk are spewing fifty gallon drums of liquefied manure.

Here’s the horror story that they don’t want to tell you. As more and more of us sign up, and as the dust settles, we’ll start to realize just how many lies we’ve been told over the years. We’ll realize that our employers have been screwing us over, and big insurance companies have been sticking knives in our ribs for decades. It isn’t Obamacare that has forced all of us off of our substandard insurance. Our insurance companies’ refusal to make the coverage meet even the most minimal requirements is what caused those jokes they called policies to disappear. The spiraling cost of medical care, the abuse of the pharmaceutical companies, and the greed of the insurance agencies wanting an ever increasing piece of the monetary pie is what’s putting the squeeze on doctors.

Once we all stop waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, worrying about the mildest of sore throats or the dullest of aches, affordable healthcare will become a regular part of our lives and it will be here to stay. All the boogeymen will crawl back under their dusty little Republican beds and life will go on. The term Obamacare will stop being a pejorative and instead will be considered a basic right. (And I’m making every effort to hurry it on its way by using it whenever possible, to de-criminalize it in people’s minds.)

Soon it will be big business waking up in a cold sweat, figuratively speaking, because they’ll have to accept the fact that if they had behaved decently in the first place, Obamacare wouldn’t need to exist. And they’ll no longer be able to hide the fact that because of their abuses, the vast majority of Americans actually want this. Really, they’ve brought it on themselves.

Whatever caused it to exist at this moment in our history, I’m extremely grateful that it does. So thank you, Mr. Obama! I know it feels like an albatross around your neck at the moment, but future generations will appreciate your courage and resolve. I can honestly say you may have just saved my life.

pro-obamacare-photo-1

[Image credit: beforeitsnews.com]

Sneaky Memes

/meem/ n. [coined by analogy with `gene’, by Richard Dawkins] An idea considered as a replicator, esp. with the connotation that memes parasitize people into propagating them much as viruses do.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/meme

I’d never even heard the term meme until I got a Facebook account, but they certainly are like parasites. More and more I’ve seen people post “quotes” on Facebook that are 180 degrees out from what you’d expect a particular famous person to say, at least in public, and yet people believe these quotes because they were pasted over that person’s photograph. You’re looking right at them. You’re reading the words, so they must have said them, right? Especially if you see quotation marks in there. But speaking from experience, if you do a little bit of checking, in most cases if it doesn’t seem true, it isn’t.

 gandhi fake quote

(This will probably go viral. I’m going to hell.)

Another sneaky way to use these memes to get your point across is by using a cute photo to get people’s attention. Which of these would make you vote for Hitler? Well, hopefully neither one, but hey, that puppy is awfully cute!

cute puppy Adolfnazi destruction meme

(Puppy photo credit: http://www.fanpop.com)

And you can also twist things around to scare people away from a certain belief.

 Death meme

(Photo credit: http://www.bubblews.com)

What it boils down to, basically, is that people will believe what they want to believe, or at the very least, what they refuse to take the time to question. In this age of ever increasing paranoia, we will have to learn to be more skeptical, and, for the love of GOD, more RESPONSIBLE about what we put out there for the world to see.