There is a lot to be said for habits. Many people find a sense of comfort doing the same routine, and find change or unpredictable situations difficult. And nothing is more unpredictable than the first half of 2020. Someone who kidded himself that he “thrived” on stress, I am grateful for small routines like taking the dogs for a walk. Quitting my job after I turned sixty was an adjustment we had planned for more than six months. But I still felt it “rash” for several weeks. Retirement funds tanking during this pandemic, had we not changed some habits and made prudent decisions ten years ago, might have been more uncomfortable. When I retired from a “job” I had worked fifteen years, we thought a military pension would be starting by the time I retired. (Un)predictably, the money did not start until December. By then, our financial habits changed so we were adjusting to doing more around the house and going out less. And the business my wife and I started, we predicted would give us a good income by the middle of 2020. But as with anything new, we had to adjust to new routines and business-focused habits. And money coming in long after we expected to need it. Then the Pandemic and everyone not considered “essential” found themselves without an income.
A routine of frequent visits to a dog-park and hikes in Mission Trails Park was halted by chains and padlocks and warning signs in March. We have made the switch to circuits around the neighborhood again. As April becomes May fairly soon, nobody seems to know when we go back to “normal”. As for my family, we have an uphill climb ahead of us. And we are okay with it. Unless the parks reopen sooner, that neighborhood hill is going to see a hundred-miles of foot-traffic this year (my spouse, me and two canines).