My aunt and I spent the past weekend in Friendswood, visiting Mobley cousin Maxine. Maxine is a fellow genealogist and also spent many years as head of a major genealogical library. She and I share many interests and both chose the path of career over marriage and children. After enjoying the comforts of her home for a couple of days, I am newly inspired with regards to the kind of retirement I would like to have.
Her 4-bedroom home is big enough to house her living comforts as well as her hobby of genealogy. She has a large master suite where she sleeps. One bedroom is her guest room and is filled with family antiques and Victorian ambience. The two smallest bedrooms are devoted to her research, with the walls lined in bookshelves and file cabinets. She has a work table in one room, where the majority of her reference books are housed in floor to ceiling shelves. Her desk and computer are in the other, along with more shelves that hold her family notebooks. The walls of the hall are filled with family pictures and her certificates of membership in various lineage societies.
I felt completely at home. I considered curling up on the floor of the research room when my eyes got too heavy to keep open, about midnight. I wisely decided to enjoy the comforts of her guest room. But I was back in the research room at 6:30 am and had located several items of interest before I heard sounds of life from the others. (I'm normally up at that time of day, so it's not as weird as it sounds.)
I admire Maxine for making her home a retirement haven for herself. It has given me ideas for my own retirement years. I'm going to stop feeling guilty about the amount of space in my home that is devoted to my research. I'm going to stop feeling guilty about the amount of miniatures and dollhouse kits that are taking up space in my home and my garage. I'm going to go ahead with my idea of turning one of my smaller bedrooms over to my dollhouses. (It's practically there already, anyway.) I'm going to go ahead with my idea to add more bookshelves to my house. I'm going to keep purging my house of furniture I don't really like and concentrate on showcasing my antiques and family heirlooms. I'm going to fill my living space with comfortable chairs for reading.
Because what is retirement for anyway? It's your reward for working your youth away. You should be able to spend your retirement years doing what you like to do. Which, in my case, involves family history and dollhouses. And little dogs. I might even knit a little in one of those comfy chairs.
I have a dream. And it's getting clearer.