REDUCED AND CAPTURED – The way life feels these days …

It’s not losing weight, at least not in any literal sense. It’s more like a world in which I feel like there is less of everything. There’s less money because this is one of the things that come with retirement. You get “retirement money” — which remains the same forever no matter what happens to the economy.

Your life has nothing to do with the economy. An upswing in employment is meaningless when you are past employment. A jump in the Dow is hilarious if you have nothing in the market. You’ve got a pension — however ridiculously small it may be — and social security which is shrinking when everything else is rising.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

You will never get a raise or a bonus. It doesn’t matter if your house is falling down or your car died or you can’t afford medication for your chronic ailments.  Your social security raises are so tiny they don’t represent a single hit on a bank machine to get some walking-around money. And you don’t get bonuses. Not for Christmas, your birthday, or any other reason.

That is the meaning of “fixed income.” You will never get a raise and your income will never go up. Ever. No matter what happens to the rest of the economy.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

As for capture? You are a prisoner of age. Not because you’re too sick to do anything but because just getting through the month takes everything you’ve got. Vacation? A nice meal out? You can do it … as long as you know that by doing so, something else you need will be forfeit — like a mortgage payment or money for medications, food, and gasoline.

This will be the price you pay for anything you do that isn’t “in the budget.

Old Williamsburg

Poor, trapped, reduced and captured. It’s an interesting place to be after having spent a lifetime finding ways to enjoy freedom. Not interesting in a “good” way, either.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the world around you hadn’t gone utterly mad at the same time.  Believe me: this is not at all what I had in mind for my golden years!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

42 thoughts on “REDUCED AND CAPTURED – RDP#28 AND #FOWC – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. You said it, but looking around I see some families that can do it with all the treats that go with it. they can still afford a big car, an expensive house, all the best that money can buy. Of course we know why, but we say nothing, just grin and bear it. Our wages do stay the same. Sometimes the government have a big debate about increasing pensions and then they discover they cannot afford it, but if they increase the age of pensioners you can do it. In a way I am glad I am now out of the system, at least I do not have to get worked up about that. I know what I have and just have to manage.


    1. The problem is, seniors and the poor suffer on the backs of the rich, who just got an enormous tax break. A few of the rich are philanthropic and compassionate, but many are not. And it’s shocking how little Social Security recipients have to live on. If we had a more egalitarian society, it would be some comfort, but in fact we are moving in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, our working kids and grandkids are having Social Security taken out of their paychecks, but may never get it back.


  2. Since there’s not a lot I can do about any of it, in any direction, I basically pull my head into my shell and find a book to read. I do NOT wring my hands over the POTUS latest declaration, blame, or fib, because eventually there will be a new set even more ridiculous than the last one.
    I have a limited hope that the Dems and most importantly the Republicans are beginning to struggle out from under (I suspect they’re in a kind of time warp shock too) and make noises like “help…” .

    But like the night long winters ago when my mother got angry with me for not wading through 4 feet of snow to come to her rescue and somehow remove the icicles from her roof, her only response then, before she slammed the phone down was, “AT LEAST YOU CAN COME OVER HERE AND HELP ME WORRY”…there was nothing to do, and I did it.


      1. We have a case of soup, and a lot of organic coffee that I bought when I was still drinking caffeine in March. Some day it might come in handy. We had old coffee beans that I kept in the freezer for five or more years, and they actually weren’t so bad when they got ground–a little lacking, but not spoiled.

        Lentils from the co-op are a buck or two a pound, and go very far.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No co-op. But lentils are still cheap. Pity no one likes them. We don’t eat a lot and that really helps keep our food prices low. We probably eat less than half what we ate a few years ago and nobody drinks. THAT helps too!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I eat less and less myself, and we don’t drink, so I agree it makes things so much cheaper. My husband is used to being in New york City for work, so tends to buy the more-expensive quicky junk, whereas i always used to cook for myself. For a few years we took care of his mother’s condo, which had a microwave, and we wasted more money on premade crap that heated quickly. I refuse to have one now here, since we would fall back into worse habits.


            1. I use the microwave for baking potatoes and reheating leftovers. I did invest in a small, countertop oven which has reduced our electric bill by half. There’s only two of us, so pretty much everything fits in the little overn and I don’t have to turn on the big one. The one we got fits pretty much anything I bake including a 12″ pizza and small cakes 😀

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I have one of those little oven/toaster ovens too, and we seldom use our oven. They left the original oven and thing hanging from above–I forget the name–from 1962 here, and replaced the stove itself with a modern one, so it looks ye-olde but actually works.


  3. I think it’s why my 87-year-old mother gambles obsessively, to the point that her substantial losses from her Social Security and savings go on her tax return as gambling wins and losses. She thinks it’ll magically make it better, and a family friend of ours did indeed win a million in the lottery a couple of months back. they gave him about $600,000.00 of the million, and that seems helpful to someone who is maybe 60 or 65+ as he is, but it still ain’t the millions they suggest we should have all saved to live out another few decades.


    1. I always laugh at what they say we were supposed to save for retirement. We might have had a more luxurious retirement, assuming the level of savings was ever doable at all, but we’d have had a miserable life until then. At least we had fun and did interesting things.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think that’s what matters, to have enjoyed. So often people have hard lives and not many good memories, and then the poor folks die of stress-related illnesses and never get the big retirement they dreamed of. Of course, the combination of good now and good in the past and good in the future might be ideal!


          1. Understood. We have been charitable and it certainly helped sometimes. You never know what good things can happen though, especially if you’ve been good–maybe Santa or someone will be good to you too!


  4. Yup. I’m looking forward to a skimpy retirement too, not that things are lush now. And it’s because I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to become an engineer or lawyer on my father’s dime, I guess, or marry a wealthy man when I was young & pretty. My own bad/unlucky choices led me here. 😢


    1. You know? There’s always more than a little luck in the way things work out. Choices too, of course, but also luck. I didn’t WANT to be a teacher and I doubt I’d be in a better position had I chosen that work. We made some bad choices. Garry made bad choices and I lost much of my money in divorces. Funny how on TV women always make out well in a divorce, but in reality, it’s not usually true. Women almost always wind up with very little and men get most of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, at least the concept of retirement still exists. I’m not so sure that will be the case when I reach those years, so I hope I can still use my box cutter with arthritis…


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