birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


My friend, Mary, has been asking me lately about what I plan to do when I retire. I usually shrug, and say "I have no idea." She brings this up a little too often and I know while she's busily making plans, at least mentally, I keep trying to put it on the back burner for a long, long simmer. It's not that I don't think about it. I do, but in a very abstract way...some small village in southern Spain, like Sevilla, the most idyllic place I can possibly even think about retiring in. Or possibly the south of France in Provence. Or northern California. Or somewhere on the New England coast. As she once said, "We've got less in front of us than behind us," something that has stayed with me as of late.

When my sister and I visited Sevilla about 8 years ago, we almost said it at the same time. "Let's retire here," we said joyfully as we clinked endless glasses of wine. Yet, since then, we've both acquired boyfriends, and there's also the matter of the children. We each have 3 children, now young adults, and retiring to Spain, would mean that I wouldn't get to see my grandchildren. Maybe I'm rushing things. Or overthinking, which I tend to do... often. Virtually none of our children even has a long term relationship, which brings an another onset of worries. Will any of our children "find someone and settle down?" What does that even mean anymore? As someone who spent the majority of my life living 3000 miles away from parents, it's not something I want to repeat with my own children. I want to live close to them, though there's no telling what city, or part of the country they'll end up in. Then I suppose I could live there for 6 months out of the year. But then, what about my boyfriend? Will he still be my boyfriend when I retire? Where does he fit in here? I honestly can't even see myself retiring for another 8 years, and then what? He has children too...would he want to retire to Spain? Maybe, maybe not? Then I start thinking about what little money I have on which to retire on, and I don't want to live until I'm 94 or something...I think about checking out at 82 or so.

In a perfect world, I would rent a small house in Sevilla for a few months out of the year, and rent out my apartment. It sounds so simple. People do it all the time. I could do it. I've had so many dreams during the course of my lifetime. Some have made it, though many haven't. Why not make it work? Why not make it happen and not just keep hoping? Here's hoping...

My Friend, Rick

The Peter Pan Stand