I read an article today on Yahoo news about a 60+ year old woman living in a friend's basement apartment, while her 87 year old father traveled the world. The article went on to say how those who grew up in the Depression were more frugal, had better jobs that paid pensions, were able to save more due to lower inflation and lower unemployment, stayed in the same job all their working life and have better social security benefits than the baby boomers do today. It struck a chord. I looked over my life compared to my mothers. She had a good job, retired from it and has a pension-unheard of any more. I finally got a job with a 401K, but quit to care for my mother after her stroke. So much for that. She took cruises and had a grand time, and I am glad she did. I would like to take a cruise when I retire too. My mother never took chances, and I have. Some turned out good, some were a train wreck. Oh well. Overall, life has been very good to me. Used to, you got a job with a good company and stayed with them until you retired. Now, companies downsize-OOPS!-don't need YOU anymore! Companies used to reward their faithful employees with a pension-some of them pretty good. We have 401K, if anything at all, which is subject to the stock market ups and downs. Many watch their savings crash and burn as the economy spirals downward. We have rampant unemployment and many that do have a job are working part time or at jobs that pay less than what they used to make. There used to be manufacturing jobs-we made what we consumed-but not so much anymore. We clamor for cheap goods produced overseas. A college degree used to be pretty special, as not many could afford to go to college. A college degree was your ticket to a good paying job. Now I watch as young college graduates can't find a job, have $$$$ in college loans equal to a home mortgage. What will happen to them? This sounds gloomy, but I am not a gloomy person, so I'd better lighten it up haha. I raise a garden, keep chickens and try to stay busy. I went from working 10-12 hours a day to a dead stop. There is not much to do when watching a 90 year old.........take her to Wal Mart, the Post Office.......that about sums up all the excitement she can stand. I am climbing the walls. I am basically a happy person with a very upbeat attitude. Inactivity is driving me nuts. So I waffle between exuberance and down-in-the-dumps, which I affectionately refer to as the MULLIGRUBS. I miss going to work and having something to do everyday. It is hard to turn off the wake up and go to work habit. I am restricted to what I can do, because I can't leave my mother for very long at all-like maybe 30 minutes while I run a quick errand. I know this is the right thing to do and I see her declining, at some point, I won't be able to care for her anymore. I hope she peacefully goes in her sleep some night and never has to go to a nursing home. For awhile I cooked--A LOT. Mother is from the old school, a meat, 3 vegetables, bread and dessert. I don't cook like that, it is just too much food, and me and DH have to watch our weight. Well, stuck in the house, I cooked. I have made pies, cakes, cookies, more pies, cobblers, custards, HUGE meals, loaded the groaning table to bursting point and mother has been well fed. Unfortunately, so have we. WE are now on a diet. DH and I are grounded. There is no spontaneous "Let's go somewhere!!" We have to arrange for someone to come to the house and sit with mom. It is hard. Despite all the drawbacks, I can't put my mother in a nursing home. She is in too good of shape to stick her in a warehouse for the old. I will care for her as long as I can. So........am I happy? Most of the time, yes I am. I am a very positive person and look on the bright side. Do I chafe at my restraints? Yes, I do. I deal with it as best as I can. Doing the right thing isn't always the easy thing. I take joy in growing my garden. I read and re-read the colorful seed catalogs before making my order. I can, freeze and dehydrate the extra. We eat very well.......back to that diet thing again....... sigh...... I love having the hens, they lay delicious eggs, make me laugh at their antics and make compost for the garden. And of course, there is always BYC, SS, TEG and BYH!! This is where I am and this is what I have to deal with and I will do my best. If my best isn't good enough, too bad. I will keep my attitude up and do my best to keep me happy as well. So.....are YOU happy? Why or why not?