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"Plus, many employers assume if you were let-go, you must be deadwood." -FY

I am, or I was "dead wood." After years of being active, riding bikes, swimming laps, working out, diving, etc. when I was in my mid 40's I woke up one morning with painful arthritis. It literally happened overnight. Felt like I had/have two paring knives stuck in my hip joints, and my lower back has a constant dull ache.

So, I was hobbling around the UT Vet School after that and I started gaining weight because I lost focus and was inactive due to the pain; so my boss could see the handwriting on the wall and "laid me off." Her excuse was that she no longer had grant money to support my position but I'm fairly certain she could tell I was going downhill fast. So in 1998, when I was 45 years old, she laid me off.

I thought it would be easy to transition into teaching so I renewed my teacher certification which I had acquired the first time when I was an undergraduate student. Boy was I wrong. I was a disaster as a teacher. All I could think about was how much I hated it. I was a lousy teacher and the kids could tell my heart wasn't in it.

So, I just got my ducks in a row, figured out how I could make it work on what I had, and retired early in 2001 at the ripe old age of 48 years old. I had planned on working till I was 55 years old but the Universe had other plans for me. I haven't worked since April, 2001.

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When Life Gives You Lemons
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