The Odyssey
It's Time to Kick the Bucket!

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Plan for the Future
     Although this piece ran in the last iteration of The Odyssey, I thought it would be good to keep this information up this time as well. It looks like the development and approval of a vaccine are just around the corner, and—although your personal financial situation may not make travel possible right away—it looks like more travelers will take to the roads, skies, and water in 2021. Until that happens, wear a mask, wash your hands often, and stay safe.
    
      With the Coronavirus still active (and case numbers growing across the nation), it looks like it may be many weeks or possibly months before we can put into action those summertime plans we made last fall. But this too will pass . . . eventually. Some tell us we will not be out of the proverbial woods until 2021, and others have estimated that it will be much later. Just as we have closed our borders to many foreign countries just a few weeks ago, some foreign countries have now closed their borders to Americans because we have failed to contain the spread of this disease in our own country. Certainly a reasonable and expected action on their part.
     Regardless how long it takes to develop a vaccine and return the nation to the position it was in before this pandemic arrived, things will return to normal and people will be out on road trips, cruised, and air journeys across the globe. So, instead of sitting at home and moping about the current state of the world, now is the time to make plans on what to do once this passes.
     If your library is open, consider checking out some books and travel video on destination you might like to see, or events and activites you might want to be part of. Have pencil and paper at the ready to list the destinations and events you'd like to go to and take part in once the pandemic is over. Now when you have the time to do so, dream a little about your future trips. Just because our travel options have been curtailed, doesn't mean we can't make plans.
     Only keep in mind, that getting back to the life we led a year ago is not going to suddenly come to pass. It won't be like flicking on a light switch. It will take time and we should expect several bumps along the path to reopening our economy.
     Another thing you might consider doing with the time you spend at home might be to learn that foreign language you always said you would. There are many online courses as well as language discs available at your library.
     If you had planned a physically demanding journey then now it the time to make sure you stay in shape. Get out and walk every day to maintain your stamina. (Even if you have no planned trip that requires physical conditioning, walking is good exercise for anyone to make part of their daily ritual). Besides, the fresh air will do you much good. But don't forget to wear a mask if your health department and municipality requires it.
     Most Americans were not prepared for the pandemic. Few had the financial resources to see them past a few weeks of the hardships we all had to endure. With businesses reopening and workers returning to their jobs, we should take this time to get our finances in order. Instead of partying with your friends at the newly reopened bar, put that money aside to help get yourself out of debt. Pay off those past due expenses, and then get yourself out of debt. Any monthly expenses that include an interest charge are considered a debt — i.e., credit cards. Those big expenses (mortgages and car loans) have smaller interest rates; pay off the high interest rate debts first. Then put away enough in saving in case such an event ever reoccurs. Keep track of your monthly needs and squirrel away enough for at least six months without an income. Once you achieve that goal, you will truly feel in control of your life. That is the time to begin putting money aside for that trip the virus robbed you of.
     While things may remain lean for the next few months, keep in mind that it's not going to be like this forever. Financial and health experts agree that it may take several years, but things l improve. And once they do, make sure you can get back to living. Now is the time to make your plans and be ready to meet the future.