Life under lockdown! How are you doing?

The past 12 months have been traumatic for many, inconvenient for some and a life-altering change of pace for most. With so much horror and trauma, and signs of hope ahead, I decided to ask some long-time readers, an eclectic bunch to be sure, how they were doing. There responses confirm that human beings are tough, resilient, fascinating creatures. If you have thoughts, we’d love to hear them. Meantime, here’s what they had to say:

“I spend a good deal of time working crosswords, Sudoku puzzles, reading novels and playing online chess. Lockdown is annoying, but probably not so much for me as for people who need a lot of interaction with others. There are different types of personalities, and I think each type deals with it differently. That said, I’m really looking forward to the morning temps warming up so I can resume my regular ritual and have my coffee at the deli with friends. G MAN.” -A Nuclear Regulatory Commission retiree

“I know that at age 63, I will retire in a few years. Pre-Covid, I worked one day per week from home. Now I am teleworking full-time. I really believed that if you want promotions, advancement, and opportunity you need to be physically present and show off your skills. Full-time telework has changed my attitude slightly. I still think showing up is important but now we have to be available or “present” remotely. I feel it is wise to make sure that you save an email to send to the boss when you sign online in the morning. It is probably wise to send the last email of the day to the boss when you sign out an hour late. This lets the boss know you are present and available. I think it is also wise to give your boss project updates every few days or as often as necessary. When we are in the office, I would volunteer for projects to help my career and try to be invaluable to leadership. I do the same things now, but I do them remotely. I work hard to complete packages and projects before due dates. I watch for areas to volunteer and help the team. It makes work feel more valuable and helps my own self-esteem. I also like that I can schedule personal appointments for just about anything at the end of my work day and not have to take leave.

I had always planned to sell my 5 bedroom home and downsize before retirement. I thought downsizing would be a challenge and I figured I would prefer to do it while working than waste my retirement time figuring out what I need to sell. I did not want to retire and then spend two years figuring out the right size for my home-base of the future. Covid accelerated the house plans and my house is now sold. I am now happily living in a one bedroom, inexpensive, furnished apartment. I have only lived here a few months but I am already loving it. I get up very early and am in the gym by 5 am and back teleworking at 6 am and my work day is done early enough to go enjoy daylight and the outdoors. I was always looking to increase my salary, because we all want more money. But downsizing has given me the biggest pay raise of my career. I cut expenses astronomically. My Wi-Fi, cable TV, and utilities are included in my rent. Covid has decreased the chances to spend money on travel, eating out, movies, and other entertainment. I am saving more money than at any time in my career. I highly recommend downsizing and not just on the house or apartment. Downsize your consumables and use the money to save and invest. I am unsure of the future. I really like not commuting, but I miss the office and the interaction with those I work with. I assume I will telework 2-3 days minimum in the future.

I live alone, but regularly chat with my family, children, and friends via video chats. I exercise outdoors when the weather cooperates. And yes, I still eat out occasionally. Life happens to all of us. Some of it is good and some of it is bad. But we can chose how to react and that is much more important that what life dumps on us. I chose to be happy and positive. I live every day like it’s my last. Yes, I am lucky, but I also planned and saved and made good decisions. I have a great job with great pay, more than I ever thought I would make. I have a huge pension in front of me. My family has had Covid illnesses but they were minor and everyone is still employed and healthy.

But one thing is constantly nagging at me. How can I help others? So many people have been good planners and they lost their businesses, or have underlying illnesses, or lost family members, or lost jobs. The losses are unmeasurable for so many people. I am an Eagle Scout and I look to do a good deed every day. Some days I fail and I think I should be doing more to help others. But I keep looking. Honestly, my good deed for today is to remind all of us who are employed, alive, with our family safe; please reach out and help someone in need. It may be a cup of coffee for someone. A letter or phone call to an elder person that is isolated. Maybe a meal for a family that needs food. Fuel Oil for those that lack heat. Give to a food bank. Opportunities abound for us all to make a difference one person, one life at a time. Thanks for letting me share.” -Anonymous janitor to TSP millionaire

“In the beginning, I worked two days a week at home and now I work one day a week from home. I think it is very beneficial as it gives me a chance to catch up on work ie reports, phone calls etc. Plus I save money on gas, commuting/bridge tolls and trying to find parking. I wish I could work from home additional days as my productivity is through the roof when I do. Plus I don’t have to wear a mask and the bathroom is close by and I can make tea or raid the fridge whenever I need a drink or snack. I do wash my hands at home but not as much as at work. Since I am at the hospital, I use a ton of hand sanitizer and am disinfecting surfaces constantly.” -K.C. at VA

“Glad to hear you’re doing well. Hope you’ve been able to get your first covid shot.

Life is good. When we started this adventure, I was more than happy to be home in the safety of my own home with my own coffee machine, refrigerator and snuggle pups. However, we’re a year into it now and I’m over the initial “happy to be home” moment. I would very much like to go into the office every now and again and be with people…..normal people….not adult children that happen to live with you and want you buy extra chips. I feel as though my stress level has actually increased from having to stay at home. For now though, unless absolutely necessary, my agency would prefer we continue to 100% telework. I get it, I’m thankful they care about our health and wellbeing – but yeah, I miss the office environment.

Take care – have a great day – stay safe and strong!” -Dixie

I let Dixie know I just got my first shot!

More from readers to come. Hope to hear from you.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Alazar Moges

The oldest surviving known photo was taken in 1826 or 1827 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce from a window in his France home. It was captured using a technique known as heliography. It is now part of a collection at the University of Texas-Austin.

Source: My Modern Met

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THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN TICKER

Apr 09, 2021 Close Change YTD*
L Income 22.7359 0.0215 1.24%
L 2025 11.6253 0.0224 2.55%
L 2030 40.8198 0.101 3.18%
L 2035 12.2344 0.033 3.46%
L 2040 46.2070 0.1348 3.76%
L 2045 12.6383 0.039 4.01%
L 2050 27.6440 0.0908 4.28%
L 2055 13.5147 0.0548 5.47%
L 2060 13.5146 0.0549 5.46%
L 2065 13.5144 0.0548 5.46%
G Fund 16.5591 0.0007 0.27%
F Fund 20.5872 -0.0226 -3.35%
C Fund 61.7171 0.4734 6.17%
S Fund 82.1306 0.1232 7.79%
I Fund 37.5654 0.0048 3.52%
Closing price updated at approx 6pm ET each business day. More at tsp.gov
* YTD data is updated on the last day of the month.