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Life Begins In Retirement

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I only have four more days to work before I retire from corporate America. It’s not only a dream come true, but it’s a miracle. For the past thirty years I have suited up and shown up for my nine- to-five gigs. Over those three decades I have worked at five major corporations—the longest for twelve years. I often fantasized about being free do what I love—write books, direct and produce plays and act, but I never actually thought it would become a reality. I figured I’d have to hit the lottery for that to happen. Someone once said, “There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps.” So no, hitting the lottery didn’t afford me to retire, but stepping out of bed, out of the house, into the car, and into the office every day for 7,200 days, 57,600 hours, keeping my debt nominal, saving my money, and keeping the faith in my Creator, has resulted in me being able to leave the work force and enter the world of dreams.

It’s interesting the responses you get when you tell people you’re going to retire. Immediately, eyes get wide, brows go up to the hairline, then the mouth drops open. “You’re going to retire? Wow. When?” I’m always surprised at the responses I get and am invariably filled with a mixture of happiness and guilt. Happiness, because I’ve longed to be able to follow my dreams fulltime, but my dreams couldn’t pay the car note or the mortgage. So this girl had to work. Guilt, because I know most, like I did, are pursuing a paycheck and not their passion, so I feel a little sheepish about flaunting my new found freedom. But on the other hand, I feel like my journey can inspire others who are traveling the highways and byways, spending twelve to fourteen hours a day away from home, to hang in there and not give up five minutes before the miracle. There’s hope and mixed up in that hope is your dream. My grandfather told me almost forty years ago to never give up on my dreams. His words have stayed with me and have kept me holding on through the tears and the times when I wanted to give up.

My last two jobs required a commute. For fourteen years I drove 350 miles a week—238,700 miles—almost ten times around the world! Whew! I don’t know how I made it. I actually do, God and my sister talking me through those two-hour, sometimes three-hour drives home. Thank you Vivian Ann Baker!

In closing, I’m closing one chapter and starting the next. Speaking of which, I’ve completed my ninth novel and am seeking representation. My new novel, “Justice for Jessica,” is the first book in a four-part mystery series featuring detective Rachel Storme! I hope to bring you good news soon.

Thank you for being there on this journey with me and I look forward to all of us doing great things in 2016.





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Born in Oakland and raised in San Francisco, playwright and author, Alretha Thomas is making her name through her pen. She started at the age of ten, when her 5th grade teacher picked and read her short story assignment in front of the class – that simple, loving act empowered a new writer. A graduate of U.S.C., Alretha’s plays have graced numerous Southern California stages. Her most recent production, “One Woman, Two Lives,” starred Kellita Smith of the Bernie Mac Show. Her debut novel, “Daughter Denied” was launched in 2008 and has received glowing reviews from readers and book clubs across the country. Her second novel “Dancing Her Dreams Away,” launched in 2011 and was also well-received. “Married in the Nick of Nine” is her third novel and she recently completed the sequel, “The Baby in the Window.” Alretha says the one and only upside to her 350-mile-a-week-commute, is that it gives her ample time to come up with story ideas. When not in bumper–to-bumper traffic she enjoys going to the movies, blogging, and spending time with her husband Roy.