Hope I Get Old Before I Die

My hard work spent studying assisted living facilities paid off. They liked my sample article enough to welcome me aboard as an official Contract Writer! I will be assigned seven articles per week. If I feel comfortable enough to write more, I can increase that number to 14. Or 49. Or anything in increments of 7. My income potential is directly related to my work output; the more I write, the more money I’ll make. So this is what it’s like to be accountable to yourself! I have to say, I already like being my own boss.


(Of course there is one).

As I’ve mentioned, the pay is pretty low. I certainly don’t feel like I’m suddenly “employed.” I could never survive off of what I’ll be making from these articles. Rather, it’s a foot in the door. I have landed my first official client – and that’s a pretty giddy feeling – but now I have to find a few more. Then, maybe I can think about supporting myself from my writing. In the meantime, the search for a “real” job continues. I have to, in order to keep the unemployment checks rolling in, and that is another issue on my plate. I need to know how freelancing will affect my unemployment benefits. Obviously, I’m assuming the small amount I’ll earn from my weekly articles will be deducted from my checks, and as long as that’s the case, I’ll be happy. (I mean, of course, if I didn’t have to report the income, I’d be even happier, but this company is legitimate and I have to fill out a W2 and everything. Too bad! Not that I’m trying to defraud the government or anything, of course). My only fear is that the state of Washington will say, “hey – you’ve got a job now!” and stop paying me. I don’t think that will be the case, based on my internet research, but every state is different and you just never know. I tried calling them, but got a recorded message stating that due to high call volume they weren’t accepting any more calls at this time (what?!) and was then hung up on. By a robot. Sheesh…story of my life! So I sent them an e-mail instead, asking them my question. I can expect to receive a response “in a few business days.” Good Lord.

So, I’ll hold off on any official celebrating until I hear back. No matter what, though, I’m already proud of myself. Lots of unemployed people sit around and languish while waiting for opportunity to come knocking. At least I am trying to be proactive, and I know now that I can earn money from my writing; it’s just a question of how much and how soon. I feel confident enough that I can eventually become self-supporting – I just need to make that happen before I end up in line at the nearest soup kitchen (although, if it’s clam chowder night, I can wait a little longer). In the meantime, I’ve applied for a couple more freelancing positions. One is good, a few more would be great. We’ll see.

I’ve gotta say, though, after researching assisted living facilities for my sample article, I’m actually a little jealous of the people who end up there.

Crazy talk? Hardly! My parents had a couple of brochures from local places when they were trying to get my grandmother to move out this way, and lent them to me for my research. Flipping through the pages, you’d think you were looking at an advertisement for the Ritz-Carlton or something. Both brochures were laden with pictures of smiling, happy seniors living the good life! The men all had perfectly coiffed, full heads of silver hair, while the women were dressed to the nines and bedecked with exquisite-looking jewelry. Everybody was smiling, and their teeth were perfectly straight and pearly white. There was nary a liver spot or bald head to be seen; no wrinkles or dentures or walkers in sight. There were pictures of couples dining by candlelight or dancing in front of a fireplace or gardening together. Even the single people looked to be having the time of their lives – there was a woman painting on an easel on the grassy front yard; a man fishing for trout in a bubbling brook; a woman relaxing on a hammock with an open book; a man holding his grandson by the arms, joyfully lifting him off the ground. There were people golfing and swimming and sketching in notebooks and looking like they were having the absolute time of their lives. I have never seen so many smiles before.

Tell me they aren't having the time of their lives! (Image courtesy of senior-fun.com)

Then there’s the amenities. Social and recreational activities aplenty. Housekeeping and laundry services. Free transportation. And the food – oh, the food! Three glorious meals a day, prepared by skilled chefs. A sample menu had been tucked into one of the brochures. What were the lucky residents dining on that particular week? Dishes like Northwest Hazelnut Chicken with sweet potatoes and green beans; Pot Roast with a vegetable medley; Carolina Pulled Pork with basil orzo pasta and corn; Chicken Waldorf Salad; and – wonder of wonders! – Prime Rib Roast with an asparagus and wild mushroom risotto. And to think that somebody else is there to clean up after them, too!

Lucky seniors. See why I’m jealous? They are living the dream! Why, I’d trade in this ol’ condominium for an assisted living center tomorrow if I could! No, scratch that. It’s not soon enough. I’d do it today!

You know that song by The Who, My Generation? That’s the one with the infamous refrain that goes, “hope I die before I get old.” With all due respect to Roger Daltrey and company, I think they got that backwards.

Me? I hope I get old before I die.

‘Cause I can’t wait to call an assisted living facility home…


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

13 thoughts on “Hope I Get Old Before I Die

  1. Congratulations on becoming an official Contract Writer!

    Woot! Woot!

    I’m very happy for you, Mark!

    I too have been on employment. I don’t know how it is in the state Washington, but here in the state of Pennsylvania, as far as making income while on unemployment, as long as you claim your earnings, they simply deduct it from your unemployment check.

    The best to you, Mark!


    1. Thanks, Ron! Since posting this I have learned that this is exactly how it works in Washington – so I can freelance AND collect unemployment. Best of both worlds!


    1. Thanks, Jane! I assume you mean you want quasi-employment and not an assisted living facility. In my perfect world, I’d be a freelance writer in an assisted living facility. Dare to dream, Mark…


  2. My favourite is when robots call me and then ask me to hold!

    As for Assisted Living Facilities, I’ve been wishing I could move into one for years! And I’m only just 30. Got a while to wait, I’m afraid.


  3. I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks. Congrats! Getting your foot in the door is HUGE make no mistake. At least you’re getting paid. Volunteering in a desired field is becoming the trend right now.

    I am working on a gerontology Master’s and would like to read your article if you’d be willing to share. I’d love to see what you have to say about these facilities as I am intending to work at an assisted-living residence.

    Thanks so much!



    1. Thanks, Liv! I sort of feel like I’m volunteering right now, considering all the hours I’m putting in for minimum pay. That’s why I keep telling myself, it’s a foot in the door…it’s a foot in the door…

      The article I wrote was a sample so it probably won’t be published online anywhere, but I’d be willing to e-mail it to you if you’re curious.


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