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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

My 20%

Updated: Mar 8, 2023


If I were to describe myself, I’d say I exist inside the proverbial box 80% of the time. I take comfort in my routines, particularly my morning coffee. I turn in early, write early and eat early. My habits help me stay productive, and typically I’m in bed at 9 or 9:30 when my eyes give out. I fall asleep satisfied.


The other 20%, my mind is anywhere and everywhere else. I’m on a mission to discover something or someone new, chasing ideas, inventing twists and turns for my writing, and humoring myself with the silliest things. Unlike many, I’m drawn to people different from me, always curious about what makes others tick. It started when I was a child, growing up as one of the few Jewish kids in a predominantly white middle-class town. My mother quietly imparted a curiosity about the world, and through her, I learned to be open and trusting. My father, although gregarious, was a WWII vet and trusted no one.


So, it turns out my mother was the source of my love of travel, my curiosity, and my attraction to others, learning about their different upbringings, values and interests. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends, but many are of the same ilk. Now retired, I don’t interact daily with a large variety of people and have learned it takes work to keep the opening of life’s funnel wide.


I traded in my black and blue marks two weeks ago – all from clumsy indoor pandemic living, for a tan and a few mosquito bites. High-test moisturizing cream was left in the drawers at home, and sunscreen and bug repellent was purchased in its place—all for a two-week trip to the peaceful Turks and Caicos Islands.


On the morning of our last day there, my mind wholly absorbed in the latest chapter of my novel, I was interrupted by a knock at our villa door. The owner stopped by for a chat. She was about my age, originally from the islands, and lived on Turks for over a decade developing her villa business. What a dreamy life, one many of us imagine moments before we board our plane for home, burrowing back into our 80%.

She shared her story and that she and her husband are building a home stateside, needing intermittent property management. My 20% self rushed to her rescue., I offered to be that person. The best retirement gig – ever!


I’m headed back to paradise with a wanderlust friend in a month to give it a spin. Wish me luck!

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