21 Years left.

I’m 39 and at 60 everything is going to change when I lose the majority of my sight.

It’s called LORD (Late Onset Retinal Degeneration).

What is that?

Something kind of sucky and super rare. (Lucky me!)



Disease at a Glance


Late-onset retinal degeneration is an inherited retinal dystrophy characterized by delayed dark adaptation and nyctalopia and drusen deposits presenting in adulthood, followed by cone and rod degeneration that presents in the sixth decade of life, which leads to central vision loss. Anterior segment features such as peripupillary iris transillumination defects and abnormally long anterior zonular insertions are also observed. Choroidal neovascularization and glaucoma may occur in the late stages of the disease.

Estimated Number of People with this Disease

This section is currently in development.


Well, my mom’s side of the family is in the ‘Number of People with this Disease’.

(Which, as an aside, is why it was so awesome when I got my books turned to AUDIO! Now they could listen to them!)

So, sixth decade of life.

I’m picking 60 as my ‘eyeballs gonna expire by’ date.

And I feel sort of bad about this… that while knowing I may very likely be legally blind in the future, I haven’t prepared well for it.

First is the boring stuff. Mainly aimed at helping my family out. By 2043 I want to have the house paid for, our 401K stocked up well enough for my planned forced retirement at 60, and debt free.

This is doable. With the help of Dave Ramsey’s calculator I worked out the math on how to pay the house off by then. And it’s gonna save us $88,000 in interest! As for debt, we’re pretty debt free. Except for our vehicles and I’ve started really considering at trading my beautiful, wonderful, immaculate, and gorgeous 2022 Ram Rebel for something used that I can pay off quicker. I’m on the fence about it. But it makes a lot of financial sense. So… we’ll see. (It’s such an awesome truck!)

The 401k… ugh. I worked the numbers and I’m not THAT happy with them. But I’m also partially banking on a total collapse of the US Dollar and our economy by then and living off the land by growing meat and veggies in the backyard.

That’s about 50% true. But I’m planning for both scenarios. Thus, more money goes into the 401k to make us more monies down the road.

And Social Security? -snort- Yeah, I ain’t banking on that.

So that’s the boring stuff.

The really, really important stuff?



Gone are my daydreams of spending my golden twilight years in front of a computer, endlessly pounding away at the keyboard, churning out best selling novels filled with masculinity and adventure.

I mean, I can probably still do it. But it’s gonna be pretty different depending on how my eyeballs go. There are options to keep writing, but none that I’m excited about. Dictating? Ugh. Writing on a monster computer screen using my surviving peripheral vision? Ugh. But I also can’t imagine NOT creating verbal entertainment for the rest of my life, so we’ll see.

But there is a new found, “Holy Smokes I’ve got to get moving!”, on my writing passion.

21 years.

At my current rate, that’s 21 books before things start getting difficult at one book a year.

And to be honest, that’s not good enough. I can’t settle for only writing 21 more books the traditional way.


It’s time to kick it up a notch. It’s time to perform. Time to put out. Time to produce.

It ain’t over yet.

Time to aim HARD for that 1 book every six month goal.

Let’s go for 42 instead of 21.


Author: Erik 'Tracer' Testerman

Erik Testerman is a Marine Corps grunt, a competitive shooter, and an admirer of fine arms and armaments. He lives in the mountains of North Carolina with his lovely wife, two rambunctious children, and a slobbery English Mastiff. To learn more about Erik Testerman and read samples of his work, visit http://GunPowderAndInk.blog

5 thoughts on “21 Years left.”

  1. Love your writing, but I caution against putting out the volume like that: it too soon can become more like free association rather than authorship.

    My background is in healthcare system analysis. I reviewed who did what to whom in what are very social organizations. I also did write-ups and presentations explaining my findings.

    These had to logically present the information in a manner easily followed yet was not condescending or boring. Sorta like popular book writing in a sense.

    If I did not communicate my analysis or theme well enough to make believers of them, my next job would be difficult to get. More “big picture” with vignettes it still had to ring true for them to identify with the the “story” I was trying to convey.

    From this perspective I’m offering my observations.

    Your imagination and
    Sense of character development is remarkable, but to minimize the creep of poor quality for the sake of output you need a Talented Editor or two you can work closely with to work your stories a bit for you.

    No offense(and I really mean that) but your last book suffered from a lack of proper pacing and the associated loss of character development.

    You had a lot of thought to write out but, you but you seem to cram too much into too few words. I have seen this many times in multiple book story lines in the Kindle Unlimited universe.
    Please don’t allow that to happen!

    Your writing has a nice touch and the “Prehistoric” story line is too good to suffer that fate.
    You can accomplish your goals and leave a legacy through an alignment of your writing resources. Pacing is crucial.

    I have only an educated guess as to how this works in the publishing world today, but I urge you line up folks to keep you on track as you go into Express mode.

    Oh, and try to avoid burn-out 😉

    On the retina problem…. Don’t discount advances in transplantation. Gene therapy may get off it’s but and come through with something too.

    Dave Ramsey gives good advice. IMHO what it comes down to is the old saw that; it’s not how much money you make, it’s how much money it takes you to live on.

    You gotta have fun in life so trade that Ram off for an older truck. Toyota Tacomas aren’t the biggest or baddest, but they will likely go more places than your Ram, be cheaper to run, and will last a lot longer.

    This last year I sold my Expedition and bought a 2012 RAV4 with a V6 and 4WD. It won’t do back country camping in the same style as the Expedition, but at my age I’m likely past adventuring in the true off road arena. It will take me anywhere I have business going and get twice the gas mileage.
    A fair trade in my book.

    Well, I’ve typed out more than I intended. You are living a life more in line with what I intended for mine! Keep up the writing
    Hope these thoughts are of some value.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All good thoughts that I’ll take under advisement!

      I think my biggest problem with writing such quantity isn’t that I’ll be sacrificing quality, but that I’ll have to be more disciplined to write. I need to carve out more chunks of time that I’m wasting and be more efficient.


  2. Erik,
    Have you ever tried the 23andMe Health + Genetics testing? I did a while back because I was going through a lot of unknown health issues. And it showed me a lot of health issues I am genetically predisposed to. One of those being macular degeneration. (And Lupus, which I already knew I had.) I can relate to the feeling of having to think about life adjustments when the eyesight is gone. It’s terrifying. Not being able to see my kids faces, my husbands face, watch my favorite movies, not being able to write stories, etc. That isn’t something I’m looking forward to when I’m an old lady. Maybe science will have developed in 20 years to help LORD and Macular Degeneration and all the other eyesight genetic issues. One can only hope.

    Liked by 1 person

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