For months I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of retiring, so that I can devote myself to writing full time. Walking away from my job won’t be easy—not because I love what I’m doing, but because I earn a good living, have excellent benefits, and my hours are very flexible. I don’t have a supervisor camping out in my back pocket, and I can come and go as I please. I, of course, have goals and deadlines, but as long as I keep pace, I’m pretty much on my own.
When I crunch the numbers and project my retirement benefits, evaluate my pension and 401k, the numbers don’t work. I don’t really have enough money to retire—at least not comfortably. I don’t mind toning down my lifestyle; it’s a fair tradeoff just to free myself from the corporate grind. I can do without lobster, truffles and Beluga caviar, but I’m not fond of eating beans and potatoes every night.
When the fog lifts and the dust settles, no amount of number crunching is going to satisfy me enough to justify retiring. The decision really comes down to one defining issue: do I have enough faith in my writing to throw caution to the wind, ignore the numbers, abandon logic, and believe enough in myself to take the plunge? That’s truly the only question.
Well, after a great deal of soul searching and self-evaluation, I sat down with my supervisor yesterday and dropped the bomb. There are still some details to be worked out, but it looks like my tentative retirement date is March 31, 2010. Whew! My manager has agreed to let me use my accumulated sick leave by working three-day workweeks, which means I’ll be able to start writing the sequel to They Never Die Quietly almost immediately. With 4-day weekends every week, I should be able to kick my creative brain into high gear and get down to the business of writing. I haven’t even filled out the paperwork yet and already I’m hyperventilating. Do they sell Valium over the counter?