Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Free at last!

by Rick Blechta

Up here north of the 49th parallel we have an insurance company with a very successful and long-running commercial touting their “Freedom 55” program, meaning that they can help you retire at 55. (Of course, they've taken a lot of ribbing since people now talk about “Freedom 75” (or even “Freedom 85”) as the economy and job markets flounder around and people of “a certain age” have to get jobs at Walmart or McDonalds to make ends meet.)

Anyway, to get to the point, I turned 65 at the beginning of the month. As I laboured in the coal mines of public education for 24 years, I did manage to build up some pension money (not the very lucrative teachers' pension fund since I was merely a lowly Music Itinerant), but enough that I might be able to drop a source of income (my main one) and begin accessing it.

In short, I can actually stop working. Well, that’s not completely accurate. Let’s put it this way: I can stop doing work I don’t want to do, and start spending more time working on things I do enjoy and actually want to work at!

And that, of course, means writing (and music).

Soon (I have to finish off three graphic design jobs before this all happens) I’ll be able to get up in the morning and not have to immediately sit down to field emails from clients, which invariably leads to getting right to work on their jobs, quite often with a gun to my head because a deadline has been announced. Believe me, that’s no fun.

So now I’ll be able to grab a cup of joe and start in on “playing with my imaginary friends”, something that’s been hard to find consistent time to do over the past few years – not that it was ever easy. I’ve currently got three novels (and two synopses) in various states of disrepair and I’ll be able to dig in on them with a clear conscience and the knowledge that I’m not leaving a client hanging. I’ll also be able to reboot my website with a complete redesign.

No…wait…that's graphic design again, and it’s what I’m trying to get away from!

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