I'm making this official. I'm retiring from project work on April Fool's Day.
Retirement is not what you think it is, though. It's my euphemism for going on disability because of the side effects of my cancer treatments. I'm tired, my focus gets shot, and the part-time work that I've been doing is becoming more and more sporadic. Before I could count on at least 3-4 hours of productivity per day. Now I'm lucky if I can break two hours of productivity. And that's a good day. On chemo days it can be rough getting one hour of productivity in. So I need to throw in the towel and say that I'm going on disability. I'm fortunate that my customers and employer have been extremely sympathetic and patient with me during this. But it's time. I need to put the stake in the ground and stop working and go on disability.
Part of this is because in order to go on disability I need to actually stop working. My limited understanding of Social Security Disability Insurance is that you need to have an actual stop date to your working before you can even begin to think about filing for disability. Unfortunately that means putting a line in the sand and saying "this is my end-date", which is a different experience for me. Most times I've either been laid off or had my next gig lined up. But this is the equivalent of stepping into the unknown. I'm not sure if I'll qualify for disability (though I've been assured that my condition may be an advantage). I've been practicing with uncertainty for a while with Leo Babauta so I'm ready for whatever is coming our way.
The major concern is the loss of income. But we've been there before. When I was unemployed we had very little income coming in. We managed to make it through that. I need to get myself back into that mindset and realize that I don't need every shiny thing that comes across my radar. That and I need to live within a budget. I can do that. It just takes patience and the realization that instant gratification gets me into trouble in more ways than one. I did the Frugal February; now it's time for the Tightening Twenties. But I trust myself to do this with the understanding that I'll make things worse if I don't.
This also doesn't mean that I'm just going to sit on the couch eating bon-bons and listening to music. No, I'll be sitting on the couch working on my projects and listening to music. I spent my unemployment trying to gussy myself up for potential employers. I ignored my projects then. No more. I don't have to gussy myself up for anyone. The shop is closed. This isn't KISS's final final final we-really-mean-it tour; this is it. Unless something significant happens with my health and I go into full remission I'm never going to have to explain the gap in my resume to anyone. I can work on things that excite me and follow my passions.
In a perfect world I'd be saying goodbye to my career because my game designs were paying the bills and I needed to work on them full-time. That hasn't happened, and is unlikely to happen any time soon. Instead I'm going to take the plunge and hope that disability eventually kicks in. If it doesn't then we'll figure things out one way or the other.
I'm very fortunate to be married to JoDee, who has been nothing but supportive in all of this. The only requirement is that I learn how to cook. I can live with that. Hopefully my cooking won't kill us both in the process.
"I'll be a story in your head. That's okay. We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? 'Cause it was, you know. It was the best." -- Steven Moffat, writing for the 11th Doctor.
Time to make some damn good stories.