Sometimes life throws a few unexpected curve balls, but I often end up in what turns out to be the right spot. It’s almost enough to make you believe in fate or predestination. A year ago, I was contemplating a careerist rise in the demented bureaucracy, then I published my first two novels and saw them find more readers than I could have ever hoped for or expected. Ditto with the third. Suddenly, the urge to rise up the corporate food chain vanished, replaced with the urge to finally contemplate that dream I had long ago of escaping the cubicle dungeon and becoming a full time writer. I had originally planned to retire from my day job in 2018, but recent events at work, coupled with not so subtle health warnings, made me run the numbers for an early retirement the other day. After taking into account the lower tax bracket on my pension and all the expenses I wouldn’t be incurring, I realized that I could afford to chuck the day job, even if I never sold another book again. Of course it would mean that we’d have to rein in expenses, cut down on the nice to haves and rededicate ourselves to tight fiscal discipline. However, Mrs Thomson has a few more years to go before she can retire, so we’d still have that.
Long story short, where a year ago I was pursuing promotion at work, I’m now on the verge of putting in my notice of intent to retire this coming April, two years ahead of plan, and write novels as a main occupation instead of a sideline. All that remains is for me to get the necessary paperwork from human resources and I was assured that it would be in the mail within a day or two.
And so, more than twenty years after I first developed the desire to become a full-time fiction writer, I’m finally going to start doing it in five short months. If you’d told me two weeks ago that I’d come to this decision, I’d have thought you were crazy, but the numbers don’t lie, nor does my body and mind’s increasing inability to deal with work-related stress and the people that cause it. Better to live more modestly and stress free than hold out for that bigger pension, keep collecting that paycheck and go into a new phase of life with failing health. It’s almost as if fate was arranging things to get me where I should be. I finally know what I’m going to do when I grow up.
Since I have three books doing quite well (the two older ones are still finding new readers a year later), a fourth in final editing and the fifth currently well underway, with ideas for more bouncing around in my head, it’ll be a viable fourth career. I might even take on some contract work now and then for variety.
It’s especially heartening that Mrs Thomson was overjoyed at my decision – she’s been seeing my increasing difficulties in coping with the stupidity of the demented bureaucracy and was becoming concerned for my well-being. We’ll be celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary in a few weeks and she’d like us to celebrate our sixtieth down the road. How can you not love a woman who thinks like that?
Fate, eh? I think I like her too.