Monday, November 14, 2016

On My Retirement - The Beginning - Part 2

Now that my retirement papers have been turned in, everyone notified, the news made public that I am retiring, I have to consider my out of workforce position, and my next steps.

I have to remember several things.

I have lived a very structured life with getting up at 5AM for a decade, ending work at 3PM. Originally then commuting from Seattle to my home in Squamish, a two hour journey that including walking through Seattle to the ferry, a 35 minute ride to Bainbridge Island, a bus ride that was anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour for the 11 mile trip, depending on traffic, weather, and accidents or road work.

Or that stupid house on the north side of the road that every year put up an unbelievable amount of Christmas decorations that people couldn't help but to slow down and further impact commutre traffic home. Everyone pretty much on the commuter bus hated that when all we wanted to do was to get home and traffic was always too slow anyway without that light display that we had to deal with, year, after year, after year, winter after winter.

I have to remember that my job in IT work, working on front line servers to the public for a four state not for profit corporation on their software, applications, web servers, supporting web site developers, programmers and others, required a high level of functionality. The problem solving skills it required, the attention to detail, the starting and finishing things, the responsibility to the team, the company, the mission, the responsibility to proactively do what might never be noticed but should be done, the being aware of things related to things related to things, related to issues outside of those things, all this and more adds up to how I am now mentally and emotionally (and physically, being the downside in sitting all day long, in being sedentary in a job), all these things add up to how my minds is now pretty well honed to do anything.

When I graduated from Western Washington University in 1984, I knew I had pushed myself for four years to learn, to absorb all I could, to sharpen my mind, to get the most for the money my VA benefits, our country's citizens taxes, were paying for me to get. While my friends were out partying much of the time I was still in the university library, many times until they kicked me out. I wanted to learn...everything.

I knew I left college with my mind being as sharp and informed as it ever would be all the rest of  my life. Just like I knew when I left the military that my body would probably never be in that top of shape ever again. Both mind and body in the future of those times, I could try to keep in top shape, but might never see those levels of peak performance again.

But I knew I could try. I admit I've paid more attention to my mind being in shape than my body, but I've done well in that department too. Aikido was a wonderful way to exercise both mind and body. But because of my knees years ago, and my ankle, I had to give up practicing. Still however, I am on the dojo's Board of Directors still, for that non-profit school. I have also been donating to them, in matching funds from my job.

I now will definitely have the time to get in more exercise in a more broad sense than before. I have work out equipment at home, weights and an elliptical but I've wanted to do more. And now in having moved to a metropolitan location, I have much more and easier access to all this.

Why do I mention all of the above?

Because I have now moved from a structured, corporate environment to a private, small business environment. There is no CEO, or CIO filtering down our agenda to the working grunt on the front line. I no longer have my Director, or Manager, nor my Lead to manage me and my workload, my direction, my goals, and so on.

I now do that all for myself. Whenever you go into your own endeavors, into a small business environment, something that escapes many, something that a lot of people are not aware of is what I have been saying here.

My previous job that I just left took a turn. We were headed into Amazon AWS services from hardware and virtual servers that we maintained, into new technology where we used the "cloud". I was against it at first for security reasons until I attended the Amazon immersion day event and walked out of there very impressed. But it would mean we all at work in IT had to re-educate ourselves.

It meant that we would need to get certified, to study new information, then pass a test. To work extra hours, to work extra hard during the work day, to push the company into a new era, into new technologies, hopefully to refine our process, to save money, to make a better company.

I realized I was at a point where I could do that for them, or retire and do that for myself.

I decided I had given twenty-one years to this company and now I had the opportunity to do it for myself, to seek what I truly wanted to do, to "seek my bliss" if you will. To finally now that my family life was just myself now, my kids were raised and out into the world, I could break away and take the risk to do what I wanted to do.

And what was that?

Basically, to write. To be a writer. To be able to say, "I am a writer", when asked, and not, "Well I work in IT to pay the bills, but I'd like to be just a writer, to write full time." And here I am, finally. Now it's up to me.

So many make the mistake at a time like this to take their time, to not have the motivation others either inspired of them at a job, or demanded of them, depending on the work culture and environment. I have the skills, I have the motivation, I have the past spurring me on into what I want and not what I have to do. I have the mind for this, I have proven my skills,

I have produced products: short stories in horror, science fiction, books, ebooks, audiobooks, screenplays that although they haven't sold (yet), have placed in reputable screenplay contests. I have studied cinema since childhood and in college and on my own. My life has been a study in cinema, I have everything I need to do what I want in this area. I just need to do it.

Time will tell where this will lead.

However I have taken steps to set myself up for success. I have sold my house and I'm now renting. I am unencumbered by mortgage or debt. I have purchased equipment for producing films. I have not just time now to write full time, but to write when inspiration strikes me.

The gold standard of a writer who wishes to be a writer. That ability to jump up out of bed and write when inspiration hits, when your muse calls out to you, without worry for having to be up for a day job at 5AM, to be sharp all day long.

I now have to remember to use all these things, motivations, skills, a sharp mind, a habituated work ethic, the need to work extra hard, extra hours only now for myself, not for others, not for a large company. When I find a team to do this with me, to take this journey with me, I will expand all this to include them in the hope they will have their own inspiration, or will find mine infectious, a positive force to join with.

So many new small companies fail. Much of the reason for that is in not treating it like their previous jobs, where they had to answer to someone, to see much hard work applied to the mission. When they can finally choose their own mission, to succeed or fail on their own, they fail, because they do not realize how much harder it is without external influences monitoring them, riding them, wanting deadlines met, products produced, people supported.

I've revamped my old production company, LGN Productions. AKA, Last good Nerve Productions. A company started by a friend and myself, where we brought in a couple of others and produced a documentary in 1993-4. It aired twice in the Pacific Northwest. Then my life changed drastically and it all fell by the wayside. I moved out of Seattle.

I spent the next twenty some years being married, raising my kids, and working toward building a retirement that has finally come to fruition. Perhaps too soon, but I don't plan to simply sit on my laurels.

One might ask why, if I wanted to do this so bad for so long, why it took this long to get around to doing what I wanted to in life?

I tried. Trust me. I worked for a production company for some years and finally quit because I could never get anything I wrote on screen. I touched base with famous people when the opportunities arose but never did that pan out for me. It took years to get my first short story published. I tried from 1984 to 1990 when I sold my first story to a horror magazine. I'd been published in local computer rags before but they didn't pay.

Life kept taking over. I put things on hold. Finally when I realized my kids would be moving out soon, I started writing day and night. That was in 2010. We now have more outlets for people because of the internet and social media. Things started to turn for me. At some point I had gotten my mind into doing what I'd been practicing doing for so many years until finally it just seemed like the only thing holding me back was, my day job.

The job that was paying the bills. I realized I'd have to quit. Retirement was arriving and so I started working toward that. A situation where I'd have at least some income but could put all my time, energy and well, time, into doing what I wanted, what I thought I should do, what I was best at. I've established my name, my brand. I've gotten as far as I can, without quitting my job, my career. Finally, it was time.

And so, here we are.

I plan to act, to produce...stuff, to offer...something. Something worth paying attention to. Perhaps to change opinions, give laughter, share a nightmare that is fun to behold in a safe environment such as a story, a book, a film. Time will tell where this leads, and if I'm worthy.

Stay tuned....

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