In a few short months, I'll be officially retired.
No, I'm not 65 yet--but I am one of the skeptics who doesn't believe Social Security will be around forever. And I'm absolutely certain I'm not going to be here forever, in spite of my doctors' claims that I'm too mean to die. At any rate, I paid a lot of money into Social Security, and there's no way I'm going to not get at least some of it back. I keep telling Collin he'd better start his own retirement plan. Depending on our government in his golden years would be riskier than taking his nest egg across the river to the racetrack and playing the horses.
I'll still be writing--though as uncooperative as my brain has been lately, there's no telling when I'll actually finish the next project. It took me ten years to finish Chasing the Wind, and I'm still struggling with the sequel, An Army of Angels. It's been seven years now on that one...and still counting. Sure, Final Hours only took six weeks, but that was a short novel, a simple plot that required almost no research. Sam's Story, well, that's taken four years (the struggle was for different reasons on that one), but it is finally finished. Stay tuned.
I've asked myself if the seizures are behind the difficulties. I was off the medication to control them for so long, and the type of seizures I have are so difficult to distinguish most of the time--Collin calls them "brain reboots"--I have no idea how many I actually had. I'm told each one takes a toll, even the "little" ones. Whatever the reason, what was once so easy now requires monumental effort. So I'm making the process as easy on myself as possible. With Creativia taking care of my backlist and a monthly retirement check, the pressure to perform is off.I think.
Besides, in the past year or so, I've been thinking a lot about what I have and haven't done with my life. I realized my dream thirty years ago--I became a published author. I got the big advances, had my name on bestseller lists. I got letters from people who read and loved my books. It was great, and even if I were to never publish another book, I'd still have that. But is that all I want or need to do with my life? No, of course not. Before I leave this world, I'd like to think I can still make a difference, even a small one.
I started thinking about what I should be doing. God gives us our passions for a reason. What am I passionate about? That's an easy one. Take a look at my Facebook page and, Minions aside, you'll see the other things I share most often: animals and the environment. I love animals and birds. I care about how they're treated, about making life better for them. Making all shelters no-kill...making sure abusers are punished by law...finding ways for homeless families to be able to keep their animal companions with them...all of these things are passions of mine. The environment is another issue I care deeply about. God gave us a paradise, and look what we've done to it. Seeing trash thrown out carelessly along our roads makes me sad. Global warming, the things we do to our planet to extract oil and other things from it...yes, these things make me angry.
God gave me the gift of communication. I suspect He's been wondering when I'll get around to using it for something that really matters. Maybe that's why the novels have been such a struggle,while writing about these things still comes easily. A message? Possibly.
Do you have a passion, an issue that would benefit the world--something you have the talent or skill to use to affect change? Think about it.
PS For those of you who've noticed I haven't posted in a little over a week, I've been down with a triple whammy--out-of-control blood pressure, a dental abscess, and the granddaddy of all summer colds. At least I think it's a cold. It refuses to go away, and has given me coughing fits. I've tried to stay current on Facebook and read/comment on fellow bloggers' posts--but it hasn't been easy when I'm reaching for the tissues every five seconds!