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Another Stage, or Life in Retirement

I don’t often write personal posts on this blog, but this one marks a major life transition. Last Friday, I retired from the job where I have worked for 20+ years. It was a great job, with wonderful people and tasks well suited to my strengths—the culmination of all the previous stages in my career. And I decided on my own to step down, a recognition that I had reached an age when I could imagine a sudden health crisis leaving my co-workers in the lurch even if the typical results of growing older such as declining memory didn’t have them wondering how to push me gently out the door. But when I made the decision, I was also anticipating the joys of a less stressful existence—what I think of as life in a lower key.

A man in medieval Russian dress rides a magic carpet. With his left hand, he supports a golden cage holding a firebird as he stares into the distance; cover of C. P. Lesley's Song of the Steadfast

Not surprisingly, my feelings at reaching this milestone are mixed. I will miss the journal and, especially, the people I worked with for those two decades. At the same time, I’m looking forward to more time with my novel series, currently stuck in book 6 because of the many outside commitments I took on in preparation for retiring, as well as additional free time to spend with family and friends. I hope to become more active on social media, too, if I can work out a plan for posting that doesn’t cut into my writing time.

I don’t intend to give up working entirely. I will still take on freelance projects, both fiction and nonfiction, for as long as I believe I can do them justice. There’s a big difference, after all, in committing to return a manuscript of a certain length on a day three or four weeks in the future and having to show up at your desk every morning at 9 am sharp. Being able to choose which books I take on is a big plus, too, as is being able to focus on one author and one work rather than juggling a zillion tasks of varying urgency that need to be ranked and dealt with but never, ever lost in the shuffle.

Two bunches of narcissi (white and yellow daffodils) against a backdrop of soil

My New Books Network interviews, as well as posts to and conversations with authors on this blog, will also continue. My cats have their favorite sparkly toys and fuzzy mice ready, in hopes that I will play with them instead of patting them on the head as I settle in front of the computer. The garden, bless its fragrant heart, will do better if I continue to ignore it, but I plan to maintain my daily ballet practice for as long as my bones, muscles, and tendons permit.

In short, I expect to have plenty of activities to occupy my days. Indeed, I’m already discovering that entering retirement is a bit like going on vacation: it’s difficult to let the old responsibilities go, to remember X is not my problem to solve any more or Y is possible this week when last week it might not have been. Check back for regular updates as I transition to a new, more relaxed mode of living.

Images: Cover of Song of the Steadfast (Songs of Steppe & Forest 6) and photograph of flowers in no need of the author’s intervention © 2024 C. P. Lesley.

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