It’s been a momentous few days, folks! On Sunday, I hit the milestone age of 55 (so technically I could start taking my pension, if I had a pension worth taking!) and I decided to take stock of where I am in life, and where I want to be.
As a result, I have made a pretty momentous decision.
I am currently working on the last issue of my magazine that I shall be doing both the editing and design/layout for. I have informed the publishers that as of next month, I shall only be doing the editing (though of course acting as a design advisor because the subject matter is so niche that any ‘normal’ designer is going to struggle to understand what the hell they’re looking at!). Given that it goes with the territory nowadays, I shall of course also continue to handle all the social media aspects of the job.
This means a substantial self-imposed cut in my monthly income, with no guaranteed earnings to replace it.
Am I mad?
Actually, no. It’s the monthly grind of late night deadlines that has been driving me mad. It’s knowing that every time I produce a magazine, I’m underpaid for my skills and time that has been driving me mad. It’s the thought that I have so many other personal projects to pursue, but have been prevented by the sheer fatigue of cranking out a magazine a month that has been driving me mad. It’s the sheer frustration of feeling that I’ve had no time to do the things that make me “me” that has been driving me mad.
Of course I still love the hobby that the magazine champions. Many of the writing projects I want to pursue are focused on it. But there’s other stuff I want to explore too, including fiction, and I just can’t fully explore and build up momentum on that with both hands chained to the wheel.
One of my creative heroes is Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn) who describes how, when she was trapped in a corporate job, she used to feel sick and burst into tears – until she took the first steps to build a future on her own terms. Well, that’s what I am trying to do now. I’m fed up with being tired, grumpy, miserable, depressed – and hearing those awful words, “Henry, you’re wasted”.
Well, yes, I bloody well have been, but not any longer.
I’m going to be writing, designing, project managing, illustrating, teaching – who knows? I’m opening myself to the universe and all creative possibilities are on the table. I shall wear a sandwich board saying “Available for Interesting Stuff”. With 25 years of professional creative experience and fire in my belly, I’m sure I’ll get by.
I’ve got to thank some friends (they know who they are) who have been sounding-boards over recent weeks and months and who know how torn up inside I’ve been in the lead-up to this decision. Their sage advice has resulted in me taking the _slightly_ less radical option!
But it’s still a big step, and of course the first person this impacts other than myself is my long-suffering other half, who of course has remained calm and supportive throughout, and who hasn’t mentioned the mortgage payments once: my dear Annie.
Right, here goes – I look forward to having you along for the journey.