Monday, May 21, 2012

The Effects of my Retirement

It has been a little over a week since I have decided that I needed to retire. I don't know if I would have considered what I'm doing retirement prior to this, but there is a forum thread on the social site I hang out on and they talk about retirement there. The first time I read it, I didn't think what they described was retirement, but now I get it. Retirement is leaving the stuff that you don't want to do and instead filling your life with the stuff that you really want to do. Retirement isn't sitting in your house doing nothing.

I am a hard worker. My father was a hard worker. My mother wasn't afraid of hard work. I have long believed that the answer to all of my problems would simply be to work harder. But recently I learned that it's crap. There is a limit to how much working harder will do. But one thing that attitude did do for me was that it perfectly filled my time. I both wanted and needed something to completely occupy my time, and that did it. There are certain things in life that I don't want to have to think about. Endless work gave me that gift.

Now that I'm retired I get concerned. Hiding is comfortable and safe. Giving yourself time to feel things might result in feeling something you don't want to. Having time is risky business, but so far it's been fine. In fact, the happiness that I retired in search of, felt closer than it's ever been. I really have let go of that endless drive. It's feeling nice.

I did start to notice something though. Internal motivation is hard to maintain without reward. As human beings we have evolved to be reward for everything that is worth doing. Our bodies release great chemicals that tells us to keep doing what we're doing. I continue to write and record audiobooks because I want to, but without the reward of seeing that they're selling, I feel a little hollow. It's like singing into the wind; you can only hear yourself and can never be sure you are the only one.

I guess I'm writing today because today was my designated day for checking my sales. What I found was that I have sold the most I have ever by this time in the month. I feel pretty safe that I will make my quota. One might think that would make me feel good, and it did for a little while. But within hours, my thoughts that I'm not good enough returned. "Why isn't it more?" I asked myself. I could barely stop the thoughts. They simply flowed.

I was glad that I did check my sales though. It turns out that I now sell more in German than I do in English on, and I do it with fewer books. That tells me that I have to get more books out in German. I also found out that a book that I had translated on a whim, is now my best selling book overall. I have three more books in that series, so they will be my next translations.

Knowing my sales also motivated me to attempt something which I first attempted 2 months ago. I thought that the powers-that-be deleted a very important account that I have. It turns out that my plea was listened to and my account was reinstated. Because I was knocked back by its initial deletion, I didn't even bother to check back. But they had listened and today I made a very strong move toward increasing my sales. This wouldn't have happened if I didn't check my sales numbers. Checking my sales is an evil for me, but a necessary one.

Now, I just have to get my mind back into that better place. I need to remember that I'm not required to increase my numbers. Hell, I might need to institute some sort of punishment if my sales go up, to deincentivize myself from making money my goal instead of happiness. It's a tricky thing. I think that my new flower garden has helped me to remember to choose happiness. Seeing flowers makes me happier. But the main thing that I have to look out for is my desire to hide from life popping out in some other way. The problem is that in the past, I have never realized my new addiction until I was knee deep in it. Oh well, I probably won't see the next one coming either. But I have to still venture forward with my plan, and I need to make some time to enjoy the first surfing lesson that I paid for.

Other than that, I feel like a should write 2 stories this week. I have been paying for a promotion all month long and I should really have 2 more stories out before the promotion is complete on the 29th. But on top of that, I have a production assignment. It promises to be a busy next two weeks.

I hope that I will continue to remember that I am actually retired. And I hope that I can find the internal motivation to continue on, even though I don't know how others are responding to it. I think it might have been easier back when publishers would only give you sales figures every six months. I'm sure that authors constantly thought about how well their book was doing, but I bet that it did free the author's mind to focus on other things since you knew that would never know them until the designated date. I guess knowing vs not knowing is a situation that gives as much as it takes.

1 comment:

  1. “Retirement is leaving the stuff that you don't want to do and instead filling your life with the stuff that you really want to do.” That is right! You don’t need a whole lot of money to enjoy your retirement! You can spend your retirement days fishing with your grandchildren, hiking, or renovating your garden. The world is yours for the taking! You can explore things you haven’t done before. Do anything that will give a new meaning to what you believe real life is!

    *Cara Larose