I have a tendency to doubt myself. (One of my creative heroes, Gavin Aung Than, just posted a new comic, The Calling, about artistic self-doubt.) Whenever something is going well, I draw a shadow around it, and ask, "But is this okay? Should I be doing something else?" In this case, I'm asking, should I be "working?" I retired early knowing that I am healthy and intended to work somehow or other to bolster my cash flow. So, that has been on my mind.
My pension is significantly less than my full-time pay. Yet, I feel so blessed to have a pension. All those years of not making much money as a teacher now pays off in the pension. It's not as if it's "free" money. It was invested for me during the 22 years I was a State of Hawaii employee. I also have annuities that I started when I turned 40. (DO IT, those of you who don't have one yet. Get automatic deductions from your pay check and you won't even feel it.) And when I turn 62, I'll have social security, if I choose to start at that time.
Since I do love to travel, I would need to generate more income to have more of those experiences in the future. There are also unexpected expenses that come up (car, dentist). So there is a need to generate income.
But here is what my life looks like. I wake up when I wake up and that seems to be after 7-8 hours. (Yay for sleep!) I have my coffee and breakfast and read the paper. On Mondays, I'll do both crossword puzzles (easiest of the week), and the other days, I'll attempt one. I finish that about 9:00 - 9:30. I then go into my "studio" and work on whatever project I have made my priority. I wrote my play, Pulani, into a rhyming story and now I am working on illustrating it. Around 1:00, I get hungry for lunch and after lunch I will either continue the project, sketch, play guitar, read email and other online surfing, or do chores. I have to make a conscious effort to do chores. Some days, when I feel the need, I give myself days off and go to the beach, or go walking, or sketching away from the house. If other things come up, like appointments, lunch dates, or tango classes, I fit them in at will.
I have always wanted to have "work" that was not like work; that is, it is so natural and flowing, even if it involved effort (like drawing now), it didn't feel like work. This is the life I have now and I love it. Now, will I generate income from it, as in a business? I don't know, but I will put it out to the universe. I definitely don't want to write just to make money. I am not that desperate for money. I am desperate to do my thing, to finish my writing projects, to express myself, and to share with anyone who is interested. If I can make money somehow, then that would help me to continue to live this creative life. That entrepreneurial drive is weak in me, but I am open to the possibilities that may ensue.
Diane Aoki is a writer who explores other modes of creativity as her intuition leads her.