Words, Words, Words

September 28, 2000

I do intend to finish the Worldcon report, but not tonight, and not this weekend, either. Tomorrow I'm going to New York to see "Richard II" and "Coriolanus". Should be fun, but it does mean I'll be away from the computer.

My nephew, Louis Joshua Blachman, and niece, Sarah Alitzia Blachman, were born on September 12th after a difficult labor. My brother has posted photographs of the twins on the web. The whole family is home from the hospital and doing well.

The other big news is that I've pretty much decided to start working part-time for a while. For the last couple years I've been pretty tired after work, to the point where I'd often fall into bed an hour after I got home and not get up till morning. The last few months have been worse; sometimes, even when morning rolls around I'm still too tired to get up. I've simply called in to work and taken leave on the worst of those days, but that can't go on forever. I simply don't have enough leave saved up.

I know I'll be happier working three days a week. The only question, really, is whether I can afford it. I've been trying to save as much I can, knowing that I'd have to cut back eventually, and right now I have about 1/5 of what I think I need to retire. That's less than I'd like, but it's enough that if I can just break even on my living expenses for long enough my retirement will take care of itself. (And, of course, I'll keep contributing money into the federal Thrift Savings Plan, it's just that 15% of my salary won't be as much as it used to.) I'm not actually sure that I can break even on my living expenses, not without giving up science fiction conventions, season theater tickets, and other essential luxuries; but I can cut back considerably, and I have enough money saved up to manage for two or three years. At which point I can revise my plan if necessary, maybe working four days a week or even going full-time again if I feel recharged enough.

And the extra hours will give me time to work on what I want out of life, besides making a living. I'd like to get back into writing, to be more active online, to watch more movies and read more books and feel more like I'm living instead of just doing enough to survive. (Lest I get too overwrought here, let me remind myself that "just doing enough to survive" has included things like $400 Shakespeare trips to New York. I have a good life, even with the rough patches. I just want a better one.)

Even though I've convinced myself this is the logical thing to do, I still don't feel entirely comfortable about it. I have to believe that I can take care of myself, and sometimes that involves denial about how hard things can get. It goes against the grain to do less than a full work week, and to cut my margin of safety. But there are also times when a decision that has been a long time coming suddenly crystalizes, and I think this is one of them. I won't commit myself to a decision for a while longer, but more and more I feel like my mind has finally been made up, that the time has come.

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