This month, the “year of half-time” trial period ended. The verdict?
Livin’ the slow life has been oh-so-good.
And the goodness doesn’t stop with me. They’d have to confirm it, but I’d say those closest to me are enjoying the fact that less pain, stress, and sickness equals a much more pleasant me. I have time to do the things I’ve always wanted to do, to nap, to invest in my relationships, and as a result, I have a renewed appreciation and love for what I do in my working life. I know I’m very lucky to be able to work half-time in a job I love while being able to afford my independence. This isn’t an option for many people with chronic illness because of familial and financial obligations. I’m unmarried and have no dependents, no mortgage or debt to pay off. I don’t like “stuff” and I can live off very little, so having half the income isn’t a big deal to me, but now that this trial year is over I know I have some planning to do. If I want to keep the oh-so-goodness of the half-time life, I need to have a financial plan to make sure I maximize the earnings I do have. Maintaining my independence while living the kind of life that will keep me healthy is a tricky combo, but I’m hoping some intelligent planning and creativity will keep me where I want to be. Oh, and a really good financial advisor.
So, the work hours stay where they are and I move from “testing the water” to “sink or swim.” The waiting period is over and it’s time to make some long-term plans. I guess I should say that long-term planning isn’t really my thing. I’m more the “why-plan-more-than-one-year-ahead-if-I’m-just-going-to-get-sick-and-have-to-start-over-again” kind of gal. That’s worked for the last nine and a half years, but I suppose nowadays we’re aiming for more of a “plan-ahead-so-I-have-the-skills-and-finances-to-deal-with-sickness” attitude.
How do you start making long-term plans after so many years of fearing the disappointment that comes with having your plans ruined by a lupus flare? How do you make goals when a voice inside you says your life is just a series of temporary windows of health and success? And as I ask these questions, I see one of my keepers in my head, her chin cupped in her hands and a smile on her face:
“That’s easy, babe. You just do it.”