The decision to retire from my day job hasn’t quite sunk in yet, since the magic day is still five months away, but I can already see some shift in my outlook, chiefly in the narrowing of my horizon. It’s actually quite an interesting psychological self-examination. My personal timeline in the bowels of the demented bureaucracy now has a finite end date and that affects my ability to care about events after my departure. It’s not that I no longer care about the people I work with and who’ll still be stuck in the jungle long after I’m gone, but my attachment to outcomes that’ll occur after my departure is fraying quickly.

Likewise, the self-censoring mechanism that keeps me from expressing my opinions too loudly, lest I seriously annoy the higher-ups has begun to erode. There’s nothing like having some shelter from retaliation to grease the old freedom of speech. It’ll be an interesting experiment in self-discipline between now and the end of March as I find a balance between feeling the bonds of bureaucratic servitude fall away and maintaining a professional approach until the last minute. It’s a good thing that I’ve always been known as one of the more outspoken and opinionated among my peers, so my being more free with words and thoughts won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s been paying attention all these years. The other interesting side effect of my decision is on my personal horizon in terms of the things I want to do to further my writing career, the things I need to do around the house and around the other parts of my life. Up to now, there’s always been a sense of urgency in that I feel I need to fill my evenings and weekends with activity in order to make everything happen. However, with the knowledge that my weekdays will be my own come April, I seem to have an increasingly more relaxed outlook. Can’t get it done now? I’ll have plenty of time soon enough, no worries. Now I’m beginning to understand what my friends and family who’ve retired meant when they said they were busier than ever after leaving their jobs, because the stuff I want to do is starting to pile up fast.

I’ll be interested to see where my thoughts wander off to as I get nearer to leaving the dungeons of stupidity, and how many people I manage to alienate in the process of loosening the restraints on my big mouth. I still haven’t received the paperwork from human resources, so even though gossip has made sure everyone knows by now, my retirement date is anything but official. I suppose that once I’ve signed on the dotted line, my self-censorship filters will take their first real hit.

In the meantime, I’m half-way through my editor’s comments on Cold Comfort and figure that I’ll be able to push through most of the rest in the next five or six days. After that, it’ll be another round of line editing and proofing. I’m looking forward to having it out and in my readers’ hands. It’s been a little over a year since Zack Decker first strode upon the sci-fi scene and his fans are beginning to get impatient. His creator as well, I shall confess, since I’d like to be able to focus entirely on the third Dunmoore story. I’m curious to see how much my productivity as a writer will improve once I no longer have to spend eight hours a day, five days a week working for “the man.”