I'm pretty sure David Bowie wasn't thinking about someone in our situation when he recorded that song in 1972, and it's a stretch beyond my capabilities to make the lyrics apply completely. Nevertheless, changes are coming to Casa Fire Ant. MLB and I are retiring...sort of.
2015 was the fortieth year of our professional careers. *sigh* There's no honest way to soften the blow of that reality, other than to admit that we've been incredibly blessed during those four decades, and we really aren't sexagenarians in our own minds.
Anyway. We had planned to retire on April 1, 2016, a date that worked for us for some financial and insurance reasons, and we had informed our management of that decision last summer. [Oh, for those who don't know it, my wife and I work for the same company. This is the second time we've done that, by the way, but that's another story for another time.]
But, things change. (Sense a theme here?) A few weeks ago, we were approached by management with the idea of working part time, rather than leaving cold turkey. As it turns out, because of the collapse in oil prices - you may have heard inklings of that at one time or another - the company had instituted a "soft" hiring freeze, meaning that vacancies couldn't be filled. Obviously, the work we were doing wouldn't stop because we retired, but they wouldn't be able to hire someone else to do it. So, we were pitched the idea of working reduced hours.
Frankly, this is an attractive option for us, for a number of reasons that we don't need to get into, and we accepted the offer after a very short period of contemplation. So, beginning next week, we'll be working three days a week, and enjoying a four day "weekend," for the duration of 2016.
It's an exciting change, and not quite as anxiety-producing as the idea of complete retirement. It does mean that we'll be sticking around Midland for at least another year, despite the increasingly alluring siren song of the Texas Hill Country. It's likely that we'll be traveling there more often, but it will also give me more time for some of my neglected hobbies, like photography and blogging.
The latter should strike fear into your heart.