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  1. #1
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    Default The end of a career (mine)

    I skipped college to hit the road as a solo act. No fixed address, no friends, way too much booze and weed. After 5 years of that, I was just about stark staring crazy. I got what I imagined would be a temporary job as an advertising copywriter (I had a knack). Got married, had kids, and temporary scratched to 16 years.

    But in 1996, I got fed up with it and started freelancing as Gravity Music. In January, I will have been doing this gig for 22 years... jingles, songs and music direction for corporate shows, music for doc films and industrial video, sound design, voice-over, and scoring for video games. If you can burn it to audio CD, I've done it.

    Now, I'm getting old and a bit slower. The phone hasn't rung in months (although I am still finishing up a game score for a fave client). I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand, and was just diagnosed with "trigger finger" in my left. I have been working for 43 years, and like a race car driver, you need to know when to walk away.

    So, we're building a tiny house/1-bdrm apt. on our property here in Santa Rosa, a small city with a huge housing problem. We'll rent it for around $2K a month... and that combined with my Social Security will make a comfortable retirement income. I'll still gig, I'll keep my recording rig and will work on any little thing that comes over the transom (I have a couple of game clients who will always call me, and have said so)... but my days of chasing new business and kissing asses will come to an end.

    I've loved my work, and I'm pretty sad about the idea. But I'm also intrigued about what it will be like to work on my own songs without feeling guilty that I'm wasting time. I can spend more time with my sons and grandsons, slow down on the yard work, putter around with guitars.

    I'm going to be selling some specialized instruments that have been part of my "professional" toolbox... A Variax 700 with the trick cables, a Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin, a Dano baritone, and probably even my beloved SG (since I finished my triple-'bucker Tele, there's quite a bit of overlap). That's going to be kind of sad, too, but I have too many guitars, especially for a hobbyist.

    I will probably require cortical steroid shots in my hands (ouch!!) eventually, and because I live with diabetes (it runs deep in my family, there was no escape) and Crohn's disease, I already spend too much time maintaining this clapped out jalopy of a human body I inhabit. But our home in NorCal is so lovely, as is the ocean, the mountains, and the nearness of our kids and our best friends in the entire world... I don't have much to complain about, really.

    Anyway, just blowing off steam. I'll post the guitars here when I'm ready to sell.

    Are any of you guys retired? How did you fill the time?
    "No matter how smart you thought you were, you are actually way less smart than that." - David Foster Wallace, from Infinite Jest

  2. #2
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    Default

    Mike, wish you the best in the next chapter of your life.
    I'm not sayin' that, I'm just sayin'......

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to CustomWes For This Useful Post:

    StudioMike (07-31-2017)

  4. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CustomWes View Post
    Mike, wish you the best in the next chapter of your life.
    Mike, buddy, I don't know you very well as some FT members, but as Wes said, I wish you brighter future than present is... hope you'll surprise us soon with some nice news. Hang on buddy.


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    StudioMike (08-01-2017)

  6. #4
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    Mike,

    I retired 14 months ago after 38 years as a workaholic in IT, a new industry when I began and one that was changing so fast when I threw in the towel I was just hanging on. My colleagues, wife and children thought for sure I'd be lost without my work and I almost believed them. So much of our self worth can be dictated by what we do but I have to tell you it's the best decision I have made in a long time.

    I have joined a new band, am playing more golf and the honey-dos around the house seem endless. We've bought a beach house located half way between the 2 daughters and are seeing much more of them and friends we didn't even know we had. I'm still taking consulting jobs to keep my hand in it but I'm thinking I won't even do these for very much longer.

    Life is short brother. Enjoy the ride as long as you can.

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    StudioMike (08-01-2017)

  8. #5
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    Thanks, gentlemen. Much appreciated.

    Zenken, I agree. I can imagine what a fine life might be like after retirement. Whether my imagination is close to right is anybody's guess!
    "No matter how smart you thought you were, you are actually way less smart than that." - David Foster Wallace, from Infinite Jest

  9. #6
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    Mike, I was self-employed for 33 years and finally got so 'over it' that I quit (sound familiar?) when I turned 60. That was 7 years ago. I miss the cash flow, but nothing else. I have finally learned to be lazy (good thing- I wore my body out) but there's never a shortage of things to do around the house, or with the vehicles (3 Harleys) or people wanting things fixed or.... Don't worry: Everythings gonna be fine. I'm now recovering from left hand surgery (end of March).... Had the scaphoid bone removed from my hand to alleviate the constant pain of arthritis whenever I used it at all. I have a huge staple permanantly in there and only about half of my original wrist movement due to fusing, but I can reach my guitar necks AND motorcycle handlebars, so life is improving once again.
    All right, you working people.... stay outa my way! I'm going nowhere fast!!

    Happy Retirement!! You're gonna wonder how you ever had time to WORK!
    Bottle Rocket Scientist.....

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    StudioMike (08-01-2017)

  11. #7
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    I'm still working, but I wish I could afford to stop. I'm 67 now so maybe someday, I just never made a lot of money or was able to save much. Oh well, I'm still loving life. I'm sure you'll have plenty to do in the "after worklife," don't worry about that. My wife retired this year and she has already found a lot more stuff for me to do! Make the best of it, Mike!
    "Life's too short not to enjoy great tone."

    Some contend that rock 'n roll is bad for the body & bad for the soul
    Bad for the heart, bad for the mind, bad for the deaf & bad for the blind.
    It makes some men crazy and they talk like fools.
    Makes some men crazy and they start to drool.

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    StudioMike (08-02-2017)

  13. #8
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    Congratulations on this new chapter in your life, Mike! How exciting! I wish you the best. I'll turn 48 this Fall so my retirement (unfortunately) is still a few years off. Enjoy yourself! Many years of (retired) health and happiness to you!
    ~MW
    "But hey, I like these cheap riffs, they make me happy and alive each day here, when all seems lost and grey good riff pump blood stronger, sweat visit your face and - you feel then all right!"~ Elvir 2015

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    StudioMike (08-02-2017)

  15. #9
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    Mike, I love my work and it finally pays well now that I've gotten rid of the office manager who's been ripping us off for ten years (looking forward to his trial in October). I'm 59 and my son is leaving for his first year of college in a few weeks, and my daughter turns 16 in October. So I have no intention of stopping, but when I have time off, I get a sense of what it will be like.

    Aside from building guitars and playing, I am deeply into things like cooking, gardening, reading, cinema (sounds sophisticated, but lately my tastes have veered toward horror, western and kick-ass movies), etc. Just started doing lacto-fermentation and have made some awesome sauerkraut. Moving on to carrots, brussels sprouts and Kimchi, and will be doing some freshly-harvested jalapenos soon. After that I'll harvest some super-hot peppers and make a new batch of my Janky Sauce (the Pimps of Joytime love the stuff, which I ship to them everytime I have a new batch).

    I have an American Standard strat which I bought new in 1989 ($379) that I plan to re-fret (I had the Buzz Feiten thing done to it around 1996, at which time the tech told me it needed a re-fret and talked me into this huge wire that makes me bend every note sharp). That guitar actually has a set of Lindy's hot vintage pickups that he installed himself in 1991 - the story is that I lived a few blocks from him and at the time, he was still winding in the front room of his apartment. He had installed a set a year earlier and I asked him if he could over-wind the bridge pickup. When he gave it back to me he apologetically told me that he hoped I didn't mind that he listened to the original set and was embarrassed at how much worse they sounded than what he was currently winding, and so he replaced the whole set. And he put a blend pot in place of the second tone pot, which dials in either the neck or bridge pickup, depending on where the switch is. He charged me a grand total of $35.

    I guess what I'm saying is, you will find plenty of cool things to do. And you will enjoy it! I'm sure looking forward to it.
    The Human Torch was denied a bank loan.

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    StudioMike (08-02-2017)

  17. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tele savalas View Post
    Aside from building guitars and playing, I am deeply into things like cooking, gardening, reading, cinema (sounds sophisticated, but lately my tastes have veered toward horror, western and kick-ass movies), etc. Just started doing lacto-fermentation and have made some awesome sauerkraut. Moving on to carrots, brussels sprouts and Kimchi, and will be doing some freshly-harvested jalapenos soon. After that I'll harvest some super-hot peppers and make a new batch of my Janky Sauce (the Pimps of Joytime love the stuff, which I ship to them everytime I have a new batch).

    I guess what I'm saying is, you will find plenty of cool things to do. And you will enjoy it! I'm sure looking forward to it.
    Cooking, gardening, literature and cinema, in addition to guitars? If you lived in Santa Rosa, we'd be besties! That's my whole life, bro. I don't grow any hot peppers, but my permanent BFF, my Uncle Bob, lives over in Sebastopol and grows super hot peppers and is getting deeply into fermentation.

    Am I wearing a wire?
    "No matter how smart you thought you were, you are actually way less smart than that." - David Foster Wallace, from Infinite Jest

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    tele savalas (08-02-2017)

 

 
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