Should I be proud or ashamed that I’ve spent the past twenty years on a disability pension? That all depends on your view of social issues. Thanks to my government job which I worked at for fourteen years, I have enough to live on and some money to spare. On the other hand, writing hasn’t been profitable for me.
I’m proud of my pension because I worked for it. Unlike the Alberta’s Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) pension, my federal disability pension isn’t a gift from the government. Though I am searching for writing work, I can fall back on my right to what I’ve worked for.
On the other hand, some folks think I just laze around all day. It would be enjoyable to do that rather than searching for writing opportunities and places to promote my three books but that’s not the way it is. Canada Pension Plan expects me to be actively seeking gainful employment. It isn’t like many welfare programs or AISH where people only need to report if they found work or not.
When I was laid off because of my eye operation, I saw it as my golden opportunity to be a writer. As a child, I loved entertaining girls at school and my sister with the silly tales I made up. Being able to write and search for opportunities all day appealed to me. I work too slowly at conventional tasks anyway so being able to work from home was a boon.
My golden opportunity hasn’t provided me with the gold I had hoped for. Though I’ve written scores of articles and published three books, sales have been minimal. I plan on continuing with my writing career but I no longer harbour the idealistic expectation of hitting the big time. If I can stay on my pension for six and a half more years, I can retire knowing that I tried my best to get my writing in front of readers.