Now for the topic I actually wanted to write about, when I decided to review 91 Days instead; my early retirement. Those whom I’ve known for a while already know about the struggle, but to those who might have stumbled upon this by accident, I’ll write a few words about it.
First of all, I’ve been stuck in the system since I was 18, which is pretty darn long, thinking about me being 31 now. In those many years, I tried fitting in, do as I was told, and overall just find my place in society. Funny enough, I failed every time I tried, and after several wrong diagnoses, many people who were hired to help but did the opposite, and a lot of internal struggles, I decided to simply give up. I’m usually not a person who ever gives up until everything has been tried, but despite what people might say about me, I’m only human, and I have my limits.
After half a year with a bitch of a contact at the jobcenter, the Asperger diagnose gnawing inside my head, another 2 years with a new contact, and constantly moving 1 step forward and 2 steps backwards, I decided that it was time to give up. At that point, suicide was the only thought that gave me some sort of comfort. The thought of always having an option, even if it was the very last one. It’s not like I wanted to die, especially not since I have a son and a boyfriend, but my head was full. I told my contact, that it was time for my early retirement, and I was ready to fight for it, as I was done with the bullshit system, and couldn’t take any more of it. There was no place for me in this society, and I had realized that, but of course she said “You have so much potential!”, and wrote the dude who had to decide whether or not it was time a note saying, that I wasn’t ready for an early retirement.
It made me so angry. You won’t believe the anger I felt after reading her note. My doctor for over 11 years said it was time. My old family counselor whom I’ve known for 7 years said it was time. My mentor for over a year said it was time. My parents were worried, and let’s not get started on my boyfriend. But that didn’t bother my contact at all. Lucky for me though, her opinion didn’t really matter that much. The dude got a statement from my doctor first, which of course ended up in a report in my favor. The doctor of the county said it wasn’t good enough though (of course not…), and asked for a psychologist to have a look at me. After talking to him, his report also ended up in my favor, and my contact at the jobcenter gave up, and changed her note to “It’s time, there’s nothing more we can do”. It was still not up to her though.
I expected a no, I really did. I was ready to start a 9 month long fight with the system. But I got a letter saying, that my early retirement had been granted, and would start from the 1st of October. I had it there, right in front of me, black on white, and yet I felt almost nothing. My 13 years of struggle had found an end, but I was too broken to even care much for it. I cried, a lot, but mainly because I had a hard time trusting the words of a system that has been lying towards me, and abusing me for years.
But now I’m retired. No more working as an intern. No more trying to fit in where I don’t. No more stress from a system that doesn’t care. It’s all over. Now it’s finally the time for me to be who I am, and not the one the system wanted me to be. I’m gonna cherish that last piece of self-respect and honor I still have left in me, and will now live my own life. Kind of about time if you ask me.
Now, I’m sure some will think “She’s just lazy!”, because there are always people who think that about those who are stuck in the system. The truth is though, that I’m everything but. I hate, no, I absolutely DESPISE being bored and having nothing to do. Being declared unable to maintain a job doesn’t mean I’m lazy. It just means that I’m unable to maintain a job. And believe me; I’ve tried my hardest to fit into the modern job system. I’ve been an intern at so many places, that I don’t even remember them all anymore, and I’ve got a pretty good memory. I’ve worked with kids, computers, graphics, plants, pets, zoo animals, elderly, decorations… I’ve even tried starting an education a few times, always dropping out because I didn’t fit in and became stressed. As the psychologist said; “I see no reason for the jobcenter to try you out in another job, when you’ve been through so much already, and it would only stress you further”. It’s usually a law that people who are considered for an early retirement must first show that they are incapable of maintaining a job, and that is being proven by being an intern… and failing. To me though, that would mean lots of unnecessary stress, another depression, and most probably an attempt at suicide in a fragile moment of despair.
So, what does it mean for me to be retired? It means that I’m no longer a puppet of the system. They are no longer allowed to send me out as an intern, or force me to search for a job or start an education anymore. I no longer have to go talk to someone every 3 months, and they are no longer allowed to monitor my bank account. The last one is the most important to me these days, as I’ve started my Etsy shop, and want to expand someday. I’ve not been allowed to make any money myself, as I’ve always gotten money from the state. I can see the point in it, but it’s just really demotivating. Now, it’s not in their hands anymore, and I have just about the same rights as a person who has a regular job.
That’s it… But to round this topic off for today, I want to also tell you, that I do know many other people who would deserve an early retirement, and some that strive for it because they are lazy. I was told by my mentor, that those lazy people are the ones making it hard for people like me to get an early retirement. I know very well how lucky I am for being here now, and I will never take my newfound freedom for granted.