Congratulations for retiring! very well deserved gift/guitar you are getting for yourself
Of course it will be your decision, i just want to throw my opinion...
About Fenders (cuz i started out as a Fender fan), i will say that for strats i have always preferred mim, and for telecasters USA. I dont know what it is but i do find difference in sound in the USA telecasters vs MIM. Although the price gap is wide. Anyways, I really liked the new color Fender came up on the new Ultra series, "TEXAS TEA", you should check it out, but try to look for a video cuz in the pictures they dont show the color as it is (it has a bit of a shine), wish i could get my hands on a texas tea strat haha...oh one thing is that for the new USA Telecasters i know they changed the neck profile to a D, they say its slender with more shoulder, or something like that
If you want a Gibson, that one is hard haha cuz i would tell you to get both the Firebird and the 335 hahha..have you played both models? are you inclining more towards one? they are very different