I’m celebrating a milestone. It was exactly one year ago this week that I retired.
When I was a kid I didn’t lay awake, dreaming of becoming a reporter or working for a newspaper. Like a lot of things in live, it was something that “just happened.” Much to my surprise, it didn’t take me long to realize that I actually enjoyed the work.
There were a few times early on that I decided to leave and try my hand at something else. I had some decent jobs but there was always something missing. I kept going back to being a reporter and finally, I accepted the fact that being a reporter was what I was supposed to be doing.
With health issues cropping up over the last few years, I realized I wasn’t able to get out and do the job the way I used to and finally, I decided that when I hit age 62, I’d retire.
It almost worked out that way...almost.
Last year, on the day before my birthday, I developed a really fierce case of heartburn. I did all the normal things...Tums...Pepto...Coke. Nothing touched it.
Cheryl wanted me to go to the ER but I wasn’t about to go to the ER for a simple case of heartburn. When I started having pains shoot up my left arm, I changed my mind.
In the ER they did their little tests and they showed that I had had and was still having a heart attack. They shipped me off to VCU in Richmond where they put a stent in, gave me a ton of meds and, a few days later, they turned me loose. I managed to enjoy Thanksgiving at home and I had a lot to be thankful for. Then again, I’ve had a lot of reasons to be thankful every year.
Getting used to being retired wasn’t as easy as I’d expected. There were things that I did that I just did automatically just from habit. Shaking those habits was a challenge. Even now if I hear a fire siren, I immediately grab my phone to find out what is going on. There were even times when I’d grab my camera and start out the door before I realized “Hey, you don’t chase fire trucks anymore.”
It was strange to know there was a Town Council or Board of Supervisors meeting going on every month and I wasn’t there taking notes.
Press day – Tuesday – was interesting. I kept feeling I should be finishing up stories or working on pages.
In a way, I retired at just about the perfect time. Just a few months later the pandemic started and so I didn’t need to go out into crowds. Had I not retired I would have kept on doing the job...but I don’t know just how I would have done it.
A year later, I’ve basically adjusted to being retired. Being one of these “seniors on a fixed income” ain’t all it’s cracked up to be but thankfully, I don’t have as many expenses as I did.
I spend more time doing things around the house to make things easier for Cheryl, who is still working. I have a lot more free time than she does and it’s only fair that I do more.
I spend more time with the animals who hang out around the house. Some mornings I’ve gone out to feed the heard and there are 8 or 9 cats and just as many raccoons sitting on the porch, waiting for breakfast.
I don’t use an alarm clock because I go to bed and I get up when I decide to.
It’s very seldom that I have anywhere I absolutely have to be or any particular time I have to be there.
That, I have to admit, is pretty cool.