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.