Since I was “outed” last week by a feature story in the Columbia Missourian, folks around here have been asking me, “What do you plan to do in retirement?”
Whoa. Wait just a minute.
You mean I’m supposed to have a plan?
If you didn’t read or hear, a Missourian reporter wanted to do a feature story on a small town weekly newspaper owner and hung out with me for the better part of a couple of days. Of course, the lead part of the story is that I have put the Journal up for sale and am retiring. The reporter, Abbey Perano, was accurate, quite complimentary of myself, the Journal and was very impressed with the Journal’s reader interaction – readers sending in photos, information, etc.
I have been humbled by the number of Journal readers who have congratulated me, told me I’ll be missed, and so on.
But don’t celebrate yet…..I still need to find a new owner for the Boone County Journal.
I don’t know how long that might take – I’ve had a few tire-kickers in the past few months – but my daughter gets married on June 3 in North Carolina and that seems to be a pretty good deadline for stepping aside from the day-to-day activities one way or the other.
But I didn’t really create a plan.
After 35 years in the newspaper business, I didn’t realize retirement required a plan. After a decade of being empty nesters, the idea of planning things like home improvement, camping trips and holiday visits can be stressful, so we don’t do that as much as we used to. Planning that is.
I did plenty of planning to get to retirement, I don’t have much of a plan for what I’m going to do in retirement.
I have also had a few folks wish me luck in my next business venture.
At 57, there is very little chance I will have another business venture. But maybe…..
• Maybe I could grow my hair to my shoulders and become an artisan baker.
• Maybe I could start a dog walking business.
• Maybe I could become a food blogger and write restaurant reviews.
Hmmm…my doctor says my diet needs less bread, my wife knows I don’t like to clean up after my own dog and looking at a blinking cursor day after day after day has me to the point where I’m no longer sure I have anything to say.
That sounds silly, but I am totally amazed by authors – fiction or non-fiction – who can sit at a computer and write for six, eight or more hours per day. I think writers – especially reporters – have a somewhat deranged relationship with words. Oh, we have plenty to say. But how exactly are we going to write our message,…that is the question.
Sometimes the words come quite easily. Sometimes, not so much.
That wrestling match is one part of my job that I will not miss.
OK, I’ll miss it a little bit. Maybe a lot. Writing can be fun when you have the right story to tell – or the right person to write about – it can be a blast. But writing about one more game or one more meeting can be excruciating, especially when you don’t want it to read like the last game story or meeting story you wrote.
But I never made a plan for retirement. I know I want to do a lot more camping. I know I want to see my grandson a lot more often. I know that I want my daughter in Brooklyn to buy me dinner more often (just in case she’s reading) and I know I want to get started on a dozen or so home improvement projects I’ve been neglecting.
And maybe I need to take a month or two to develop a plan.