I had planned to work in a newsroom until I was at least 65.
But here I am at 63 1/2 still coming to grips with the fact that I no longer have an internal clock to punch, phone calls to return, meetings to make, interviews to do, columns to write, deadlines to meet, assignments to discuss, staff to manage or stories to edit.
My life changed — my wife says for the better — on May 3. That’s the day I was handed my walking papers as part of Gannett’s latest purge of journalism jobs.
I gave myself a two-month window to find another job as a sports editor or columnist, and now that window is closing.
I was contacted about a few openings, including one that would have returned me to SEC country. If that paper could have waited on me until Aug. 1, I would have taken the job. But with a house to pack and put on the market, I don’t think I could have gotten there much quicker and still felt good about myself.
Why? Because my wife can’t lift more than 30 pounds after nine surgeries in three years. And frankly I’m still feeling guilty after having dumped all the relocation hassles on her during our last two moves in 1999 and 2007.
So I’ve closed the window and busied myself with catching up on yard work and home repairs that were neglected when I was spending all my vacation time in hospitals.
Alas, the window also has closed on receiving Gannett’s less-than-generous separation pay. I’ll soon learn just how far I can stretch Social Security without tapping into my 401K. But don’t worry. I shouldn’t have to open a gofundme.com retirement account to buy groceries.
If you are reading this, then you know how I’ve spent some of my free time since I “retired.” As much as I can afford to do it, I plan to continue blogging and I even promise to do it on a more regular schedule once college football season heats up. My focus will be on the Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences, but I’ll check in on the Atlantic Coast Conference from time to time as well.
Having been a sports editor at three newspapers in three states for 25 of my 41 years in journalism, I’m not ready to put away the laptop yet.