I thought I was prepared to retire from the Daily Mail in February. I had watched my Dad when he retired in the 1980s and struggled to figure out what to do with himself.
After being a reporter for most of the last 49 years, I was pretty sure I still enjoyed journalism more than trout fishing, traveling, watching sports or taking a nap. I took the time to try 'em all again just to make sure. Yep, journalism still ranks No. 1.
Reporting is wonderful. True, there are many ways to make more money. But reporting provides an opportunity to meet interesting people, ask questions, connect the dots, be the first to know, get the instant gratification of seeing your name in print, be held accountable and enjoy being engrossed in a project.
I also knew I wanted to start my own business. My father and I had a rare coin and currency company in Fairmont for 36 years. We had lots of ups and downs but it was always exciting because we were in charge. Our decisions cost us or made us money. This focuses the mind when people are relying on you and there are bills to pay.
I did not realize how many things at home I'd put off over the years. Sure, I had a list (make a household inventory; organize the basement workbench) but the more I thought about it, the longer my home list grew (re-finish the basement floor, install more insulation).
My wife and I also realized that because I was working from home, I could pick up more chores (vacuum; grocery shop) and manage some long-needed house projects (the bathroom has new paint and new medicine cabinets).
There were subtle changes, too. My wife still rules the home turf on weekends. But on weekdays, after she leaves for her office, the house is mine. I can put a note pad down at 8 a.m. and it is still there at 5 p.m.
Even more startling: If I move the coffee pot, my preferred location for it will likely prevail. But there are limits. Re-arranging the spices without permission can turn a loving home environment into an icy chamber of silence.
Despite the surprises and learning curves, I formed a limited liability company a month after retiring. It was easy. Almost all of the state forms can now be completed online. That's progress.