1. Life changing

It’s 8:00 a.m.

I sit in my comfortable chair, staring out the window, a cup of coffee on the table, Pandora playing Bach. The window is my TV screen: people and cars and squirrels enter one side and exit the other. Runners run by, cars drive by, high school kids saunter by… and neighbors leave to go to work or walk the dog or take the kids to school. Another Tuesday morning. Oh wait… I think it’s Wednesday.

Outside my window, 8:00 a.m. is a time of motion and purpose. On this side of the glass, not so much. I sip my third cup of coffee and ponder the big decision: oatmeal this morning, or yogurt?

This time of day glaringly demonstrates my lifestyle change from a short time ago. It’s very clear that those people traveling past my window are working, whether they’re going to a place of work, or managing a home and kids. Each one is actively involved in doing something; they have goals and tasks they need to accomplish before the sun sets.

A couple years ago, I was one of them. 8:00 didn’t find me pulling out of the driveway to go to work, but I was working and producing. And earning. For 20+ years I worked at home as a freelance writer, using the third floor and wifi as my home office. 8:00 a.m. would find me checking my Google calendar to see what phone interviews were scheduled with people in London, Baku or Houston. Or what deadlines I had for the corporate magazine I wrote.

That was then. A couple things have happened since then.

For starters, the price of oil plummeted, and my major oil company client decided that the price of my writing should plummet accordingly. Halliburton and I both took big hits in revenues that year. I decided it wasn’t worth it to write articles for $29 a barrel, so I stopped producing. Last I checked, Halliburton was still hanging in there. As was the major oil company. Gosh, I hope they’re okay.

The other event occurred shortly thereafter, and it wasn’t a surprise. I had suspected it was going to happen for quite some time, but I didn’t think it was a big deal. What happened was… 70. And I quickly learned that when 70 happens, things just aren’t the same.

That combination of 70 and retirement created a person I’m not yet comfortable with: an old retired guy. I know what I used to be: writer, tennis player, husband and father. Now each of those roles is changing significantly.

So I had an idea: why not write a column that explores this new lifestyle? A narrative – like a diary or a journal – of one guy’s transition to retirement, something everyone experiences eventually. Some experience it more gracefully than others. Mine doesn’t feel graceful so far.

Writing this could be fun. Or laborious. Or even boring. Just like retirement itself, I guess it depends on what I do with it. How I handle being an old guy, and writing about it.

No matter what, it should be cheaper than therapy. Right?

17 thoughts on “1. Life changing

  1. Keep at it. Your blog is definitely cheaper than therapy. Hoping I can chuck the couch and therapist by following your footprints on the path to wisdom and serenity.

  2. Sounds honest so far. Keep on telling the story. It gets more interesting as you go along with it. I see me in there with you. I think that is what you want a blog like this to evoke.

  3. Sorry for the delay in responding – I’m still pretending to be Young Guy. As I am approaching retirement (not for several more years), I will look forward to your insights. I also note that you said you used to be a tennis player – you are only a partially retired tennis player.

    1. Well, Lorenzo, I’m not too far behind ya (even tho I yam but a kid…) Don’t consider yerself old until you start getting up in the A.M. and drinking four cups of light sweet crude before topping off the gas tank with Folger’s. Oatmeal or yogurt? Still a long way from being spoon-fed a mashed banana. Tuesday or Wednesday ? Bah, a conundrum common to kiddies. Worry not tilst thou wonder if Ike will run for a third term. Tennis? Most pros come back to the limelight at advanced age, then die. Note? Give it up for good. You can’t wear out a rockin’ chair.

  4. Reflecting on life’s transitions especially as we get older is important. As a writer, you can likely give a perspective to those emotions in retirement (I am in the same boat) that many of us cannot readily access or have yet to resolve. Keep it up.

  5. I have been waiting for most of my adult life for this blog. Makes me feel as old as I now am, but I’m going to blame Father Time for this.

    Michael

  6. I am looking forward to the next installment. Way to go Larry! I may be able to give you ideas from my upcoming book – Condo Confidential to be published in 2025.

  7. The Old Guy blog just might become a group therapy session for many. Thank you for taking us along on this journey. I imagine you will find a well spring of reflections and new perspectives awaiting you.

  8. m, you know we are all “in this” together. I would love to tag along w you and sometimes add my own 2cents. OK, 3.

    I don’t use the word ‘retired’ as I so strongly resist the connotation that “it’s over.” Instead I reply, “I just don’t work for anyone else for money, anymore” but I’m busy as hell. As you know, there are so many choices. As for age, indeed, I SEE the differences all around me, but I’m still sticking with “60-12” because I do still feel very 60’s.

    Try PickleBall…it’s the new tennis for old knees.

    I adore you and your writing. Sign me up. Eternally. Sue/Suzie you know who.

  9. Lar boy, the bid might be old but your spirit an attitude are young. Keep your sense of humor and we’ll keep reading. 😘

  10. Hey, Old Guy! Love the honesty. I too am well past retirement, but afraid to try. So, I am easing in. By taking winters off. Conunt me in as an avid reader!

    1. He is one of our younger classmates but since I’m now 60/12 ( ok to add) I believe mr m is at least 71. Larry???

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