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Reflections on “Retirement”

I SUCK at relaxation. When you spend a lifetime in a career that’s non-stop multi-tasking, slowing down to a normal pace is a bit…challenging.

One morning, when I was sitting in my car with the door wide open, taking in the last tidbits of the news on the radio, a beagle came barreling across my lap and plopped down in the passenger seat beside me. That’s the dramatic entrance our beloved Buster made into our family. We became his “second act” and he found a place in our hearts and home for five wonderful years. As I sip coffee from my mug with that mutt’s picture on it…I just realized I need to follow the lead of our dearly departed dog. My second act won’t find me. I must go searching for it and embrace it with the gusto of that headstrong hound!

Many of us in the Baby Boomer generation don’t really retire when we leave our longtime jobs. Rather than sail off into the sunset, we simply start searching for a new ship. I have my anchor firmly in hand—I just haven’t yet found the right vessel.

It’s been two months since I stepped off the anchor desk and “retired” from a three-decade-long career in television news. It was quite a cap to a career! There were touching tributes, both on and off camera, and a farewell tour complete with parties, pictures, magazine and newspaper stories. I don’t know if my departure from the news biz deserved so much attention, but I will relish it for the rest of my life.

Then, we took an amazing vacation to Scotland and Ireland. Our trip started with our daughter’s graduation from St. Andrews University in Scotland. Let me tell you, the Brits know how to put on a graduation party. It was steeped in tradition and blessedly short :) I felt as if we’d been dropped into a Harry Potter novel with all the bowing, long black robes and Latin. And it wouldn’t be British if there wasn’t a garden party with tea sandwiches and free-flowing champagne. What an experience! Did I mention Carly graduated with high honors?They call it a “first.” (I had to include a little mom-bragging.)

Ireland was warm, welcoming and surprisingly sunny. We experienced breathtaking scenery and one-lane rural roads (that also took my breath away). Isn’t it scary enough to drive on the “wrong side” of the road? Do you have to make the roads so narrow?! I held on for dear life and calmed my nerves with Irish beer while my husband took each twist and turn with the glee of a boy playing boy playing a video game.

We loved Ireland. Both the friendly people and the Emerald Isle itself leave you wanting to come back for more.

So, here I am, the “retired” TV type—incredibly grateful for this time to discover myself and find my “second act.” I know one thing: I SUCK at relaxation. When you spend a lifetime in a career that’s non-stop multi-tasking, slowing down to a normal pace is a bit…challenging.

Come to think of it, Buster and I aren’t that different. I know I’ll find my new “professional” home. When I do, I’ll be channeling his energy and enthusiasm. I don’t plan to jump in the passenger’s side, though. I’ll be firmly planted in the driver’s seat and I’ll see where life takes me. As they say in TV news…stay tuned!


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