Monday, December 7, 2015

It's official. I'm retired.

Maybe I can label this as a birthday gift to myself, but all I am doing is admitting what is real As of today, I am officially, totally, completely retired.

That took long enough.

I really was retired in 2014 when Kevin Dale told me my job at The Denver Post was being eliminated. I just didn't realize it then. I won't go through all the time between now and then because I have detailed part of it in earlier blogs.

Here's where I am now.

I get up each morning and decide what I want to do. Usually that is to sit down and write a part of a novel. It also involves considerable time brushing up on German, and I am nearly finished with the intermediate course from an online educational source. (I am far short of speaking the language well because conversational German is far harder than breaking apart sentences on a computer.) I am sort of a house husband who takes care of the dishwasher, laundry and very occasionally the vacuuming. I take time for trips to visit family whether that visit involves a drive or flight of a few hours. Debbie and I have gone to Europe. We have another trip planned for this spring. I spend more time with Deb, which was not the case during my working days when one of us went to work early in the morning and the other one in mid-afternoon and worked until after midnight.

I also have become the main caregiver for my dad. I have learned so much. I learned that he is a cool guy at age 98. He is as independent as he can possibly be. Our time together has been a piece of cake. He is low-maintenance and most appreciative of even the smallest things done for him. I have learned even more about him since he had a stroke. He is mentally tough, and he makes improvements little by little. He has lived a life of doing what needs to be done day by day, and loving those around him, and that hasn't wavered. I am proud to call myself my father's son.

So today I raise my cup of coffee to my family members. I knew it before, but the true gems in life are the people who are closest to you. Deb and I are blessed to have three amazing grown children, and three fantastic grandchildren, and in-laws who are great additions to the family. I am blessed to have a beautiful loving and compassionate wife, and we strive to make our relationship better every day.

So I have a full schedule. It's that I get to determine what that schedule is. Now I am getting ready to welcome relatives who are in the area for a visit, and then we all go to visit Dad at a rehab center. The rest of the day? I will take what I want when I want to take it.

That is a great thing. I wonder why it took me so long to realize the wisdom of it.