In another 40 or 50 years, I am going to be able to afford to retire.
When that day comes, I am going to walk out of the press box one final time, file my last story, take a deep breath and say, “What in the name of the dear Lord in heaven above am I supposed to do now?”
Since I’ve started going back to the YMCA to work out in the mornings, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the locker room around retired men. There are a lot of them there at 9 a.m. when most guys my age are working (sports writing is more of a second-shift type of job). While I don’t say much, I do listen to their conversations, much of which is about what they do in their free time now that they are retired.
As near as I can tell, most of them spend their retirement years doing one or more of the following things: playing golf, fishing, traveling or tinkering around the house.
All of which sound like absolute torture to me.
I have never played a round of golf in my entire life — unless, of course, you are talking about the type of golf that involves hitting the ball past the spinning windmill. I’m pretty sure none of them are talking about that kind of golf. To me, golf is just another sport in the long line of athletic endeavors at which I would almost certainly stink. I have never shown any proficiency at any sports in my life and I can’t imagine why golf would be any different. There’s an old saying in the sports world: “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” Sounds about right for me.
I can’t imagine I’d enjoy fishing any more than I would golf. Unlike golf, I’ve actually been fishing in my life. My older brother and I used to go a fair amount when I was in high school. I actually loved it back then — but that was mostly just because I was spending time with my big brother, whom I idolized, swapping dirty jokes and philosophies on life. As for the fishing part itself, to me, it mostly seemed like sitting around and drowning worms. If you’ve ever met me (and let me apologize in advance if you have) you know that sitting still waiting for something to happen isn’t really in my personality.
Of course, traveling doesn’t sound any better than either of the other two options. To be perfectly honest, I largely detest traveling, be it by plane, train, boat or automobile. I like it here in Troy. Just about everything I could possibly need or want is right here. I have little desire to “broaden my horizons.” The horizons are plenty broad enough right here in the King of Cities.
I’ll be perfectly honest … I start getting panic attacks any time I have to travel any farther than Miami County’s borders. If it weren’t for the sporting events I attend as part of my job, I doubt I’d do it more than three or four times a year. Heck, I get a little skittish just driving to the other end of town. People keep telling me there’s a great big world out there I’m missing. You know what? I’ve been missing out on root canals my entire life, too, and I’d prefer to keep it that way.
Which brings us to my option: tinkering around the house, working on home repair projects. How is this appealing to anyone in any way? Don’t get me wrong, I know there are people out there who absolutely love this sort of thing. My father-in-law has an entire garage full of tools that I couldn’t possibly identify. Last summer, he tore out his entire back porch and built a new back deck, completely with barbecue and fire pits, literally doing it brick by brick. I love the guy, but do you know what that looked like to me? Work. Lots and lots of work. Isn’t the whole idea of retirement getting away from work?
I guess when I think about it, I don’t really have any hobbies to keep me occupied in the scant amounts of free time I have. Do you want to know what sounds like a neat thing to do after I retire? Going to high school sporting events, talking to coaches and athletes, then writing stories about what I just saw.
I suppose I might as well just work until I die, because retirement sounds like a fate worse than death.
David Fong writes for the Troy Daily News, a division of Aim Media Midwest.