Now What?

“OK. Now what do we do?”

By far the most common question I’ve heard since September 30 is “What are you going to do?” I’ve routinely said “Don’t know, but I’ll figure something out.” I’ve several hobbies: I’m a decent photographer, I’m a bicyclist, I read several books a week. I’ve a national reputation as a baseball researcher. In earlier lives I’ve organized political campaigns, written software, officiated at bicycle races, and won a prize for a paper focused on transportation history. I’ve been a bicycle club president, I’ve helped run a computer bulletin board, I’ve been active on church committees, I’ve organized a national convention for a volunteer organization. And I haven’t even mentioned music. I really don’t think finding things to do will be an issue.

What’s less clear, right now, is what I will actually do. I’m planning to get serious about bicycling again, but I don’t expect or want that to take over my life. Photography will likely remain a hobby; it’s always been something I practice diligently for extended periods, then almost completely abandon. I’ll continue to attend baseball games; that’s a lifetime constant. I’ve contributed to The SABR Encyclopedia in the past, and plan to resume doing so. There’s work to do around the house, but neither Joan nor I expect that to be my main pastime. I also have a few long-standing commitments, here and there, that I aim to wrap up, but those are finite projects and none are a life’s work.

Beyond that, there are certainly options. I have baseball research projects I’d like to tackle. There’s some Great Lakes history I expect to research; perhaps there’s a book or two in that. Perhaps Proposal 1 will pass today; I’d certainly consider running for Con-Con Delegate. I might rekindle my railfan addiction, and perhaps build a model pike in the attic. There are places I’d like to (re)visit, books I’d like to read, people I’d like to meet. I probably can’t do all of these things, so I’ll need to make some decisions.

Anyway, I’m confident I’ll find useful things to fill my day. But I’m not hurrying to solve this puzzle.

Although they’re also eligible to retire, some of my colleagues are not sure how they’d fill their days without the pattern of a daily job. So they are staying on. This is good, as their experience will be valuable as new staff joins, and the new leadership reorganizes, state government. Note, though, that they read absence of routine into the "Now What?" question, and vote for structure. There’s another reading for the question. I see a multitude of opportunities.

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3 Responses to Now What?

  1. Clarice Vickers says:

    Hi Joel,

    Joe shared your thoughts on retirement with me. Your summary of “opportunities” is what I’ve been saying to Joe. I’m definitely at peace with my decision to retire. I too look at retirement as a chance for unknown opportunities and to do new things. I’ve spent my time in structure. Now, I want to wing it for awhile and enjoy my summer with Dave.

    I know you will enjoy your new-found time and how wonderful it will be for Joan and you when you both can later share even more adventures together. One chapter before Joan retires and another chapter after. How wonderful! ENJOY every day!!!

  2. joel says:

    Thanks, Clarice. Make sure I get invited to any retirement teas/luncheon as the year ends.

  3. joel says:

    Did a slight rewrite of the last paragraph, at Joan’s request. Basically, I generalized the point.

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