While I’m hopefully not running the risk of sounding like a motivational poster that involves a kitten dangling from a high wire with the partially obscured message in the photo above (taken by me on 2/04/2023 at the beach behind the Hotel del Coronado), I am writing this post in celebration of the two-year anniversary of my retirement. And to be totally honest—and this is coming from someone known for not being the most positive person in the universe—it really has been nothing but blue skies.
I retired from San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, after an almost 21-year career with that august organization. It was time to go. I had been telling my boss since around 2015 that I was retiring in 2020 when I turned 65 (!), but the pandemic did two things to me: Screwed up my timeline (slightly) and just reinforced my belief that there was life after Comic-Con. Of the latter, I can assure you it’s true. Charles M. Schulz never got around to stating this in the Peanuts comic strip or as the title of one of his cute little booklets that were published in the 1960s and ‘70s but “Happiness is an Empty Inbox.” Waking up to no emails each morning is one of the great joys of retirement. I caught onto that perk rather quickly.
I’m writing this partially because I was at an event recently that brought me into contact with my old job and some of the people I worked with. People still treat me like I’ve been missing in the forest after a long hike and while it’s kind of endearing, it’s also a tad annoying. I’m not wrapped in plastic like a couch in grandma’s house; I’m alive and kicking, walking and breathing of my own volition, and enjoying the life I have. While I’m far from worry-free (I know at least one person laughing at me using that term if she’s reading this … you know who you are), I am a bit more … well, content these days. Content is a good word, especially for someone like myself who has never categorized himself as “happy.” I don’t even like that word. As Shirley MacLaine once said on Oprah (and I promise you this is probably the ONLY time I will mention either of those women on this blog), “I think I would have been a whole lot happier if I was just a little dumber” (I’m paraphrasing here). It’s true. I think too much, I worry too much, but maybe now, with two years between myself and that thing called a “job,” I do a bit less of either. Or maybe the things I think—and worry—about are a bit more mundane; they certainly seem less earth-shattering: What’s for lunch? What will I read—or watch—next? Where am I walking today? What’s for dinner?
So here I am, entering my third year of retirement, slowly becoming more of a homebody. The travel bug is a little less itchy; my wanderlust has turned into more of a wander-crush. I think I want to go back to England this fall, later than last year so I can see London decorated for Christmas once again, maybe visit Harrogate for Thought Bubble, too. But not for three weeks like I did last fall; maybe a much calmer and more sedate ten days or so. No New York, no San Francisco, no Portland (I was just there), and probably no Seattle. Travel is less enjoyable, more expensive, and people on airplanes and in airports are far more annoying. I have a secret personal project I’m contemplating that will take up a bit of time and effort (and money), and who knows what will happen with that. But in the meantime I have this here blog thing (that word—“blog”—is starting to sound so archaic, like MySpace or AOL or some ancient artifact from the early Internet era with loud pings and crackling noises at start-up), but as for the future, well … “Watch this space.”
Two years ago I took a leap into the great wide open. I totally lucked out with—so far—nothing but blue skies. I know I just clumsily melded two songs from two different eras, but hey, it’s my anniversary. Sue me. But don’t expect much, money-wise. As my calling card (it’s certainly not a business card) reads, I’m “gainfully retired.”
Yes, this is an actual card I hand out.
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