Thought of retirement does cross my mind

On Labor Day, the thought of retirement does cross my mind.

Actually, the thought sometimes crosses my mind when I’m writing this Sunday column some weeks, often because I’m thinking, did I already write about this last month or last year or a decade or more ago?

Chances are your memory is probably better than mine if you regularly tune in to this space.

I touch base with Better Half, my column collaborator, on such things as a reference point, but the response can be a blank stare or a thought-inducing eye squinting that suggests deep concentration on the subject.

Sometimes my thoughts of retirement are rooted in being like “Gone With The Wind’s” Scarlett O’Hara — “pea green with envy.”

I am just ever so slightly jealous of people whose daily doings are not dictated by employer expectations.

No rendering unto Caesar, so to speak. Maybe a honey-do list or something like that here and there, but days generally minus an agenda.

Outside the newsroom workplace, I find myself in a sea of retirees where I am in need of a floatie to navigate my way toward someone still collecting a paycheck, not a pension, someone still grumbling about having to work a holiday or anybody off to bed early because of an alarm clock set to sound way too early.

A husband, cousins, siblings, friends — what’s up with so many people of such varied ages being retired, I grumble to myself on occasion.

The standing joke is I have to go to work, but everyone else has “a long weekend,” of the seven-days-long variety.


The Labor Day holiday is as good a time as any to think about retirement as it is about working itself.

I come from parents who had a strong work ethic, so instead of two positives producing a negative, it made me too much a workaholic probably.

I have never known what it’s like to be unemployed or under employed, whatever that is.

I think of my employment years in the print industry as accidentally on purpose. I didn’t set out to be a newspaper person, and I’m still not honestly sure what I want to be when I grow up, or if I even want to do that, given there’s not much future in it.

When I started working at the Herald-Star the tail end of 1979, my mother was impressed I had a full-time job a mere 10 days after having graduated from college.

My father, meanwhile, was encouraged by the news, mentioning something about coming down here to work and straightening everybody out. I’m still working on that, dad.

I anticipated working here maybe a year, but something odd happened. I stuck around. I’ve learned a lot. And I’ve enjoyed myself. I consider myself pretty fortunate that 98.5 percent of the time I am happy to go to work.

The other 1.5 percent of the time Better Half takes the brunt of my crabbing, as any good column collaborator worth his salt should do.

So I’m holding off on retiring, hoping that Social Security and Medicare won’t be history before I am.

Better Half says technically, I’m already “re-tired” anyway.

I get tired every day, and then “re-tired,” despite napping indulgences.

Either way, Happy Labor Day.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)


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