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Maybe - just maybe - this won't be the year I retire

I don’t believe in making resolutions when the new year arrives. Never have.

To me, that’s always seemed like having yourself chained and padlocked inside a big trunk and then having the whole shebang dropped off a high bridge into real deep water — even though you’re not Harry Houdini and you have no idea how to get out of all those locks, box, etc.

You certainly will get a lot of attention, for a brief moment. Then, of course, you’ll be dead.

So, even here and now, I’m not about to predict any huge changes of behavior or attitude that you can later use against me after I fail to accomplish anything.

But I did run across a throw-away line in an end-of-the-year column I wrote as 2012 was coming to a close, and it shocked me how little progress I’ve made since then.

“The year 2012 will NOT go down in history as the year we got a dog, the year we got smartphones, the year I traded my Honda in for an SUV or the year we won the lottery — all things we keep saying we’re gonna do, eventually.”

Now, bearing in mind that all four of those were things we really had planned to do, it pains me to report that even today — early 2014, for those who still haven’t flipped the calendar page on the refrigerator — we’ve only accomplished one of them: the trading in of my old Accord for a RAV4. And that, quite honestly, was only because the other person who lives at our house put the smack down and declared that if I EVER want to retire I would have to get out there and get a new car so I could pay it off before I could even consider joining the leisure class.

Meanwhile, we continue to waffle on the subjects of (A) getting a dog and (B) getting smartphones. In both cases, money is very much an object — which, of course, would be a moot point if we (C) won the lottery, but so far, no dice.

To be totally truthful here, I don’t even buy lottery tickets until the pot contains several hundred million dollars. Just a few million is hardly worth the effort, not to mention the shot you’re gonna take in taxes.

Besides, there are advantages to having an ancient cellphone. Muggers in New York City don’t even want those old models. I heard a story on the radio last week in which a guy was being robbed at gunpoint, and when he produced his old flip phone, the robber was indignant. “What the bleep is this?” he wanted to know, tossing it back to the “victim.”

That would be me, getting my phone (with its prepaid minutes intact) handed back.

And more and more dog owners keep telling us if they had it to do over again, they would not take on the responsibility of an animal — especially the requirement that you provide multiple walks each day, packing plastic bags for the gathering of the poop, etc.

It’s not unlike our decision years ago not to have children. A lady I work with always refers to me and the other person at our house as “geniuses” for hanging on to our personal time, flexibility and peace of mind — not to mention the money we would have spent trying to provide a life that would even compare to the lives of all the other kids out there, playing sports, taking dance classes, going to college and all the rest. And we’ve certainly never had to worry about our empty nest suddenly and repeatedly filling back up again.

So, let’s not call them resolutions, but I will concede that we do need to make some alterations in our lifestyle as we head into our golden years.

We need to watch our expenses much more carefully, if nothing else just to avoid having to move into a van down by the river.

We are going to try to be more active. If we don’t, we’re afraid we’re going to just keep gaining weight until we find ourselves on the news as the couple that got so big we can’t get out of our house. And nobody wants that kind of news coverage.

And, in spite of that caution about spending, we do need a new computer and also could really use a new TV.

It may well be that retirement is a little further off than I thought.

Former managing editor of several community newspapers, including the Woodburn Independent, Lake Oswego Review and the Times papers, Kelly is chief of the central design desk for Community Newspapers and the Portland Tribune, and he contributes a regular column.



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