Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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May 18, 2013

KATHI NAILLING: I’m not ready to retire just yet — I’m just thinking about it

ATHENS — Retire? Who retires? I have reached that age where retirement could be part of my future. Too many times I hear my friends say I can’t afford to retire. Well, I can’t. But, I am thinking more about what I would do if I  were to ever to retire.

Jackie, my husband, retired at 62. He was 13 years my senior. Jackie planned his retirement. Me not so much. He always said when he turned 62 he was retiring. He also had a young wife who could continue working  and make sure he was insured.  He had it made. Jackie loved retirement and never looked back. I don’t have the luxury Jackie had of being insured at 62. Retirement may have to wait.

I do know the day will come when I will want to slow down, or maybe I won’t have a choice — eventually that age thing is going to catch me. The day will come when I may just run out of energy.  I have never considered myself a workaholic, but I do enjoy most aspects of my job.

What would I do if I retire?

Many people view retirement as a time to quit working. I know I will have to do something. Work part time or volunteer. I just know during my golden years I don’t want to sit on the front porch rocking.

If I ever got the chance to do life over again,  I might have made more choices. I would have taken more chances and had more adventures. Maybe not taken myself so seriously. There is a poem called, “If I Had My Life to Live Over,” and it was written an 85-year-old woman. Part of the poem reads, “I’d dare to make more mistakes next time;  I’d relax. I would limber up; I would be sillier than I have been this trip; I would take fewer things seriously; I would take more chances; I would take more trips; I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers; I would eat more ice cream and less beans; I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.” The woman was talking about herself, but it could have been me. Or it could be any of us thinking about getting older.

I have worked for newspapers for more years than I care to remember. It’s my kind of career, because I am nosey and want to know everything. It’s in my genes.  We are a nosey bunch of people. There may be times, like any other job, it  gets overwhelming. Then some breaking news story happens and you again realize why you chose journalism.  Newspapers gave me the opportunity to meet some really great people I may have never known had I chosen a different career.

The New York Times printed a study from Yale researchers that said losing a job at an older age can be devastating to your health. I don’t need anything else to devastate my health. Not that I  think I will lose my job, at least I hope not. It’s just time to think about retirement. It gets tiring thinking about retiring.

I still am not sure what I would do if I retired. What I do know is I could never stay home cleaning, cooking, doing yard work or anything so domesticated. Just ask my friends — Susie homemaker I am not. That’s OK if that is what you like. It’s just not me. Jackie did all the cooking in our family. I clean the house because I hate a dirty house. Again, Jackie was great at cleaning the house. The yard work, I would rather hire someone to do it.

So what is left in retirement? Volunteering! I have always wanted to be a CASA volunteer. Road to Recovery is a Breast Cancer support group, and I could do that. Meals on Wheels is another organization always looking for volunteers. I would love to work with the adult GED classes. This will all have to wait until I make that decision to retire. My job obligations don’t afford me the time needed for some of this volunteer work, but retirement will.

They say life begins at retirement. I guess I still have a little while before I will have to find out  how my life will begin.

E-mail Kathi Nailling at

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