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By Mike Sunderland
Thoughts from a Grey-Haired Point of View 

I've Retired... Theoretically


February 3, 2021 | View PDF

A few weeks ago I reached that “Golden Age” that virtually all working class people strive for. Yes! That time of life when we can do just about anything we want without worrying about scheduling conflicts at our place of employment. Yep! I retired a few weeks ago at the young age of 71.41 years old. The wife and I figured that our financial and health needs can be met without too much stress. Dorothy gave me the go ahead to retire after I convinced her that I would behave at home and not get in her hair too often. So, I officially retired Dec. 31, 2020. Hooray!

One of my former co-workers, who shall remain anonymous to protect the guilty, asked me recently, “Mike, how’s it going? Enjoying lazy days around the homestead?”

Now how do I answer? With a long drawn out lie? With the short truth? Or with a combination of the two? I elected to go with the last choice, and told him that, “I’m staying busy taking care of all of the things I’ve always wanted to do but never got around to doing.” When he asked what those “things” were, I said, “You know, fixing stuff, working on my hobbies, and generally staying out of Dorothy’s hair and off of her nerves. Stuff like that.”

Truthfully, I’ve managed to do some of that. What’ve I done the most is simply being LAZY! For the very first time in my life since early childhood, I am able to do what I like doing the most – nothing! Well, almost enjoy doing the most.

The real truth is that retirement is what we make of it. For me, it is giving me the opportunity to live, speak and write freely without worrying about what a co-worker or boss might think. This is called “freedom.”

Prior to retirement, there were constraints placed upon me by my employer. Most were not onerous. But some were rather, shall I say infringements upon my right to free speech, and other rights. It didn’t used to be that way. Today, employees and (most likely) middle management can no longer speak their minds at work or at play without taking a risk of offending someone. Then a complaint is made and the said offender is either forced to apologize while wearing sackcloth and covering himself in ashes, or getting fired.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are some things that are better said among close friends, in private, over a cold drink. But, the freedom of expression in this once great nation is being restricted to the point of strangulation. The current growing oppressive nature of government aided and abetted by the monarchs of social media are now being applied and revealed in a way that we have never seen before in America. But, we saw these things in Nazi Germany, the U.S.S.R., Red China and other oppressive nations around the world.

As an American Veteran of the Viet Nam era (Navy), I fought against dictatorial socialist nations so that my future family and I (wasn’t married then) could live in peace and have full access and use of our natural God-given rights. I am saddened, worried and angered at what I see as increasing restraints being placed on many of our former rights.

Think about it. Even in our rural area we have to be more and more careful of what we write online, or message on our phones. This should not be!

Well, this is enough for now. I’m going to calm down, get hot cup of coffee and think about what I will write about next time. Maybe I can tell a short story of my days growing up in Alaska, or my time in the Navy or my 30-plus years in the newspaper business and give you a chuckle or two.


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