I tried to stop working full time last May. I quit my corporate job to get back to freelance writing. I wanted to further explore the world of volunteering, fitness classes, travel for extended time periods using VRBO or Airbnb, exchanging homes with people in my favorite countries, and frequently doing things spur of the moment. I wanted to start a stage of life that would be fun and frivolous. I don’t know how many good years I have left, so I didn’t want to waste time working in an office.
Well, funny how things go. For almost a year, I’ve been freelance writing, but I’m doing it nearly full time in a newsroom downtown with my own desk and computer. My editors are a few feet away. I’m enterprising stories and getting assignments and enjoying the hell out of it. Some days, I’m taking photos for the publication (haven’t done that since 1979 when I was the editor of a small weekly in Marine City, Mich.). I’m working for the business magazine where I was a contributing reporter for 25 years. Imagine that.
I’m thankful for this job that unexpectedly fell into my lap after a talk with the editor who I’ve known for almost 20 years. It gets me out of the house and into a workplace where I can be a reporter and a writer — what I do best — and I can bounce story ideas off of my coworkers, making sure I’m not treading on their territory. They all have specific beats, and I’m more a general assignment reporter.
A city booster and longtime observer of Detroit — during the years when calamity and chaos were the only ways to describe the city — now I get to write about its rebirth, week by week, month by month.
My work place isn’t always the liveliest or warmest place. Some days I barely talk to anyone and, that’s odd, because I’m very social. But it is the way this business publication operates. These are dogged reporters and editors who don’t socialize much (or maybe they just aren’t inviting me to the fun stuff.) Almost all of them are married and raising kids and live in the suburbs.
It doesn’t matter. I have a life outside my job. I meet friends or my kids for happy hour after work. Soon, I’ll be packing my fold-up bike for organized bike rides downtown after work. Endless events await now that spring is here and summer is next.
The adventures I want to have in retirement will have to wait a little longer.