IN October 2012, I retired after ten years as editor in chief of Wales’s largest regional daily newspaper. I was two months away from my 63rd birthday.
Early retirement had never been part of the plan.
I’d been working as a journalist since leaving school in 1969. For the last 27 years I’d held senior editorial positions at newspapers in Llanelli, Stoke on Trent, Exeter and Gloucester.
In 2002 I was appointed editor of the South Wales Evening Post, based in my home city of Swansea. It was the newspaper where I had trained and qualified as a journalist at the start of my career.
Editing a newspaper is special. Challenging, frustrating, tiring, but exhilarating and exciting as well. Editing your hometown paper just makes all of this even more intense.
Discussions with my wife about retirement were short.
“I don’t plan to retire,” I’d say. “What, ever?” “Ever.”
Things change. Your job changes. Your life changes. You change.
And so, after ten years of editorial conferences, campaigns, lawyers’ phone calls, board meetings and (increasingly often) budget cuts, I came to the last decision I expected to make. I retired.
I told my managing director of my decision, and within a couple of months I’d cleared my desk and left my office for the last time.
So, what happens next? I had an idea. To start a blog or a website called RetiredBlokes. Somewhere to chart my journey through the retired life, and invite others to do the same. It was first on my list of things to do in retirement.
And, only 33 months later, here it is.
Nobody can accuse me of rushing into things.