Wendy White Polk

Wendy White Polk

Retirement is a funny thing. Even if you’ve planned for it – mostly the financial part – it’s still a leap into the unknown, a scary proposition.

Friends tell you they have no idea how they will fill the time once they’re no longer working. Until they suddenly realize they have an interesting life that will fill the time quite adequately, thank you very much.

And if doing anything twice makes you an expert, then I am a retirement expert. The first time was in 2017, when I retired after 10 years as editor of El Paso Inc. Robby Gray was named editor, and while he was on vacation last week, I got to fill in for him.

Which happily coincides with my second retirement, because I didn’t really retire the first time. I continued as editor of El Paso Inc. Magazine, the glossy, lifestyle publication that comes out once a quarter. And I did other little jobs for the media conglomerate that is El Paso Inc., writing occasional news stories and contributing to special publications like Kids Inc. and El Paso Pioneer Companies.

When asked, I would tell people I was semi-retired, which meant I could take a spontaneous trip out of town sometimes but not always. Many mornings my husband asked me: “So are you retired today?” Often, the answer was: “Let me check.” Clearly, I was having trouble letting go.

But somewhere in the transition from weekly deadlines to quarterly ones, I began to appreciate the zen of retirement. It’s okay to read a book in the middle of the day. No one cares if I’m not up on the latest news, although I do love Twitter. My husband and I are taking trips to places we’d only dreamed of seeing in person. We’re spending more time with friends and relatives. We also have the time to think and to talk, or not to talk, when that’s right.

And despite the dire warnings, I’ve never felt lost or adrift, looking ahead to days and weeks not cluttered with things we have to do. Now, they’re filled with adventures large and small that we choose to do, when we want to do them.

As of the summer 2019 issue of El Paso Inc. Magazine, the one with lovable pit bull named Lucky on the cover, I’m officially retired again. Well, I had to finish up this issue of the weekly first, then it’s official. Cindy Ramirez, who’s a friend, a fine journalist and editor of Inc.’s B Section, will now head up the magazine.

I am beyond grateful to Tom Fenton for hiring me all those years ago, and to the loyal readers of El Paso Inc. for supporting this important source of local, independent journalism, even as others fade from the scene.

What’s next for me? Some major downsizing – we have far too many items that haven’t given us joy in decades. We’re staying in El Paso, but we’ll visit good friends who’ve moved away. And as summer ends, we’re taking a cruise with some of my husband’s high school classmates to celebrate their 50th reunion.

Maybe this time, retirement will stick.

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