Bob Groeneveld has been sharing his Odd Thoughts with Langley readers for the past four decades, give or take a few weeks.

Odd Thoughts: Got to get back to the garden

Productive work is good… but retirement is a whole lot better

Odd Thoughts, by Bob Groeneveld


Hey, it’s been a slice!

But like Crosby, Stills & Nash told me and the rest of the world at Woodstock, I’ve got to get myself back to the garden.

No, I don’t remember being at Woodstock… but apparently, that means I probably was there.

Anyway, now I’m definitely here.

And as of today, “here” is back in my garden.

I re-retired yesterday.

Technically, I haven’t been fully retired these past few years.

After I pulled the plug four years ago, I continued to write these love letters to the readers and community that gave me such a great working life as a reporter, photographer, and editor for nearly 40 years. And I hope to continue writing them for as long as the powers that be can spare the space to print them.

But between my Odd Thoughts and an occasional freelance piece here and there, I figure I was only about 98.6 degrees retired.

Then, a few months back, some people smartened up, realized what they had been missing, and asked me – I’m too modest to suggest that they begged me – to come back.

I’ve been filling in for a reporter who has been having the fight of her life… quite literally.

And I have to admit to feeling a bit of guilt over the fact that I’ve been having the time of my life because of the travails that she has been dealing with.

Nevertheless, it has been exciting to get back into the traces, re-establishing old contacts and making a few new ones.

You don’t know what it’s like to get the adrenaline rush of jumping on breaking news, or the warm feeling you get from telling the story of a good person who has done good things, or sharing the triumph of a worthy person’s achievements – unless you’ve been there and done that.

Some people will claim that it’s just an expression, but printer’s ink really does get into your veins.

And for some of us, it’s kind of like heroin.

It’s astounding how the changing world has changed the game that I thought I knew so well. I’ve been feeling like a rookie again – with all the excitement of learning new stuff and exploring new possibilities.

If I was happy to relive my past these three months or so, I’m even happier to get back to my garden… because it means a reporter whom I’ve known for many years – one of the Truly Good People – wants her desk back.

But over the past few years, I’ve also grown accustomed to the slower pace of writing at home, where I can do battle with a writer’s block in my garden.

Or I can reach down and scratch Sam’s ear, or look out to see what Pippin is digging at, or pick up my guitar and try to pick out a few new notes.

Or I can walk down to Donna’s studio and give her a hug.

Any time I feel like it.

Anyone who says retirement is overrated really has to get back to the garden.

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