The Other “R” Word For January 2024

The Other “R” Word For January 2024

Since January 2017, I’ve been sharing a listing of New Year’s Resolutions I intend to keep over the next 12 months. 

Studies have shown that by the time pitchers and catchers report to Spring training in mid-February, most people have failed miserably in their quest to keep their resolutions. As promised in previous years, I’m not eating healthier or losing weight; I’m happily spending my children’s inheritance; I’m procrastinating more, and I have not eaten any man-made concoctions pretending to be meat.

That said, resolutions are for people who have responsibilities in life and need to stay on the straight and narrow. I am proud to announce that this moniker no longer applies to me.

You see, I no longer have any responsibilities. I’m no longer required to go to bed early on a Tuesday night or get up early in the morning. Our children are grown and standing on their own two feet without our assistance. For me, January 2024 represents a different “R” word other than resolutions.

I’ve Retired. After more than 50 years, beginning with odd jobs and culminating with a career as a Healthcare IT Professional for Northwell, I’ve decided to hang up my spikes and call it a career.

It all started when I needed my own money the summer I turned 15. My father suggested I see if they needed any help in the pizza parlor (that’s what we called it back then) down the block from our home in Massapequa. 

It was owned by an elderly couple that reminded me of my grandparents. I was nervous, not at the thought that my prospective employer would say “no,” but that they might say “yes.” The first question he asked was, “Are you sure you will show up when you are supposed to?” I thought it an odd question, but it proved to be a tenant for the rest of my life. It was all about personal responsibility. You agree to something, and you stick with it.

We agreed to a few days a week that summer for a dollar an hour.

I learned the fine art of floor sweeping, counter wiping, and washing pots and pans. They wouldn’t let me near the oven, but I could have all the Italian ices I wanted.

Most of all, I learned the value of earning (and spending) my own money. They paid me cash, and I worked hard for those 20 or so dollars each week. Who knew anything about taxes or W2s back then?

Unlike retiring athletes, regular people haven’t made a fortune plying our trade. We depend on Social Security and pensions or 401K plans to get us through the next 25 or so years. Now that I’m turning 67, my reflection in the mirror confirms my future is now. 

So, instead of resolutions, how about a few proclamations for 2024?

•I’m going to smoke more cigars. I know it’s a disgusting habit, and I would never do it in my house, but there are no rules outside or in a local cigar lounge.

•No more alarm clocks. If I’m retired, so is my alarm clock. Other than to ensure I wake up early to go fishing or catch a plane, fuggedaboutit.

•I’ll help with the laundry by wearing the same clothes the next day if possible. Of course, I’ll always have fresh underwear; that goes without saying. But there is no reason I can’t wear the same pair of jeans or a shirt two days in a row. I’m not digging ditches or putting up sheetrock. I’m typing on a laptop or driving in my car to get lunch.

•My days of reaching for the check when out with my friends who have already retired are over. Now that we are all on a fixed income, get ready for separate bills, gents.

Retirement means I’ll have more time to hang out with my wife, write this column, work on my next book, or do just about anything I want. My life no longer has any rules, and I no longer have a boss to tell me what to do.

Wait, what’s this?  A list of chores from my wife?  Straighten out the basement? Fold a load of laundry? Vacuum the living room? Oh, no – it’s the dreaded “Honey-Do” list! Wait, I’m retired!  I’m retired!! I don’t have to…

Does anybody know the telephone number for Northwell Human Resources?

Just Getting Started

Kevin James Thornton’s super second act

By Amanda Olsen • May 10, 2024


Dining guide-spring
  • No events