Alonzo Weston

So this is retirement. Some people said I wouldn’t retire until hell froze over. I retired during a global pandemic, which is close.

The stress of working during the pandemic is part of the reason I retired. The machinations of wearing masks and social distancing for interviews got draining and stressful. I hated working from home too, which for me wasn’t pleasurable like most people would think.

My video equipment did not work the same at home as at the office. My home is also my sanctuary from work and I did not feel comfortable blurring work and home together.

There’s a reason Medicare and other senior benefits kick in around 60 years of age. I’ve found from talking to other retirees and my own experience that in your 60s you’re tired and ready to retire.

I retired after 31 years with the St. Joseph News-Press, but my working career began around 13 years old. I threw papers, stacked pop bottles, cut grass, shoveled snow and worked many factory jobs after that.

None was as enjoyable as my time working for the paper. They say if a man loves what he does for a living, he never works a day in his life. I loved being a newspaper man and writing for a living. I loved writing and have a curious nature, so it was a perfect fit for me and a blessing from God.

Making the decision to retire was hard, but I was tired, too. The news industry has changed drastically, and I felt like a dinosaur.

My days now are filled with visiting other retirees and old friends and being a bum — sleeping late and drinking too much beer.

Other retirees told me I need this “bummy” period, I earned it. But at some point your life has got to have purpose, so I’ll write an occasional column, do some volunteer work and get a part-time job.

None of us know how many years we have left on this planet. I wanted to enjoy some retirement years before my life takes the final step.

I still think about former co-workers who died before retirement or shortly thereafter. One man suffered a heart attack, drove off into a pond and died on the very first day of his retirement. Another man drowned in a flash flood on a country road a few years before his retirement. Both men worked a tremendous amount of overtime planning for retirement. I am not sure how much living they did besides work.

I enjoy my time with old friends and retirees even though most conversations begin with “Do you remember?” or “Whatever happened to?” with a few “How ‘bout them Chiefs” thrown in.

Now I do have time to catch up on my book reading and watch old movies until late at night. We seem to eat out more too, which probably isn’t good but when it’s just me and Deanna, it’s cheaper and less time consuming.

I enjoy riding around town and to small towns reliving stories I covered. That’s what I miss the most — meeting people and having new experiences. Every small town around here has a story and wonderful people. I miss covering stories in these small towns, some good, some bad, but always intriguing.

Now I’ll just enjoy reliving the memories

Alonzo Weston can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWeston.