I’ve been retired from APD going on 8 years now, and I highly recommend it.
I see other people working, and I kind of feel sad for them. I feel really sad for people my own age still working. Some because they have to. Some because they feel like they have to do something with their time. Once released onto the free range of retirement, I had to confront the absence of being places on time for nearly 40 years of employment to the sudden silence of an alarm clock.
The guilt I initially felt was calmed when I recalled the demands of police work, the shift work, inconvenient off days and the extra jobs I worked after completing my regular shift. What’s the sense of retirement if you can’t enjoy it when it finally comes?
My last six years in the department were miserable after my assignment as a project manager played out after nine years, through no fault of my own. I began counting down the days until my retirement date like scratches on a prison cell wall.
Prior to retirement, I was told I either had to find a hobby or I would get the itch to go back to work in six months. So, sure enough, after a short three-week stent selling motorcycles, I confirmed to myself working ain’t no hobby. So, through much negotiation with my wife (who currently works … bless her heart), we bought 15 acres and started singing the “Green Acres” theme song: “Farm living is the life for me.”
I decided to take up raising pigs and cattle.
Once the installation of perimeter fencing, corral building and sourcing out water was complete, I have reduced my daily chores to just feeding them critters and learning their personality traits.
Pigs cannot generally be moved against their will. They are 200+ pound four-wheel drives that you can’t catch or manhandle with much success. They must think where they are going is “their” idea and repetitive conditioning of feeding in the same place can work to my advantage.
For instance, I will back the cattle trailer up to the feeding pen and open a gap in the fence to provide an entryway to the trailer, opening the rear door. I put their feeding trough inside the trailer and after a couple of weeks … I sneak around, slide the door closed, and off to the meat processor I go. Yum, yum.
Cattle behave in the same basic manner, except 1,000 pounds heavier. Although cattle might not bite your finger off like a pig can, they certainly can kick you into next week. But with patience and nerves of steel, I have trained a 1,300-pound bull to eat out of my hand. He still shoves me around to protect his pasture cred with the ladies.
My retirement years have transitioned me from problematic people to cantankerous barnyard animals. No longer do I have to bite my tongue when someone makes me mad to preserve my continued employment. I can now say whatever is on my mind and use completely inappropriate language among the herd “I” now employ.
My advice to the youngsters out there in their early stages of employment is save early, and save big.
Maybe your retirement account will be adequate enough to put “yourself” out to pasture, too, someday.
W.J. Butcher is a Coweta County resident and retired 26-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department. Send comments, kudos, and criticism to: firstname.lastname@example.org .