The First Last

The Molly Wee Pub

I’ve watched a number of friends and coworkers retire, and one of the things that always seems to happen is the realization that they are doing something for the last time. Although I’m still almost a year away from that milestone moment in my career, I have just experienced my first last thing.

Every November for the past 10-plus years, I have attended a meeting, organized by the company I work for, in New York City. On many of these occasions, I’ve also attended a technical conference at the Javits Center. When time has permitted, I have also had lunch at The Molly Wee Pub.

The trip usually involves a train ride to New York, an overnight stay in the Marriott East Side hotel (complete with a view of the adjacent building), dinner at a steakhouse, lunch at an Italian restaurant, oh yeah, and a meeting. I won’t be attending that meeting next year.

I’m OK with that.

I’ll miss the people we meet with. I’ll miss the technical conferences, ‘cuz that’s my crowd, and for all it’s quirkiness, I’ll miss that hotel. I’d add the train ride and The Molly Wee to the list, except I’ll continue visiting New York, and whenever I’m in New York, I stop at The Molly Wee. You might think I’d miss those steakhouse meals, but I swear, the filet my wife made me on my birthday was better than the one I had last week – she says it’s the clarified butter. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy eating out, but the food is often overrated, and the wine, well, I can buy the same wine for a lot less.

You might think I’ll miss being part of the meeting, involved with the business, contributing… Not so much. The succession planning – the preemptive passing of responsibility to the next generation – that we’ve been engaged in has weaned me from all that. Several of my friends are retired or semi-retired – they don’t miss meetings. For that matter, my friends who are still employed wouldn’t miss meetings if you cancelled most of them. Meetings are near the top of the list of things I won’t miss in retirement.

That said, I will still attend some meetings. I attend four or five meetings of the AIIM New England Chapter each year in Burlington, MA. I’ll still go to some of them, but they won’t involve an overnight stay at the Burlington Marriott and I won’t be eating at Chopp’s Steakhouse – unless The Editor feels particularly generous with our retirement income – I will simply drive up and back the day of the meeting. I might attend some local meetings, too, but I’m not in any hurry to start that. There are some groups I’d like to get involved with, but I’ll take that slowly. The last time I got involved with groups here in town, I ended up on about a dozen committees – everything from strategic planning, to designing the school system’s website, to chaperoning the graduation party.

My retirement will start next November. A good time to settle back and relax for a while. Not having to travel during the winter will be a blessing, especially after the nightmare ride Thursday night getting back from that meeting. When it warms up in 2020 – that still seems like forever from now – I’ll have projects to keep me busy, a workshop and a pile of lumber to play work with, places to visit in the local area, things to read and things to write. It’s not like I’m going to be bored.

In case you’re worried, I’m not planning a series of “the last time I’ll do this” posts. I wouldn’t do that to you.


86 thoughts on “The First Last

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    1. Thanks for that, Joanne. There are aspects of my job that I will miss. and people that I work with that I will miss. I hope to make the transition easy. I have a bunch of things that I need to do before I leave, so there is work to do. Business trips in the winter are among the things I will miss the least.

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  1. The last year, quarter, month, week – kind of like a roller coaster ride. You’re ready to go – you’re not ready to go. Lots of emotion. :-) Top three things I don’t miss: conference calls, meetings, and office politics. Top three things I relish every day: no alarm set, wearing what is comfortable versus professional, doing whatever the heck I want to do like reading your blog post with my coffee. :-) Retirement is not perfect because you have to find your groove, but it always beats a day at the office.

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    1. Judy, your top three(s) are hard to beat. I would add “banging my head against the wall trying to change things” but that’s already someone else’s job. Now, I help people if they ask, but I’m no longer the evangelist of change. I’m not sure if starting retirement in the winter is ideal, but it will feel good to watch it snow and not worry about “do I go in / do I work from home” and I will be very happy not to be somewhere else when it’s snowing here – that’s the worst part of my job, traveling in the winter.

      Thanks for the look from the other side, and thanks for adding me to the list of things you choose to do!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I never feel firefighters get the full respect they deserve. A lot of time spent waiting but every call could be a fatality for someone.
    Congrats on the upcoming retirement, Dan. I enjoy my brief ‘forced’ retirement in CR. I felt very displaced at the time but once I settled in I had no problem having enough things to do. You certainly have had some amazing travel experiences during your working years. I also understand about food at home vs dinner out. We feel the same way about steaks. Hubs grills a meal rib eye! Have a great holiday week.

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    1. Thanks Cheryl. I’ve seen the food photos you post, and I’m sure it would be hard to find better food in a restaurant. It’s fun, it’s convenient, but very often, it’s not really better.

      Firefighters don’t get the respect they deserve. They are there, every day, willing to serve.

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  3. Thanks for the mini city tour, I miss it!
    My husband is planning on retiring in April and I’m worried. He thrives on the energy and social interaction of work and purpose. Sitting in a rocking chair on the porch would kill him!

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    1. I’m sure he will find a world of opportunity between work and that rocking chair. I know there are a lot of places I can volunteer and a few I could probably work, doing the pieces of my job that I actually enjoy. I’m not in a hurry to zero in on them, but I will probably get involved with something – maybe after the snow clears.

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  4. You are going to have a lot of ‘firsts’ as well. The first time you realize you really don’t have to go to work, the first time you realize you don’t have finish a report, the first time . . .

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    1. Oh my goodness, Pam. I hadn’t thought about “don’t have finish a report” – that is going to be sweet! I think the thing I’m most looking forward to is just going to breakfast with my wife. We’ve done that a few times while I’ve been taking days off to work on the garage, and it makes for a nice day.

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  5. I like this, Dan. My work has changed tremendously over the years. New company owner (father handed down to son), so lot of new things. People leaving left and right–some retiring, some “we wish them well on their new endeavors.” Everyone lights up when I ask how they like retirement. This, for me, was one of those ‘lights up’ posts. The countdown is on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lois. I have so many friends who have retired already. Most are enjoying it, some way more than others, but it’s rare to find one that misses going to work. There were four of us in this company that were born the same year. The other three bailed early. I’m glad I didn’t, as the past three years have been very good, but I’m ready to wrap it up after this one.

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  6. Everything has a first….everything has a last…..and then there’s everything in between those two points. Retirement is the last of all those things you dislike about working, but the first of new routines you will love. “Being bored” will never be part of your retirement Dan! You will embrace your retirement years just like you do your working years. But maybe in sweats and slippers!!

    And just think how happy all your girls will be to have you around all…..day….long! 🤔

    I like that firefighters prayer/statue. Nice tribute. Great shots of the city.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Ginger. It’s funny about the girls. They have their routines, and they let me know that I’m not part of them. Whether I’m turning the light on MiMi or keeping Maddie awake, I might be the one making “adjustments” t accommodate their schedules. MuMu is funny. She’s used to me getting up at 5:00 am and she snags me on my way into the bathroom to brush and scratch her. When I sleep in until 6:00 on the weekend, she has moved on to a comfy place to sleep. I’m not sure how we handle that.

      I don’t think I’ll be bored, and I look forward to figuring out a new routine.

      I thook the picture of the Firefighter’s Prayer for a friend who is a volunteer fireman in a nearby town. I can’t thank those guys enough.

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  7. Great post, Dan. It brings back my last year at work with all of the training of new talent to take over what I had been doing for years. Fortunately for me, I had a retirement plan in place and started writing my first novel the next day. I hope you last year is fruitful but tranquil. With the pressure off, you can enjoy being nice or contrary depending on your mood. You also get to say some of those things that you have held back, biting your tongue. Now maybe saying something will make a difference (without the fear of retribution).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Charles. I am looking forward to a tranquil year. I just got out of a meeting where we defined the first 3-4 months worth of work. It’s easy but necessary stuff that might even be fun to do.

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  8. I don’t miss those four hour without a purpose meetings, though I have to say, I have been in some all day meetings that fly by because the participants know what they are talking about and are committed to getting something done…….and therefore put their egos and agendas on hold.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the one. When I stayed in that area for events at the Javits, I liked the Courtyard at 52nd and 3rd, as it was right across the street from the subway station where I could catch an E-Train to Penn Station – easy walk from there.

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  9. I could add so many comments here, but since I’m typing on my phone…

    I will NOT miss meetings in retirement, but I will miss the people. They are what keeps me going and I hope to stay in touch with a few after I permanently take the Aaron Rodgers photo off the wall.

    Clarified butter (ghee) is yum. Since it is lactose free, I can eat it. Makes everything taste like lobster…except perhaps your steak.

    I think you could do a first last post about math. Just sayin… :-p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I was just in a meeting where I was discussing a process we have to automate before I retire that involves some interesting math. The guy I was discussing it with is looking forward to the project. I doubt that I will be sharing it here, but you never know.

      My steak was so good, that I prefer her cooking it to my grilling it.

      I do hope to stay in touch with some people. I don’t think that will be hard, and I will miss them if I don’t.

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    2. I know my husband won’t miss his zillion meetings a day at all, but he has a few years to go, years where we hope he still has a good job that will help make our retirement better. He works from home and loves that! It would be tough for him to have to go back to an office: no naps or Play Station breaks, having to dress appropriately, etc. 😉.

      janet

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  10. Super photo of NYC, Dan. My only advice for someone ready to retire is to sit with the spouse and map out a plan before the retirement day including what each wants to accomplish or do the first year. After the first the sessions become automatic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. It will be an interesting transition, but I think we’ll be OK. After 42 years of work and travel, I want to stick close to home that first year (there may be opposing views from the other occupants).

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I got a free lance job just after I retired which helped a lot with the transition. I’m actually working harder at writing, blogging, etc than I did at the office. There were so many meetings that were a complete waste of time.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That’s so nice :) I’m glad you’ve had so many pleasurable and interesting trips of this sort. What a wonderful opportunity to learn and teach with others.
    Some beautiful skies on your journey, too.
    My mother is planning her (second) retirement end of 2019 and she told me she’ll miss her regular patrons the most. She got a bit sappy about it. I think that’s so nice. (I’m also guessing she’ll take another job not too long after, just another downsize, lol! Don’t tell her I said that.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny, I have both enjoyed and despised the travel. The number of times I’ve been away from home when crappy weather or bad things happened really made me sad. Seeing different places, discovering bars and greasy grills for breakfast have been a special treat. Meeting people, having time to walk and explore cities. It’s a mix, for sure.

      I’m not ruling out work or volunteer work in this field, but not right away. I’ll have been working non-stop for 42 years when I walk out for the last time. 31 years at this job! I think that’s enough.

      I love skies just as storms are gathering. Thanks!

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  13. Thanks, Dan — don’t know if I could take a “last time I’ll do this” series from you. It’s kind of neat to see you standing at the start of this year, heading into the possibilities. So very cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You won’t get that series. I joke about it at work, and there are many “lasts” that I’m looking forward to, but they don’t travel well.

      I think looking forward to how things change suits me better than marking the end of things. I’ll be back to New York and The Molly Wee, just without the meeting 🙂

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  14. I don’t miss the commute, especially the London Underground in summer. I don’t miss the meetings. I don’t miss the late nights and early mornings. I don’t miss taking my laptop on holiday in case something came up. I don’t miss anything, except the people I used to work with. Enjoy your final year.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve been through that “it’s the last time” with aging parents. It’s a weird feeling to be aware of the endings. We’re all taught how to start things, but ending things takes a different set of coping skills. Fascinating topic you got here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ally. I’m sure I will continue to notice these things, but I think I’ll focus on the new set of “firsts” (like Judy mentioned). It is interesting to think about how many times you’ve done something and then how it will end and life will go on on both sides of the equation.

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  16. I think you should post any “last time” event that is important to you. This one was your first milestone of the year ahead. That’s a big deal. Well done, Dan. And I love the Firefighter Prayer photo. Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃

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  17. Excellent post, Dan. I haven’t worn a watch since I retired in 2012. The measurement of time shifts with our expectations and our life becomes our own creation. I haven’t missed my work, just missed a few friends. All the best to you.

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  18. Dan, I laughed at the “last time I’ll do this” line. Thanks for not taking us down that road for the next year until you actually retire. I’ve been retired for 5 years and do not miss a thing about work. You have a list of projects and interests to keep you busy, and like me, you’ll be saying with a smile on your face, there’s not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Happy Thanksgiving to you and family! Christine

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  19. He-Man wants to retire like so many yesterdays that I don’t think he’s stopped to think about “The First Last”. which just might be sneaking up on him. It won’t be much longer, but I wonder when he’ll ponder these things?

    Next time if ever I’m in NYC I hope to actually go inside the Molly Wee and have wee drink. I just past and photographed it the first and only time I’ve been there.

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  20. I never thought about retirement that way, Dan (the last time doing things). I guess that shows there isn’t anything I would miss.
    This is a lovely post. It was nice to reminisce in advance with you. The photos are lovely. And would ya just look at all those blue bikes! Holy Hannah.
    Wishing you and yours a beautiful, relaxing, delicious, happy Thanksgiving. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hi Dan – it’s the way of things isn’t it … but the first last – just come around so much more often! You’ll have more … this can’t be the last last … that must be November 2020 … Happy Thanksgiving for now – cheers Hilary

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  22. I know retirement is a different thing but I have experienced the First Last in my career as well. Like taking the last order in the restaurant before I quit the hospitality industry forever. Or troubleshooting the last technical issue before I quit the call center industry. Congratulations on your retirement.

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  23. I didn’t know you were that close to retirement. I wish we were, but the recession put that far far away for us — we are having to work harder as small business people than we did 10 years ago. I cannot imagine you having
    nothing to do” in retirement! for one thing, you may find yourself getting into different types of woodworking projects! xo

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  24. Well stated Dan. Time will pass quickly, as you look back at it, but will seem to drag along as you focus toward retirement. I retired from one career and started another short-term career and since retired from it. I enjoy trying to make a difference where I am planted – but I would know it was time to depart when I experience what you described as well as other comments. Yes, I felt I was beating my head against a wall; needless meetings; frustration as others think they know best how to do the work and I wanted to feel free to enjoy things I want to do. By the way – I can’t keep up with the projects I need, and want to do; BUT, I don’t have to cram them into a specific time window. Enjoy your last year of work in making a difference. Enjoy your family. Enjoy life. It too passes quickly. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi Dan, it’s three years since I stopped going to work. Retirement is totally the wrong word for it. After all those decades when work ruled everything I’m now busy living my life —pretty much the way I want it. “The last time” thing was important to me, though … at least on the last day … making sure I said goodbye, the way that suited me, freed me up to say a big happy Hello to everything I’ve been doing since.

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