After nearly 34 years on the night shift, I couldn’t wait to return to a “normal” schedule. For the first time in 25 years of marriage, Tom and I would be on the same sleep schedule. Oh, the romantic possibilities! But just days into our new routine, I wasn’t so sure.
You see, I don’t exactly “take on” the day. I ease into it. Until the coffee kicks in, just call me dopey…. drowsy and yes…. a little grumpy. Not Tom. My husband wakes up instantly. Alert. Engaged. And worst of all…happy. My chronically happy husband faces the day smiling, whistling…prattling on like a little old lady. After all these years, it still amazes me. So he took it on himself to “help” me better deal with the transition. Early one morning….I slowly opened one eye and there he stood at our bedside, proud as a peacock, with a steaming cup of instant coffee…. singing, “You are my sunshine…..”
Because I knew my dear husband had the best of intentions, I was slow to react. I sat up, took a deep breath and thanked him for the coffee and serenade. I then calmly informed him if he ever did it again…he’d be wearing the coffee. Mornings have been blissfully silent ever since.
These last months since retiring from 10News have been a major time of transition. The local news business was my life for more than three decades. Covering the health “beat” and countless major news stories over the years was the best job ever. And despite all the advice, preparation and prayer…moving on was a shock to the system.
There was the expected loss of identity associated with leaving any career. At a recent fundraiser I emceed for the USO, it was suggested I introduce myself. All I could think to say was “Hi, I’m Carol Le Beau, the proud
wife of a retired Navy pilot! Despite the variety of “projects” I’m working on right now, I have no actual “title.” My business card simply lists my name and contact information. Last week while ordering a sandwich at Panera in Coronado, a young man asked, “Didn’t you used to be the lady on the news?”
Yeah, it’s been an adjustment… but the change has been good. For the first time in years, I can watch the sun rise AND set…. catch a movie in the middle of the week…. listen to Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw in real time and get caught up on my Dan Silva thrillers. I can meet my swim partners for an 8 am swim at La Jolla Cove… take a computer lesson…join a committee or try out a new recipe on “happy” Tom!
The possibilities are endless. The flexibility that comes from freelance work is a dream. There’s also time to indulge my passions…. speaking to groups on issues of health and well-being, relationships and faith…. volunteering for my church and favorite charities and getting involved in the San Diego community in more meaningful ways.
I loved my work… but my “retired” friends who’ve gone before me have been such an encouragement. There are boards to join…. young people who need mentoring and work that needs to be done by those not constrained by a full-time work schedule. It’s a blessing to have the time.
Sure… when news breaks, I’m no longer first to know. These days, coverage of what’s happening in San Diego is in the capable hands of Hal, Kimberly, Steve and all my pals at 10News. And that’s ok. It’s the cycle of life and I’m ready to roll on.
I’m blessed with good health, great family and friends, an incredible husband and a “to-do” list that’s growing by the day! Who said anything about retiring?? See ya ‘round.