By Mel McConaghy
I spent a lot of time leading up to my retirement thinking about it.
I had made fun of retirement, wondering what I would do. I thought I would miss trucking, and I did. But that is understandable.
You can’t do something for most of your life, then suddenly stop without missing it. It’s like an alcoholic giving up drinking, or a smoker giving up cigarettes. You go through a period of withdrawal, and then hopefully it’s over, yet it still lingers on in the back of your mind. My retirement didn’t happen when I turned sixty five. I kept putting off the inevitable. I did not think I was ready to retire, because I had not reached a point in my life where I was financially ready. It turned out that I really was though, but I’d just been making the mistake of listening to ‘experts’ telling me I was not.
I missed trucking at the beginning of my retirement, and soon found myself hanging around truck stops, truck dealerships and fuel card locks. But, I found that hanging around these places for me, was like a recovering alcoholic hanging around a bar. It did not help. Since I have begun enjoying retirement, I have met a woman, and not just any woman. She is the woman I have spent over fifty four years with, my wife. I realize now that I had spent so much time on the road, and then fixing and repairing the truck when I was home, that I’d almost lost track of her and my family. It was at that point that I finally turned in my class ‘1’ license. Sometimes, with all the best intentions in the world, a truck driver gets so focused on what he or she is doing, they have a tendency to forget, and neglect, the people who are closest to them. This was my mistake, and I realize it.
Since I entered the world of retirement, my wife has taught me the joy of being able to relax at family dinners, without having to worry about running home to get to bed, because I’d have to leave at 3:00 am. I still miss the people that I met on the road, but when the feeling gets too strong, it’s simply a matter of picking up a phone and calling them. Today, I no longer worry about snow storms, or breaking down miles from nowhere. I don’t worry about chaining up, spinning out, crossing scales or roadside inspections. My biggest worries now, are if the flowers have enough water, does the lawn need cutting, or what shade of blue should I paint the bathroom. Now I enjoy my retirement, and spending time with the woman that I married, the children that she raised, and my wonderful grandchildren. I still miss trucking, well, that is until one of the kids phone to ask us out for dinner, and I can say yes without hesitation. Today, trucking is only an ever-dimming memory of the past, and all my worries now have become pleasant ones.
My Life Through a Broken Windshield by Mel McConaghy
Mel McConaghy is a retired trucker and author from Prince George, British Columbia. Mel’s tales are his views of life “through a broken windshield”. They are entertaining and humorous in a folksy style.
Visit Mel’s website at www.melmcconaghy.com