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Five More Days

April 5, 2019

Nearby mountains and rocks–here at Seneca Rocks in nearby West Virginia, are favorite places for day trips. Here my Mom stands in the shade as we enjoy a stop.


Another Way for week of April 5, 2019

Five More Days

The countdown is on in earnest now. As I write this (I write about two weeks ahead of when you read this), I have just five more days until I retire. As I always quickly add for readers of this column—no, I’m not retiring from writing Another Way! But I’m retiring from my main job for MennoMedia which has gone through six to seven name changes, a merger, and more. I’ve worked as an editor, a writer, a columnist, a producer, a radio host and radio scriptwriter, a scriptwriter for TV documentaries (including some on national TV), an ad writer, and much more. Always with a religious and Christian bent.

If I worked until July 7 of this year, the number of years would mount to 44 altogether, for one basic company. But I decided, why wait when grandchildren are growing and waiting to be swung, read to, cuddled, and to play backyard football, soccer, and shooting (lowdown) hoops.

I keep thinking of other big life changes when I was counting down the days: like when it was just a week until we would get married, or a week until I started this job—my first real job out of college. Or, when it was just a week until my first maternity leave began, or my oldest would begin school, and then college. The big events.

This marks a different kind of life passage and with it the inescapable reality that I am getting older. Some writers I know have started using the Spanish word for retirement: jubilado or jubilación. As in the English word, jubilee or “jubilation”. Does that bring a different twist to it?  A celebration of joy, euphoria, even triumph!

I have loved my job, loved almost everything I was asked to do, especially on the more creative end. Not so much the reports, news releases, marketing copy—some of those got old but I’ve been fortunate to create a wide variety of media over many years. I loved the travel, meeting people, conferences, conventions, meeting in some pretty fancy hotels. I appreciated and enjoyed almost 100 percent of my coworkers and I used to say I could count on one hand the times I was frustrated to tears. And only one time was my hand slapped, literally, by a young and immature recording engineer—reminding me not to touch any knobs. Okay! But not bad in today’s working environment: blessed to work with Christians who cared about their work, each other, and their ultimate goals.

The hardest part has been times of downsizing, times dear friends were cut from their jobs, times when I wondered if I too should quit in solidarity—for the raw deals I felt they got. Those were tearful times, and there have been far too many but that’s probably part of working for a church agency in years when churches are declining in both numbers and the ability to support large church agencies—a time of diminishing church institutions.

But my inner journey these past few weeks and months has had me thinking: When I was just starting out at Mennonite Broadcasts, Inc., all the shiny accomplished people—amid names and programs I’d heard of, I was a little starstruck to think I’d be working among them. I felt like I was swimming behind, struggling to reach forward and catch up.

Then as I hit my stride after a few years—or my stroke—to continue the water metaphor—I felt like I was holding my own, making waves, holding up my end of the boat, rowing as fast as everyone else. I began to be moved into positions of higher responsibility, was held in high respect, and I loved sailing along.

This was right after we moved to a new office location in Fall 2017. That transition helped me prepare and downsize for eventual retirement here in 2019.

As I’ve neared retirement, I now feel as if I’m slightly behind the boat again—like movements and tides are running on ahead and I’m slipping out of the race. They don’t need my input in meetings. I care somewhat less about what happens with this or that problem. I feel like I’m shrinking away. This is all normal, I’m sure.

I’ve also been feeling very scattered—I’ve had a hard time focusing if anyone distracts me, and writing the wrong name for someone, and in general, missing the mark.

Sound like pre-wedding jitters? Pre-baby panic? Pre-graduation worries about forgetting to do or arrange something very important? All of the above. Stay tuned for my follow up “this is how it feels” column that is sure to arise at some point, good Lord willing!

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you dislike or hate?

If you are already retired, what wisdom can you share?

Post here or send comments to or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. I am a writer. I’ve never considered that to be a job. In past years I have worked in retail, been a substitute teacher and sold insurance. Those jobs each hold special memories. Now that I am writing full time, I wish I had started sooner. 🙂

    • You have an interesting description here of your work life. Perhaps doing all those other things has fed your writing now?? Thanks for sharing.

  2. Melodie, you have a huge body of work behind you and freedom to write (or not) ahead of you. Yes, I understand your ambivalent feelings well. But ambivalence and feeling out of balance will propel you to the next steps.

    I love teaching and thought I would never be happy outside of the classroom. Then after retirement I discovered writing. My memoirist mentors are all younger than I, but age doesn’t make much of a difference now.

    Jubilee to you as you adjust to a different rhythm in your daily life as we speak! 🙂

    • Yes, each day has been different this week (actual time, I’ve been retired now five work days) and one thing I’m feeling is more energy. I was so tired–almost exhausted many evenings of the last couple years, I sometimes felt like I was staggering. It is a wonder I could keep things straight at work at all. Thanks for your ongoing encouragement. 🙂

  3. All the best as you start this new chapter, Melodie! You know I have fond memories of Herald Press/MennoMedia since they’ve published Hutterite Diaries, and I came in contact (via the internet, of course) with some very nice people. I teach and seeing children blossom into good readers, and watching them enjoy books are my favourite parts of this job. It’s magical and I’ll never tire of it.

    • Seeing children blossom into good readers: indeed it is magical (did you read my column the other week when I used that word borrowed from my daughter on reading??). Thanks for your good wishes and I guess at this point you’re the only person I know of the Hutterite community so that is valued and special!

  4. Elaine permalink

    I retired 10 years ago (age 63) and it took me awhile to get into a comfortable groove. On top of retiring we moved to KY to be close to our daughter so there was that adjustment, too. At times I felt guilty for not being productive, so my advice would be to be gentle on yourself, relax, enjoy those first weeks and months as you begin this season of your life. Another words, “take time to smell the roses”. 🙂

    • Wondering what part of Kentucky that is? Feel free to email me if you’d rather not say here. I can imagine the moving out of state would be a huge adjustment in retirement. But I appreciate your gentle words to take it easy at this point! I think I will try to do that!

      • Elaine permalink

        We live about an hour south of Lexington. Our daughter lives in Wilmore. Are you familiar with Asbury Seminary?

      • Yes, I haven’t been there but I know people (at least 1!) who went there.
        I lived for a year near Hazard Kentucky, which undoubtedly you have heard of too. This was in 1970, a very different place then!

  5. Congratulations, Melodie!

  6. I love the Spanish word for retirement – jubilado or jubilación. I’ve never heard that – and you’re absolutely correct – it does give an entirely new twist to the thought.
    An excellent post – as usual!

    • Trisha, Lynn Miller, a Mennonite pastor and stewardship minister, was the first person I heard use that term. Shirley Hershey Showalter writes about it on her blog frequently as well. Another way to interpret the meaning is “freed.” I hate to think of work as a prison (certainly it is that for some) but not with a job I loved. Yet, the freedom to be one’s own boss and master of schedule: pretty cool!
      Thanks for checking in with your kind words.

  7. Caro-Claire Wiles permalink

    Hi Melodie
    I have followed your writings for several years now , I think since I got my first computer and began to navigate slowly through the internet via a very slow dial up internet connection.
    I like to think we have become good friends and I want to take this opportunity to congratulate on your upcoming retirement.
    I really enjoyed reading this particular message and hearing all the various positions you have had.
    My husband took an early retirement package at the age of 52 years after 33 years with Bell Canada.
    As of the end of March this year he has been retired for 29 years and he hopes to be retired as long as he worked.
    He has had other businesses in his retirement years though.
    God bless you and your family in the days ahead
    Much love from Caro-Claire in Orillia Ontario Canada

    • Indeed you’ve been following and corresponding for many years, including by regular mail–used to be! You can be happy you began to navigate online when you did, because it is hard to catch up if you wouldn’t have had that start. (I wish now we had pushed my mom to at least have email. She does feel left out and if she could type on a computer, we wouldn’t have to fear her increasing hearing loss. She’s an excellent typist on the old fashioned kind! Thanks for the congratulations, not always sure what we mean by that when we say it: that I survived in the workplace, that I made it to retirement? At any rate, wow, early retirement at age 52, what a blessing! Thank you Caro-Claire, you are one of the sweetest friends I know even if we’ve never met. Bless you too!

  8. martyw37 permalink

    Thank you for your kind comments.
    Yes , I am glad I have been able to travel the world through my computer and I have made so many friends who, like yourself have become very dear to me. Now if I could just be able to figure out my new cell phone!
    Our two very old flip phones died last summer and we had to get new ones immediately as we were travelling for a long road trip to be with our son as he had just started to pastor a new church and we wanted top be at his first service, I went kicking and screaming as I didn’t want one!
    Martin has been able to adapt well but to date (since last August,) I have only made about a dozen phone calls ( 7 or 8 with help!)
    My grandkids are still waiting for their first text from Nana!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. J: Jubilation | Trisha Faye
  2. Being My Own Boss Comes with a Price | findingharmonyblog

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