Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

I'm NOT Retired...

I get really irked sometimes when friends say that I'm "retired" or ask if I'm enjoying my "retirement". At 53 I am NOT, I repeat NOT retired. Truth be told, I don't ever see myself as "retiring", in the sense that I'll live out my final years golfing all the time or sitting around with other old guys in a coffee shop reminiscing, or wearing dress socks and dress shoes with short pants. But I also get that there isn't really a term for what it is I am doing.

Yes, I closed my political consulting practice last year, and I've left that world behind, never looking back. I do miss my friends in the business, and I read a legislative news clipping service each morning just to keep up a bit on what's going on back home, but I'm not actively involved nor do I plan to be. One's career is one's "identity", so when one stops that, folks tend to say he or she is "retired." But for some reason that irks me.

I'm still working! Just not at political consulting. I'm writing --  my column in the magazine, and working on the Madelon and Mildred bio, as well as a collection of my motorcycle trip stories. I'm working with the galleries that sell my photography on new shows, as well as shooting new pictures when I can. And I'm taking care of day-to-day business of life - which is still work. You know, paying bills, managing money, and all the other daily chores of life.

But I get it -- there isn't really a term for not working at one's career, and "retired" is what come to mind when one stops doing that. HOWEVER, I have discovered a new term, which I think fits my situation to a "T". While wandering around the Indio Arts Festival last weekend with Mom and Ron who were visiting Palm Springs, I stopped to chat with a photographer who was selling his work in a booth there. I was admiring his work, and told him I had just opened a show at a gallery downtown. He complimented me by saying he'd seen my work and liked it. He was a little older than me so I asked what he did when he wasn't shooting or selling at the art festival, and he said "I'm doing some stuff, but I was a pharmacist and decided to leave that, and I call this my 'pretirement'"   I laughed, but I have since come to love that term!

So here I sit -- in a wet, gray, cloudy Palm Springs that is remarkably like Seattle this time of year except it's warmer, and wishing the weather would get back to a normal sunny and 75 -- enjoying my "pretirement". A perfect term for this phase of my life.

So please, don't ask me "how's retired life?". I'm not retired -- I'm pretired.  Thanks!

And in my pretirement, last week we had a nice opening at the Brian Marki gallery in Downtown Palm Springs of a collection of my photographs called "Ghosts of the Road - Images from the Highway". My parents drove down from Salt Lake City for their first visit here to Palm Springs, and I was grateful to see so much support from people visiting the gallery as well as friends who drove in from LA and SanDiego to see the opening. I'm very flattered.
Postcard Front
This show will run through February 11th, and there will always be a few of my images in the gallery on display after that.

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