Carroll Calling

Doug Carroll

Around three years ago I started to consider retirement, and the journalistic spirit inside me immediately kicked into research mode. I wanted to plan ahead for the next adventure in life.

I’ve meticulously studied the actions of Hoosier and American retirees in their main native habitats, including Florida, Arizona and, the most popular by far, Hardees or wherever a great cup of joe is to be had in the mornings.

These fast-food restaurant coffee klatches not only solve most of the world’s problems by 10 a.m. most days, but give their members the best social media device ever invented by humans: face-to-face conversation.

Based on my methodical investigation of this topic, I now conclude that to err is human, to retire, opine.

It’s time for me enjoy a few more cups of morning coffee.

Last week I submitted my official retirement letter to Vincennes University and will start the next phase of life in the middle of September. It’s with pride and honor I can declare that 42 of my 62 years are associated with VU as either a student or employee.

I will retire from VU after 39 years, 11 months and 21 days on the job. I thought about going for an even 40 years but I didn’t want to overstay my welcome or risk the chance of being replaced by technology.

Besides, I’m more of an odd person, uh, wait a second ... I’m more of an uneven person.

Nah, that doesn’t sound right either.

Let us simply leave it at I am retiring this September.

Hey, I am about to quit my day job so I wonder: Does this leave me enough time now to become that singer, actor or standup comedian hidden inside all of us?

But seriously folks, did you ever notice when you are in a position where decisions have to be made all you seem to notice are things related to the situation?

Like when my wife says we need to buy a new car, appliance or piece of furniture, that’s all I can expect to see, read, hear about, feel or smell until the purchase is made. The same goes for planning a vacation where each detail has to be scheduled far in advance to calm the anxiety of my dear wife.

During more than 35 years of marriage, she has emphasized even a go-with-the-flow kind of guy like me needs a retirement plan beyond saving and investing. Somehow, I must come up with ideas on how I am going to live, work and play as a retiree.

That’s why I have studied the retired life the last three years. There is plenty of information and advice out there in the social world about how to fill your days once leaving the full-time workforce.

The one I find most intriguing is the suggestion to experience at least one new adventure a month after retirement. No, it is not about bucket lists but more of taking on an activity outside of your comfort zone.

For example, it seems many retirees want to swim with the dolphins. Since I do not feel comfortable in water around 300-pound wild mammals, this is the type of adventure many so-called retirement experts think I should take on at least once before I expire.

No thank you, although I have never met a dolphin I didn’t like.

A few years back, I shared an Evansville motel pool with the aunt and uncle of former Miami quarterback, Bob Griese, so I once swam with near Dolphins. I suppose this does not count.

Another escapade suggested for retirees is to buy a new or used motor home and visit at least one national park, Major League Baseball stadium, state capitol, etc., each month. I do not see myself safely driving a big, hulking RV around the Wabash Valley, let alone the greater United States.

I have threatened (uh, mentioned) something about buying an RV and parking it in at least one of three darling Carroll children’s driveways each month.

A biggie for Baby Boomer retirees such as me appears to be gardening, split evenly between vegetables and flowers. This is most certainly out for yours truly because I have black hands not green thumbs when it comes to keeping plants alive.

And there will be no skydiving in my retirement plan no matter how invigorating it makes most retirees feel.

All things considered, I believe I will stick to my less adventurous bucket list.

I want to take my dear wife to Niagara Falls at least once, visit Ireland to explore the Carroll clan home counties of Offaly and Tipperary, watch my beloved Cleveland Browns play in their home stadium, rekindle my Hollywood Vincennes book project, find and get to know my Cairel relatives in my family tree, swim in the Pacific Ocean, protest at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame perhaps once a month until Foghat is enshrined, drink a Double Cola a week, become hooked on at least one daytime TV soap opera, and go to Canada for the first time to buy a fistful of Smarties — the Canadian M&Ms that are far superior to their American cousins.

Whoa, now that I see my list in print, it’s a lot more audacious than just joining a coffee klatch!

So, upon further consideration, me thinks the best advice this go-with-the-flow guy should follow is: to err is human, to retire, recline.

Doug Carroll can be reached at

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