On Life Its Own Self – Retirement

Since my retirement five years ago I have made a promise to myself to do two things every single day: 1) Learn something new and 2) Do some good for someone. That is what I have to do to keep that promise to myself and enjoy my retirement.

Guess what one of those two things is that I do… yep, its writing a blog about Pitt Football (and obviously other issues) for my fellow Pitt fans to enjoy. That is the really fun thing in my life.

But I also push myself to get ‘out of myself ‘because, lets face it – the Pitt POV  is pretty self-serving for me. So I volunteer for a lot of different things and boy do I love that – even the crappy parts which sometimes happen. 

I work at a Homeless Day Resource Center where I break up fights sometimes (helps to be 6’6″ and 255). I work with Wounded Warriors, I volunteer to read/perform short stories to audiences at the local library, I judge high school STEM competitions, etc… Some are on a continuing basis and some are  a one-off gig.


What I’m getting to here is that I’ve been asked to, and agreed to, do something new and be a “Human Book” in my County Library’s system’s Human Library Project. It is basically a project where somebody with something unique about their lives volunteers to share that with others who may have never met anyone like that before.

What that entails is described well in this piece: 

Howard County Library System will become the first public library system in Maryland to add a new genre to its catalog next year that gives customers an opportunity to learn about a different culture or community by borrowing a Living Book from The Human Library™. The new initiative embraces the adage “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover,” and works to build a positive framework for open and honest conversations that lead to greater acceptance, tolerance and social cohesion in the community.

Sounds pretty weird doesn’t it?  But weird is what I find myself doing these days. What do I have to offer this project? 

Reed Source Cover POV.jpg
15 minutes of stardom…


Well, I haven’t really ever talked about this on here but I’m a 100% VA Disabled Veteran and a large part of that is because upon leaving the military I was diagnosed as having a “severe” case of PTSD.  That was based on my experiences as a Search and Rescue Planner and as a First Responder on other rescue cases. I did over eight years of that.  Funny thing – you tend to forget the ones you saved but you never forget the one you didn’t.

The people I have shared that info with are always shocked to hear it.  They all say you would never know it by looking at me or even knowing me rather well. Because I do not fit the stereotype of a military vet with that illness. 

So I share my own story and bust those stereotypes and myths surrounding PTSD. This illness comes in all shapes and sizes and affects everyone with it in different ways.

Why am I sharing this with you all?  Well, first to let you know there is indeed a fulfilling and rewarding life after retirement, so many of friends my age think life just gets boring and that isn’t true if you don’t let it,  and secondly… well, to advise you not to judge a book by its cover. 

I’ll be doing this event on March 11th at the Miller library in Howard County, MD. from 1:00 – 5:00 pm.  There will be other Human Books there to talk with also. Hope to see some of you there.






34 thoughts on “On Life Its Own Self – Retirement

  1. Took a break and opened up the Pitt POV and the new article caught my eye right away. I wanted to respond but was a little hesitant at first. What do I say? How do I put this?

    Here are my feelings as I read down the article.

    First I thought, now here is the Reed I remember from years ago. A great guy who loves his family, country and his PITT football. Not to even imply that I ever thought differently but I do notice a different angle Reed takes on the football program. Obviously it’s the journalist in him. It has taken me some time to adjust to that style and the blog forum. Now I feel like I’ve been a little to tough in my counter debates with him. I apologize for that.

    When I was told I had 3 tumors (likely cancer) and at least one was and since removed along with most of one kidney, the first thing I wanted to do was volunteer. Then I thought, man it probably feels good for Reed to get that out there and talk about his problems. After-all, we are all family here. It’s not an easy thing to do, I’m proud of you Reed for that……

    and, I don’t get how Reed has so much time that he can do all these different things in one day. It is remarkable indeed.

    I liked the Warhol reference as well.

    This article is therapeutic for me and I hope it is for everyone one of us…

    On a note to Reed. Sorry if I have been over the top rough. and can you believe that we knew and actually shared a friendship with the same dude in two different schools in our lifetime? < (not in a gay way) 🙂 ……. not that there is anything wrong with that. ….. ike



  2. Good stuff, and sure you find a good measure of self-satisfaction in your selfless activtities. FWIW, I plan on volunteering when I retire since my only real plans are to not be in a hurry to do anything. My preference would be to do volunteer work when I feel like doing it as opposed to a set schedule, but that’s probably asking for a bit too much.

    BTW, Reed … you can blame your LOI event Brecterfield gaffe on PTSD …. I’ll buy it.


  3. Reed: Very nice article and it is true you cant judge a book by its cover, i have a genetic anxiety disorder (thanks mom and grandma) and yet I stand up in front of 12 rocks in a box and prosecute murders, wanna be murderers,gangs and the like. The slight meds I take can make me grumpy on occasion so my sincere apologies to anyone who has gotten in the way of an occasional rant -i’m working on that. When I started as a prosecutor 30 years ago I was struck by the high number of alcoholism and depression among certain groups of police who worked in high crime areas – good people who see the horrid things people can do to one another. Being on the second line where i just see the things like autopsy photos and crime scenes is bad enough. Hang in there Reed you are now an even greater inspiration.
    I just read the article on Partridge and feel even better about the hire which I already thought was great. Roy is also a puzzle to me, I noticed on the few plays he pursued the action downfield in a furry and with apparent speed but it is best they don’t get downfield in a hurry.
    I have volunteered in the past and hope to when retired – 3 years and 10 months, not that I’m counting. .


  4. wwb – I tried blaming stupid stuff I did on PTSD years ago and my wife said “your only real problem is that you’re full of shit” which I really couldn’t argue with.

    Ike – believe me I don’t think you are over the top. What goes on with me is that I have a rather low tolerance for trivial stuff done by people when it isn’t necessary. I’m a big protector of the underdogs in life. Thus my problem with the secrecy around the football team.

    I know EJ and the guys in the Media Dept are busting ass trying to get everyone on board Pitt football – especially the casual fans and then, and this is my opinion not theirs, HCPN works against that.

    Well, looks like that isn’t going to change so we’ll ride with it.

    I kind of took a chance with this article but I really wanted to get the point across that there are people out there who are working very hard to dispel stereotypes about things most have no idea about… like being a Muslim in the US, LGBT, a strange religion, cancer survivor, PTSD, etc…

    I believe that it there were more open and honest dialogs among people with differences we’d solve a lot of problems.and have a lot more tolerance for others.

    Then again I’m a minority in my own family of Asian/Pacific Islanders so when ever some white guy does something stupid they all turn to me and give me “stinkeye”. It’s a cross I bear.


  5. The legend George “The Animal” Steele, a pro wrestling icon and WWE Hall of Famer, has died at 79. WWE confirmed the news today.


  6. I hope I become half the men some of you guys on here are including Reed.

    Reed – Cross off your list of doing something great for someone! Upitt got a package today!!!


  7. I don’t think it is any coincidence that our readers, commenters and fellow POV’ers are highly intelligent and caring people. That is what you get in any endeavor when you set high standards and the hold others to them. We see it in Pitt football now, we see it on this blog and we have all seen it in our families I bet.

    Honestly – I haven’t had to kick anyone off of here nor really censor anyone but once or twice with politics or nudity. Other than that you guys self-police.

    And it isn’t hard to do after some maturity sets in with yourself. But the trick is getting those young and growing kids to ‘buy in’ to civility and caring about others. Pitt has a great track record of volunteerism from its student/athlete and I hope it always remains a big part of their Pitt experience.

    That’s where I started with mine – as an undergrad I join a program put on by the Pitt Student Association to be a Big Brother at the WPA School for the blind. I learned more than I helped those kids I believe.

    Back to football tomorrow…


  8. ^^^^^^^ REED, The Truth !!!

    Best time for learning is all the time. but…. You do learn more with you are very young and when we lived more than a minute! Don’t stop expecting the unexpected knowledge.


  9. Stress will kill you, whether it is PTSD or just the regular garden variety of just having too many obligations to accomplish in a 24 hour period, day after day. Do that for too long and your body revolts.

    It’s going on three years since I’ve liquidated my busy dental practice. Now at 63 I’m feeling better than I have in a decade. More time for myself, working out on a regular basis, doing some volunteering, it’s all good.

    My advice, don’t put off retirement until you’re too old to enjoy it. Yeah, you might live to be 90 and if that happens you better keep your nose to the grindstone until you turn 70. But then again you could drop dead at 70 too.

    So pull the trigger when you know you need to. You’ll enjoy your golden years more if you’re still healthy enough to do stuff. Don’t put it off if you don’t have to.

    Retirement is a happy place if you’ve got a plan.


  10. Dr Tom, if you retires much earlier you would be actively employed playing golf on the Sr tournament… nice here in Atlanta .. you guys get a lot more golf ⛳️ in than NCarolina


  11. Advice time, boys.
    When is a good time to cash in and join the retirement ranks?
    I am 55.
    Thanks, Tom. 60 sounds great.
    Old real estate line: buy land; not making anymore.
    My corollary: they ain’t making any more time, either.
    And as we all know: the boulder rolls fastest at the bottom of the hill.


    1. It’s different for everyone depending on your financial, family and health situation. But I do agree with retiring earlier than later is usually the way to go …. unless you are really passionate about your work.


  12. Appreciate your post Reed. You set a great example with your: 1) Learn something new; and 2) Do some good for someone. I’m also retired and I highly recommend it…

    I’m actually trying to learn some French on DuoLingo – learning new stuff like a language is supposed to help with postponing dementia for us old timers.

    Anyone else tried to learn a language using DuoLingo?

    Go Pitt.


  13. Major major… not duoLingo but took 4 years of Russian in high school..can read it but don’t remember too many translation of words.


  14. Gasman… I am 65 and still put in 50+ hr weeks but I love what I do-self employed Physical Therapist-and God hasn’t given me a better plan yet. One bit of advice I can give you younger guys in your 50s is do some regular light weightlifting.. I don’t and it shows -need to start to combat the natural loss of muscle mass from normal aging.


  15. I have used Duolingo and Rosetta Stone for Spanish. Both I believe we’re helpful, but when life gets busy and you get away from it, I seem to lose It. I am hoping to get back to it after retirement. Biggest problem for me is getting up to game speed. I think I’m getting somewhere, then if I try to watch a TV show in Spanish, I can’t keep up . .


  16. …or you can write to keep you mind active. Go to poetry slams and say “I can do that“, find storytelling groups. Listen to Moth Radio and, again, say “I can do that”… and then do it!


    Everyone of us has stories to tell that others can get a bit of wisdom from or advice from.

    Or you can turn 60 and say “F*ck it I’m getting a tattoo” and do that – something that is dear to you and you see when you look in the mirror every morning. Be careful with this though – you’ll have four tattoos before you turn 62.

    The best thing about getting older and retiring is that you are not beholden to anyone any longer – afraid of being embarrassed? Guys, no one really cares any more – its not like your going up for a promotion. Be totally yourself.

    Tell your kids that this is “your time” of life and some things will be different. Want to sing? Join a public choir – they are everywhere. Go to a karaoke bar where no ones knows you, get a bit drunk and kick out “Sympathy for the Devil…”

    Flirt like you are single. Flirt with 20 somethings and with 60 somethings. Tell a women “You make that dress look great”.

    Do not tell her “That’s a nice dress – I’d like to see it hanging from my bedpost tomorrow morning”. Believe me – somehow your wife will find out about it.

    Tell your wife you are now a “Free Range Husband” (my wife actually called me that and said – “Go do it!“) but will never cheat on her or disrespect her – tell her you’ll be out of the house more often doing things YOU want to do.

    Take day trips to weird places and eat foods you never tried before.

    Best advice – be the you you always dreamed of being… and notice that all those things above but the tattoos are free.


  17. Sounds great, Reed and everyone. Sign me up,….in about 10 years . I’d really like to do some solo or duo acoustic gigs in my retirement, like at wineries, etc, and finally master Spanish. My wife’s family is from Ecuador and it would be nice to participate when they are conversing in Spanish.


  18. Some very good advice Reed. I have to work to 66 for SS – county prosecutors do 95 % of the work for 5% of the pay but I would rather be where the action is, my choice and don’t regret it. . New foods? Try mountain oysters. I worked with Bill Purifoy DE from Homestead, Tulsa and Dallas Cowboys who became a DA Investigator and passed too young. Bill fired the mountain oysters down like M&Ms at a Tulsa BBQ till he found out what they were, then ralphed.
    Took 4 yeats of Spanish in HS and junior high. No habla espanoal, then again didn’t try hard, go for it PT.


  19. MajorMajors — Duolingo is a great way to start with a language. Two tips, though: 1. you have to stay with it; aim for doing the exercises every day. 2. Supplement it with another course. With respect to the latter, if you are near a University with an Osher (or “OLLI” — Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) program, it is an excellent resource. Here in Pittsburgh we are blessed to have two, one at Pitt, one at CMU. I belong to both and fully embrace their missions.

    By the way, Duolingo started on the CMU campus, then had offices above a restaurant on Walnut Street and has now moved to East Liberty. Here is a brilliant TED talk by the founder of Duolingo:


  20. Reed, once again thanks so very much for your service to our country. And extra thanks for sharing a little bit about yourself.

    Im 57 and am about 5 yrs out from retirement. The Mrs. and I recently moved outside of Richmond to a neighborhood with a nice golf course and I am looking forward to weekday/everyday rounds. But I know that won’t be enough and have started thinking about how to make the most of the next phase when it arrives. You’ve all given me some things to consider.

    BigB – started lifting again in the last year. Although my focus was on strengthening the core for golf and the old back, Im seeing other benefits. Hopefully I will do it right and won’t need your services or Doc’s. 🙂


  21. Once you’re retired, you won’t be able to use the excuse that I hear all the time, “Doc, honestly, I just can’t find the time”.
    So if you have been fortunate enough to make it to retirement with your natural teeth, then floss them! It’s time well spent!😁👍👍


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