“There is a high possibility that you won’t be able to do at 70 what you were doing at 40 that you won’t be physically capable of performing the same tasks with the same ease and velocity.” Originally published by Anna Catherine: Blog Down and Out in the 21st
After reading Anna’s blog about growing old, and having no fear of growing old I decided to share my personal thoughts and feelings about growing old:
I am a retired LEO nearing that magic number of 70 and have not retired all that long (2012). Retiring was a hard choice for me because I still loved my job where I spent 19 of my 25 years doing what I loved most, Uniform Patrol. Never wanted to do anything else, just wanted to be on the streets doing what I could for anyone in need.
But in 2011 I suffered a mini-stroke that really gave me a wake up call. After spending two months on sick furlough healing, I returned to full duty and went back on the road. The first two or three months were fine, felt like a new man. All the little things caught up with me! Energy levels were down, as well as my concentration and focus. One night after a grueling 12-hour shift that seemed as it would never end, when I arrived home I just sit in the patrol car for almost two hours because I did not have the strength to make the 20 feet or so to my front door.
Many thoughts ran my mind during those two hours like what if this happened while on a call for service that turns physical? How could I protect anyone, including myself? Am I now a liability to my peers? What if something happened to my partner(s) because of my incapability to back them up in a violent situation? After finally gaining back enough strength I managed to make into the house, shower, and bed to grab a few hours of rest before my shift the next day. Sometime during the night I subconsciously arrived to the decision that my time had come. The next day after our squad meeting I took the Lt. and Sarge aside telling the exactly what had happened. I formally submitted my retirement notification and request for terminal leave of two months prior to official retirement.
Was it hard? Most certainly! After 25 years I had come to the end of the road and was having to leave a job I dearly loved, and most importantly all my friends, many of whom I had worked with for over 20 years. People I shared so many things with, laughter, sorrow, blood, sweat and tears would be sorely missed. Looking back on all this gives me an entirely different perspective about who I am, my age and abilities. I earned every one of my wrinkles, scars, aches and pains doing what I loved. They are a visual road-map of my journey through life, telling my story better than a verbal or written account of it. They are who I am!