By and by, and ‘bye

I was listening to a compilation album a couple of years ago when I came across a song and a band I had never heard. The group was the Ryan Montbleau Band and the song was titled “75 And Sunny.”

And I rather be 75 and sunny,
Than acting like I was 17 and freezing again.
I’d rather be up early in the morning
Than up late at night erasing memories of where I’ve been.
Or to be through at 52 someday stone-faced and bleary-eyed.
You better believe I’m living for the moment but my moment’s growing bigger by and by.

Wait a second: *I* was 52, and I had a little Keanu Reeves moment right then and there. “Whoa,” I said.

My job was eating me up, and I knew it was eating me up, and everyone around me knew it as well. But I’d had work challenges in the past and had powered through them. That’s what a professional is supposed to do, right? It ain’t all sunshine all of the time, and this was the life I had chosen. I tucked the lyrics away into the back of my mind somewhere.

Fast forward two years, one scrip for blood pressure medicine and a couple of lectures from my doctor later. I was getting up on too many mornings and feeling miserable. This wasn’t just age talking, and it also wasn’t sustainable. And so, I resolved to do something else for a living in 2014.

My employer came to the rescue. It needed to reduce staff size and offered a generous buyout package to anyone with more than three years of experience at the shop. I still didn’t think it was a good idea. My wife, who stood the suffer the most if things went wrong but also was suffering because things were “going right,” had other ideas. “Take it,” she said.

So I did, and Friday is my last day. Soon I’ll spend half a month in the Keys and the Caribbean, after which I’ll do some thinking on what it is that I want to do next. And then I’ll get back to it.



  1. Congratulations! I was sorry to miss you at work Friday — didn’t get word about either celebration until too late — but wanted to wish you the best and thank you for everything you did for me there, including getting me there at all, and thank you for everything you did to make digital truly work there.

    I was talking about you the other week to someone who’s looking to overhaul a digitally troubled newsroom, and I told him, “You need to find someone like Randy. Let me tell you about Randy and the art of journalistically savvy newsroom disruption….”

    Hope you have a great time on your adventures. Will be out to see the band again soon!

  2. Thanks, Patrick. Those are really kind words, and you were the first person at USA Today to figure out that the Latin in my email signature line meant “Word to your mother.” For that alone, you have my greatest respect.

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