Monday, July 6, 2020

When Did You Retire?

My father, Byrl Thornton Jenkins on his 90th birthday. October 5, 1999

Or, are you retired? Or, you’re retired, aren’t you? Or, when do you plan to retire?

These are various forms of the question I'm asked frequently as people note my apparent age. The answer to all is no. I haven’t retired, I’m not retired, and I have no plans to retire.

One of the conscious factors in my mind when I chose my profession was that I wanted a career that no one could make me retire from. If I had spent my life working in some other field I might be interested in retiring, but I’ve spent my life doing something I love. Why would I want to retire from that? I’m a photographer. I can still photograph. I’m a writer. I can still write.

I no longer solicit commercial or architectural photography, but occasionally someone offers me a job and I take it. I no longer book weddings on my own, but have kept my hand in the game as a second-shooter for an Atlanta photographer since 2013 and hope to photograph many more with her.

Meanwhile, there are books to be created. There are articles to be written and illustrated. There are a myriad fascinating things to see and do. There are places to go where I haven’t yet been, plus many more I would love to revisit.

One of the Lost Barns of Rock City. Probably my next book.

I’ve taken note of the statistic: everyone who retires dies. And often sooner than he should have. My philosophy is this: Think young. Thinking old will kill you.

My father, an electronics technician, Bible scholar, part-time pastor of small churches, avid photographer, and father of seven children, passed away at the age of 90. He was always active, always pursuing all kinds of knowledge, always looking ahead to the next thing, even after a serious health condition laid him low when he was 89. The last day we spent together, in January, 2000, just a month before he died, we spent the day shopping, even though we had to find a restroom about every hour because of the persistent diarrhea that weakened his heart and finally killed him. But what were we shopping for? A computer system, so he could go online to sell his antiques. He never gave up.

My goal in life is to emulate my father’s faith, courage, and perseverance. So no. I haven't retired and I have no plans to do so.

Blog Note: I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at I'm trying to build up my readership, so if you're reading this on Facebook and like what you read, would you please consider sharing my posts?

(Photographs copyright David B. Jenkins 2020)

Soli Gloria Deo
To the glory of God alone


  1. I've made my career in software development and love it. But it is something I will eventually retire from, because as I move through my 50s I'm becoming as interested in my creative pursuits and would love to have more time for them. But retire, as in sit around most of the day and then go play golf? No thank you.

  2. You're laying a good foundation for your ongoing creative pursuits, Jim.

  3. That is an amazing blog uncle David that brought tears of joy. I'm pursuing my dreams of becoming a fashion designer and God made my dreams come true. I no longer go to Ivy Tech. I now go to Academy of Arts University of San Francisco, California. I got accepted their because God said this is the school for me. I didn't listen to God about college but now I have and I'm doing great in school. My overal grades are B in both of my summer classes and one of them is grammar class. We had to right a paper about how we started our artist journey and mine started with God giving me an amazing talent. I titled the paper "How God Star my Life". My teacher gave me a B on the assignment but what made me feel so happy that she loved my title and how I gave God the credit because it's all true. I can't to read more about your blog uncle David. GOD BLESS YOU AND aunt Louise. I love you both.