Two guys who knew it was time to hang 'em up
2/15/2013 4:17:00 PM
This past week, not one, but TWO long time public figures decided they had enough of the grind, and announced they would be retiring from their current positions. The first one, which REALLY took the entire world by surprise, was the declaration by Pope Benedict XVI he would be resigning at the end of the month. He is the first Pope in centuries to not complete the term, which ends, well...when you meet "the big guy upstairs". He cited health reasons, which I'm sure play a role, but let's face it: Pope John Paul II was a tough act to follow. No matter how hard he tried to relate to "regular people", Benedict XVI would never be cool enough to hang out with Bono from U2, like the previous Pope. That job requires yearly travel around the world, dealing with some tough controversies, and daily pressures that anyone else would crack to pieces under, so I completely understand and respect his decision. Pardon the pun, but "go with God".
The other announcement this week, no where as near a surprise as the Pope's, was the retirement of NJ's US Senator Frank Lautenberg. Here's a guy that was already retired, and was pulled back into the job when Robert Toricelli ran into some personal trouble. He won the election, then won re-election. His seat was being threatened by a younger, more energetic, far more eager candidiate in Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who was ready to drag the Senator from High Point to Cape May to claim the seat in a tough, exhaustive campaign, that Lautenberg would have been just unable to win. Senator Lautenberg, I'm sure, at this point in his life, would rather spend time with his family, than be bouncing all over the state begging for votes. Nothing against places like Cumberland County, but I'm sure Lautenberg would prefer the company of his grandkids over the regulars at the VFW in Millville.
Two different public figures, two very different stories, with one very important common thread; they knew when it was their time to leave the game. For pro sports athletes, if you don't retire when it's your time, the game passes you by. Quickly. There's an important lesson to be learned here, and that's there's nothing shameful about knowing when it's time to hang it up for good. Like it or not, the day will come for all of us when it's time to move on. I applaude the Pope and the Senator for not overstaying their welcomes, and realizing it was time to go. There's something to that we can all learn from.