Columbus Monthly editor Eric Lyttle retired in October after a 34-year career in journalism.

It’s with both sadness and excitement that I write this editor’s note. I’ve spent my entire adult life searching for words. I’ve felt their nuance, heard their rhythms. I’ve seen the way they can be strengthened or weakened by mingling with others. And now, after decades of trying to find just the right word, I’m down to one: goodbye. By the time you read this, I hope to be somewhere in New England, slowing my roll in retirement and decompressing as I watch the leaves turn from green to red.

More hours of my life have been devoted to the discipline of journalism and the craft of writing than anything I’ve ever done. I earned my first full-time journalism job in August 1984, writing sports for the former weekly Suburban News chain, and followed that with gigs at The Other Paper, The Columbus Dispatch, and for more than half of my career, writing or editing Columbus Monthly magazine. I never even sent out a résumé in all those years. Why would I? What other occupation pays you to be curious, to meet fascinating people? To tell stories? What other occupation changes nearly every day? It’s a lucky man who gets paid to do what he loves.

But the same curiosity that made journalism so captivating is taking me in a new direction. My wife, Cindy, and I are piling into a big motorhome and heading out to explore America. The only deadlines we need to meet now will be set by our own whims. And as intimidating as it is to leave behind a much-loved, 34-year career, it’s thrilling, and even a little frightening, to be standing at the precipice of a midlife do-over that will allow us to spend every day, all day, together, eyes wide open.

We’re not running from anything. We’re not searching for anything. We’ve simply made a conscious decision to reallocate our time. Instead of selling it in exchange for a paycheck, we’ve decided to spend it writing a new story.

I already have my new lede written: Isn’t it funny how “meander” kind of sounds like “me and her?”

Thanks for being a part of my first long ride.