It’s time for the next adventure

Published 11:07am Friday, November 8, 2013

As a photographer for The Daily Leader when I was in my 20s, I couldn’t see myself still doing photography when I was 40 or over. I guess I saw that age … as well … old.

Well, recently at the ripe ole age of 50, I was climbing aboard a 1929 biplane and soaring over Brookhaven in an open cockpit to take photographs. My hair was blowing in the wind, and I’m sure I had a grin pasted to my face from ear to ear. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve done in quite some time!

I guess that just goes to show that age is just a number and that inside we are all still young at heart and ready to take on our next adventure!

When you’re in your 20s, you think you have all the time in the world. You view anyone, say over the age of 40, as ancient. At least I did when I was that age.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that time is fleeting and you need to make the most of whatever you’re doing in the present. I have a more healthy respect for the older generation that I’m creeping up on.

I retired from the newspaper this past February. It was something my husband Dennis and I had been thinking about for months. We both felt I needed to adjust my priorities some. What I didn’t write about at the time was the fact … I was worried about my health.

I guess as we all age, like a fine classic car, things start to need repair or adjustments.

A little over a year and a half ago, a rheumatologist said she thought I had the disease Sjorgren’s Syndrome. It’s an auto-immune disease much like lupus, where the antibodies in your own blood attack normal healthy tissue in your body. It isn’t fatal, but it can make you feel it is.

After many, many tests and doctors, another rheumatologist confirmed the diagnosis. So for the last year or so I’ve been adjusting to medications and seeing what’s working and what’s not. It’s not an easy road.

The biggest hurdle for me is the chronic fatigue, joint pain and adjusting my daily life around days that I feel good or bad. I’ve always been somewhat of a work-a-holic. Just adjusting to not working at a “real” job has been a huge adjustment.

To look at me, you’d think everything was A-OK. There aren’t any outward signs that say “hey, she’s sick.” Lucky for me, I have an understanding family. They see my daily struggle and try to make things easier for me.

I haven’t been the only one going through lots of changes in the past few months, so has The Daily Leader.

When I heard the paper’s new publisher was coming from Georgia and had once worked at the Americus Times-Recorder in Americus, Ga., I knew I had to go in and introduce myself.

I worked at the Times-Recorder for several years and made many friends in Georgia. So when I met Publisher Otis Raybon for the first time, it gave us both an opportunity to reminisce about our time with Thomson Newspapers, the parent company of the newspaper at the time.

He asked would I be interested in some freelance work. I said, yes, I’d try it out for a while and see how it went.

In my 20s, I couldn’t see myself still taking photographs for a living. I thought by the time I got to my age, I’d be an executive at some newspaper, maybe a publisher. But time and circumstance has a way of making you humble, and career ambitions sometime take a backseat to family.

I’m happy I’m 50. In fact, I’m thankful I’ve made it this far. I’ve had a spectacular career in newspapers and even though I’ve retired, I can still dabble a bit on the side.

As for my health, it’s a day-to-day thing. I’m trying to adjust to a chronic illness and just make the best of things. And while I’m doing so, I’ll be off to find my next big adventure.

And how was your week?

You can reach Tammie Brewer at or through the newspaper.