The years have flown by, and the time has come after more than 40 years in the newspaper business for me to retire and see what other things God has in store for me.

The final countdown on my story assignments is on.

I am celebrating my 42nd year of working at area newspapers including The Gazette-Virginian (on three different occasions), The Star-Tribune in Chatham and The Union Star in Brookneal and that’s not counting my years of working on The Star at Halifax County Senior High School.

I think I’m close to the top of my editing game, so this is a good time to go. I will still be around for a few more days, but come the end of this month, my column space will be taken over by new GV editor Ashley Hodge whom I wish the very best.

Newspaper people never really retire, because it’ll always be in our blood, but as this full-time job comes to an end, I am sure God has many more things in mind for me.

Being near my family and being able to spend more time with them will be important as will new adventures planned and unplanned.

The Rev. Russell Lee, who recently retired as minister of First Presbyterian Church here, said friends have told him it is important to have goals in retirement, or things can get old and stale.

So, there are many things I am planning to accomplish in this exciting time of life. Volunteering for organizations I haven’t had enough time to work with immediately comes to mind along with many other “projects” on the horizon that I have planned.

But God will be leading, and we’ll see if his plans for me are bigger than the ones I have in mind.

Seems I’m not alone in newspaper retirements taking place at the end of this month.

Veteran Richmond Times columnist Paul Woody, who is retiring at the end of this month after 40 years in the business, wrote in his column, which was published on Monday afternoon and ran in Tuesday’s Times-Dispatch, “Considering all the things happening in the newspaper business these days, it’s also not a bad time to call it a career.”

That sums up exactly how I feel about this bittersweet time. It will take some adjusting to after four decades in this business, but look out retirement, here I come.

Paula I. Bryant is the editor of The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at​

Paula I. Bryant is the editor of The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at