"How do you feel?"

  
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As I begin my final week at USA TODAY Monday, after 36 years of service, naturally, many people have asked me the question.

What does it feel like to be hanging up your hat after so many years?

In a word: weird. Kind of hard to believe.

I’m really excited about the next chapter, and bigger focus on video, photography and blogging, but at the same time, it’s not like I hate the day job. I’m not singing “Take this job and shove it.”

This year I worked on Christmas Day, the day after, and even Sunday. And I’ll be working on New Year’s Day, which I believe will then be my swan song. I like to put in the hours, even after I quit. (To accept the generous buyout of payment through September not to work for Gannett.)

Oh yes. How do I feel? It will be very odd to hand the computer back and adjust to my new name. (Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY has to be retired.) Most of my career I’ve worked from home, so it’s not like it will be an adjustment not to drive to the office. But I know things are going to be very different.

How often are my PR friends going to be “circling back,” and “bubbling this up to the top of your inbox,” post January 4?

Will I still get fodder to make fun of from my e-mail?

Doubtful, but I’ll live.

Still, I’m thrilled I made the decision to exit now, and can’t wait to get started. Meanwhile, to celebrate, my pal Rich DeMuro recently went down memory lane with me for 20 years of tech highlights on my Talking Tech podcast. My USA TODAY editor Michelle Maltais took a deep dive with me on the early, mostly pre-tech years for a 45 minute video I’m still editing. Another friend, Jan Schrieber, interviewed me about growing up, and how I got into journalism in a very non-traditional manner. (Video coming soon.) And I’ll be on Christine Blackburn’s Storyworthy podcast this week talking about it.

Meanwhile, I compiled a really nice 8 minute highlight reel of the Talking Tech years. (Please click the link above!) My feeling in watching it: I can’t believe what USA TODAY let Sean Fujiwara and I get away with!

This weeks sunsets

You think, the sunset streak of amazing colors has got to come to an end — but it hasn’t. Christmas week was one stunning sunset after the next. New Year’s, what do you have for us?

This week’s writings

  • This week I wrote about what it’s like to create a website or blog with Wix, and how it compares to WordPress and Squarespace.

  • Just got a smart speaker for the holidays? Now what? I have a few ideas.

  • The company that calls itself Zazzle creates on-demand products like T-shirts, mugs and the like. This year, thanks to COVID, it was all about puzzles.

  • Finally, I found another excuse to bring Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles to USA TODAY with my take on the Year in food. Thanks as always, Alex Canter, for the opportunity to chat, and thanks for all those great black and white cookies through the years.

Tweet of the week

Our cat Jinx always gets anxious when it’s dinner time and Ruth hasn’t joined us yet.

How deep is your love

My latest guitar tune, inspired by watching that great new Bee Gees documentary on HBO Max.

I’m polishing my Auld Lange Syne as we head into this New Year. Are you with me in saying so long to the dreaded 2020? Here’s hoping all our favorite restaurants somehow survive to the spring and become bigger, healthier and more prosperous than ever. That we all escape the COVID and all the people thrown out of work get re-hired at bigger salaries.

What’s your wish for 2020? Remember, just click that reply button to let me know what’s on your mind, tell all your friends to subscribe and let me hear from you on Twitter, Instagram or YouTube, where I’m @jeffersongraham.

Happy new year everyone!

Jeff