It’s what every working person strives for, and hope that when it comes it will be relaxing, healthy, solvent and carefree. Most often it is, and then sometimes it ain’t. Retirement has been bandied about a lot recently, whether it’s premature in the case of football managers, later for those waiting their state pension and who now have to wait even longer for it, and the latest television appeal to ‘I’m in’ for the latest government initiative on contributory pensions.
Yes it’s all to do with retirement. I’ve retired twice; once from the Royal Air Force and once from BAE Systems, both I’m glad to say with a pension, which enabled me to retire at the tender age of 59. Needless to say the great 65 figure is looming up, and I will get the state pension at that point, unfortunately a mere 21 days before the new, higher rate kicks in. Ce la guerre as they say, and it doesn’t matter if I delay the inevitable. Not that I’m complaining, I’ll still get a state pension at the normal age, which is something a great many people can’t say. Quite a few people I know are bemoaning the fact that because they’re in their 50s they’ve got to wait until they are 66 or 67 before they get a state pension. That’s a great pity, and it means there will be a vast pool of very experienced older people available for work until much later in life. Which us the point I’m coming to. Now, I was happy to take the retirement route, not even looking for a job, to give younger people a chance. So I didn’t even bother looking and now just do the odd job for the local community or people I know. I can pick and choose, luckily because my pensions allow me to indulge in such a relaxed lifestyle. I did think at the start that it would be a fulfilling, satisfying lifestyle which would enable me to indulge in whatever I wanted to do. It’s almost true, but daily life still gets in the way. We all (even the Queen as my mum used to say) have to eat/drink, sleep and ablut to stay alive. Those are essentials and some of these are essential every day and in the case of food, have to be provided for. It’s using the old saw: eat when you like, sleep when you like, *** when you like. Only it doesn’t work like that, so food still has to be prepared at certain times of the day, to fit in with your metabolism, sleep naturally happens at night, so do other things. So the idea that at retirement you are much freer and easier doesn’t bear scrutiny, especially if you live with a significant other. After four years when I used to say ‘every day is different’, now that’s not the case. Often some days you just can’t get going and nothing gets done, other days flow like mad and everything flows.
But its a strange state; retirement. You’re not actually producing anything or providing a service, yet with a pension you still have an income, funded of course if it is private, during your working life, and by national insurance contributions from the working population if you’re not. Some people have to work, in my case I worked to live not vice versa. I know 70+ olds who just want to keep on working and say they would die if they stopped. I don’t think so, if gives you to do things, in fact any work expands to fill the time available to do it, so a better job is generally the result. Nice about retirement? No rat race, no commuting, no office politics, no promotion, no grovelling, no pay rises. Retirement? Well, you lose the camaraderie between workmates and the daily banter, Friday lunch time drinks (after work of course), pay rises, feeling useful and more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I retired, wild horses wouldn’t drag me into formal employment, unless I need to for survival. And it does give you freedom; you don’t have to apply for holiday, time off for the doctor/dentist, sloping away early fr a night or weekend away. No, you’re the boss in that regard (not the real boss of course, that’s your significant other!), but generally you’re answerable to no-one within the bounds of the law, and well basically if you want to do something, nothing can make you. Sorry this is a bit of a ramble, but even after four years I still haven’t worked out what retirement actually means. I mean I don’t feel my age, well not always anyway, some days I feel about 30, others about 80. Although I don’t know what an 80 year old feels like necessarily.
So retirement is all its cracked up to be, and not. Its what most people want, but when they get there, they are sometimes disappointed. It can leave you destitute, or give you choices. Ultimately though retirement comes to an end, and nobody escapes that one.