Retiring on all cylinders for a full life after work
IF, like me, your work is your hobby you don’t ever need to retire. Having read an article about us all living to 150 I think it’s time to drop the ‘R’ word anyway. The Thesaurus is no help. It suggests alternatives to retiring as ‘give up’ ‘quit’ or ‘retreat from the world’. But surely absconding from work – playing permanent hooky if you like – should mean living life to the full?
Retiring has such a dusty, musty, ring to it. A carpet-slippery precursor to plopping off the mortal coil. It shouldn’t be assumed that giving up full-time paid work is a one-way ticket to an underworld of beige and sensible shoes.
Writer Jenny Joseph had the right idea in her poem, Warning: ‘When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, with a red hat which doesn’t go…’
Escaping from the daily grind requires a celebratory word. Retiring doesn’t mean having to opt out of life.
Surely it’s about doing more things, better things, things of your choosing. Travelling, tracking down old mates, making new ones, reading without rushing. It’s jogging, walking or driving or down to the pub for long lunches – with alcohol if you want, as there are no afternoon meetings to negotiate.
It’s learning a new language, absorbing the whole of a newspaper over tea and toast. Or peoplewatching with an Americano and a ciabatta. PW (Post Work) means watching a live Wimbledon match instead of squinting at the telly.
There’s time to write, play music, email, google, phone, text, sort out the old photos. Or do absolutely nothing. Bliss.
And you don’t have to be a rich or famous oldie like Joanna Lumley or Mary Berry, or a front-line politician like Jeremy Corbyn, to keep in the swim. You can re-join the library, do voluntary work, take advantage of cheap seats at theatres and cinema matinees, negotiate the local baths, join U3A.
Or get into local politics. Leaflet deliverers are much sought after, and fresh air and exercise are thrown in for free.
Consider my campaign to ban the R word well and truly launched. Meanwhile, if we must lump people together, the word retired definitely sounds better in another language. So, from now on, if you’re asked what you are doing with your time say that you’re retraite (French) or use the Spanish word jubilado.
Viva the Non-Retired!