Re­tir­ing on all cylin­ders for a full life af­ter work

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

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!

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