Neil’s smelling the roses as re­tire­ment gets his ap­proval

For­mer Let’s Talk ed­i­tor Neil Haver­son is some­one who has suc­cess­fully made the tran­si­tion from full-time work to part-time work to re­tire­ment. Here he ex­plains all.


It seems only yes­ter­day that I was among those of a cer­tain age say­ing: “Roll on re­tire­ment. I can’t wait to do what I want when I want.”

But as the big day ap­proached my per­spec­tives changed. I re­mem­ber walk­ing across the of­fice car park think­ing: “Soon I won’t be do­ing this ev­ery day”. From the daily rou­tine of a ful­lon job edit­ing Let’s Talk I was step­ping into the un­known.

I held sev­eral “bored” meet­ings with Mrs H. I knew she was con­cerned. What was I go­ing to do with my time? I had no real hob­bies. I’m not one to dis­ap­pear to the garage and knock up a cof­fee ta­ble.

But I didn’t feel ready to go and thank­fully I was able to con­tinue work­ing three days a week.

The ad­di­tional two days off gave us the op­por­tu­nity to get used to spend­ing more time to­gether. Big jobs no longer had to be squeezed into the week­end. We didn’t have to shop dur­ing peak hours and we could take that ex­tra bit of time to do things.

As Mrs H put it: “We have time to stop and smell the roses on the way.”

But how did this trans­late into per­ma­nent re­tire­ment?

Well, so far so good. I do miss the ban­ter with col­leagues but I keep in touch with them. I cer­tainly don’t miss the com­mute, work­ing to con­stant deadlines and of­fice pol­i­tics.

It is im­por­tant to keep busy. I still con­trib­ute to Let’s Talk and write a col­umn for the news­pa­per. I joined the vol­un­teers at Wy­mond­ham Her­itage Mu­seum, where I look af­ter the pub­lic­ity. This gets me out of the house and among peo­ple, and I shut my­self

The trou­ble is, once you have re­tired, you never get an­other day off – Abe Lemons.

away to do my writ­ing so Mrs H has plenty of her own space.

We share the chores. Oh how I love clean­ing the kitchen floor.

It doesn’t mat­ter if we stay up to see the end of a film. We get up a bit later the fol­low­ing morn­ing.

The loss of a salary was a big hit but we’re do­ing okay with our pen­sions. No com­mut­ing costs – and when you’re at work it’s sur­pris­ing how much you spend on cof­fee and lunch hour shop­ping. For­tu­nately we are both rea­son­ably healthy and try to fol­low the ad­vice for a longer life by ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly.

Lone­li­ness has a huge im­pact on the lives of the older gen­er­a­tion. I thank my lucky stars I have some­one with whom I can stop and smell the roses.

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