'Rewired, not Retired' - that was the title of a magazine article I came across in the dentist's waiting room recently. I only had time to skim the article sufficiently to see that it was about people who had successfully begun a new career after retiring from their first one, before I was summoned to the torture chair.
"I enjoy waking up and not having to go to work.
So I do it three or four times a day."
But what an excellent and memorable title especially in the light of the recent 'shock-horror' announcement that the official retirement age will have to be raised to allow for the huge 'black holes' in the pension funds. I found it difficult to understand the outrage expressed by those interviewed by the BBC because I am well past so-called 'retirement age', working all hours and wouldn't have it any other way. Well, to be honest, I'd prefer not to work quite so many hours, but the idea of retiring is something I don't even think about! Ever since I was entranced by a programme on TV many years ago, about a couple who, on reaching that magical age had bought a canal longboat, done it up and turned it into a thriving business, I've felt strongly that 'retirement' is not for me.
"Retirement kills more people than hard work ever did."
I can see that things might look very different for anyone who has slogged their way faithfully through forty or so years of a job that they didn't much like. Probably the thought of retirement at a certain point would be all that kept them going and to have that prospect of freedom and leisure delayed, even by a year or two, might seems outrageous.
But when your worklife/career has been as 'intermittent' as mine has, because of family responsibilities and back problems, the opportunity to work more or less unfettered and consistently later in life is something I welcome. I've had a few shocked comments from people I've met, of the, 'you don't work, do you?' variety and the woman I saw about applying for Pension Credits was completely flummoxed about whether I was eligible because she had never come across anyone of my age who was working! But didn't Freud say something about work being one of the keys to a healthy life, a concept that the Humanistic movement has expanded upon?
For some people, that sudden release from what they regarded as a prison of daily drudgery can bring all sorts of emotional problems they hadn't anticipated -
"When a man retires,
his wife gets twice the husband
but only half the income."
Chi Chi Rodriguez.
Recognising this, classes have been set up to prepare people for their changed situation. Here's an excellent article about the pyschological hazards of retirement. Once they have taken the cruise they had promised themselves and sampled the habit of getting up late, they may begin to miss the structure their work gave to their lives, they realise they are no longer needed, no longer part of something bigger than themselves. They may begin to perceive themselves as being 'on the scrapheap' and the freedom they had so looked forward to can feel more like emptiness.
The often poignant BBC sitcom of a few years ago, 'Waiting for God' comes to mind!
"Retirement is the ugliest word in the language"
So it came as a bit of a puzzle to me when a Greeting Card Universe reviewer insisted that I should put some of my 'Enjoy your Retirement' or 'Best wishes for your Retirement' cards in the 'Congratulations' category!! What is there to be congratulated on? Having finally reached the end of the line? Having stuck it out all those years? It seemed a ridiculously inappropriate categorisation to me, but I went along with it, on the grounds that the reviewers know what's best for our greeting card sales - or maybe I'm missing something?
What do you think?
These two 'retirement' cards perhaps reflect a difference in attitude to retirement between men and women. The man now has time to stop and listen to the birds singing; while the woman is rejoicing in her new-found freedom! Probably something to do with the hormones!
These three embody the idea that somehow retirement brings with it 'peace and quiet' - maybe it does for some?
And these are the result of my 'naughty' pencil getting up to its old tricks yesterday!