I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Second Retirement

Back in 1997 I had the chance to take "early retirement" from my job with a suitably enhanced local government pension. I was 58.

It turned out to be a traumatic year - retirement, selling two houses and moving into one with my widowed mother joining us and being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

However, time moved on, as it does if you wait long enough. A major operation in 1998 meant that I am still here in 2014. My mother eventually died in 2001 and I found part-time occupations in 1999 in charge of my local Neighbour Mediation Scheme and also used past qualifications to train novice bus drivers (an unusual combination of talents(?) ).

The Mediation Co-ordinator's job I left in 2002 but a minor stroke in 2013 did not interrupt for long my bus driver work - actual training and presentational lectures to groups - which I have continued busily and happily to date.

However, a recent infection of the middle ear occasionally leaves me with nausea and vomiting. The doc says it will clear up in time, could take a year, but to "be patient".

So I have finally decided to retire (again) at the end of this year when I shall be 76. I could say that I have been involved, as a Road Safety Officer, for over 50 years.

As for things to occupy me then, some of my enjoyments are a trifle curtailed at present. Motor cycling and cycling I need to be careful with since the ear problem can upset my balance. I no longer (at present) have a dog who needs walking and people tend to look askance at solitary males wandering the local woods and fields (a sad comment on these times).

However - time will move on yet again and some of the above will be better able to be enjoyed once more. My old friend, this blog, should come in for more use again, too. I have been most remiss about it recently.

So "hello" again and sorry to have been so long away.


Tom said...

Hello! Good to know you're still around.

Roderick Robinson said...

Journalism was all I ever wanted to do. First it was just the getting out, asking questions, writing articles; later, when I became an editor, it was those things plus the supervision of others also doing those things. That's what I did between age 15 and age 60

Following retirement I've been very lucky. As deteriorating health deprived me first of ski-ing then of medium-distance swimming I knew that I was never going to switch to one of those depressing options that retirers seem to embrace - almost out of desperation. I had a particular horror of gardening, saw it as a hopeless form of nearby incarceration.

Initially I produced a community magazine then a community website. But mainly to prove to myself I could do these things; both were successful. But in the end I knew there would come a time when these ceased to satisfy me, that they needed communion with others and that that - like ski-ing and swimming - would be denied me. Writing, being entirely self-dependent, would take me all the way to the grave or to the loss of my mind, after either of which I would no longer care.

I started blogging in 2008, seeing it mainly as a useful writing discipline. It was incidental - but very rewarding - to find myself part of a community of lively minds. Recently I passed my thousandth blog and have also written thousands of words of comments, frequently embarrassing the recipients, creating obligations among them that I did not intend. Out of blogging grew a desire to resume novel-writing, something I'd dabbled in twenty years previously. I have written three novels (one published, one close to being published) and am close to finishing a fourth. Also some two dozen short stories which one way or another I will publish as a collection. I have experimented with verse, but experiments are all they remain.

I am aware that few people are tempted to write in a disciplined way, so, as I say, I see myself as lucky, since discipline is what matters. I no longer dabble. Writing is also a way of recycling the experiences of past life - not in the form of stories but as flashes of detail and/or insight.

I still regard conversation as the second greatest intellectual pleasure after writing. It comes and goes and in doing so provides a salutary experience. Conversation depends on others and old age is a time when the supply of others starts to dry up. Some form of self-dependence is essential if we are not to babble our way into uselessness. Reading is self-dependent but, to my mind, also requires an element of discipline, something of a programme, if it is to supply anything other than brief diversion.

The most salutary place of all is the dooctor's waiting room. Look around and notice old people, sitting in their seats, doing nothing. No books, not even a newspaper. Such a waste.

Again I've written an over-long comment and it's all about me. I realise that my solution has its defects; that I may be seen as a loner, an obsessional, a modern day equivalent of the Ancient Mariner. I admired the way you've arranged your life, in circumstances that have been far tougher than mine. Envied you the motorcycle - if only for an imagined ten minutes. The magic of staying upright on two wheels.

In writing this I realise I may have missed the point. What matters in old age is finding a way of thinking about things in a constructive way. Thinking is the final form of self-dependence. Writing helps me think and no doubt you have found other stimuli.

All shockingly valedictory I fear. But while there's thought there's hope.

Anonymous said...

Onward Dear heart, onward!

Love from The Daughter x

pohanginapete said...

Welcome back. I understand the frustration of not being able to do some of the activities that are so important -- I'm trying to recover my strength after a serious illness in India -- but I'm pleased to hear the curtailment should be temporary (mine, too, I trust).

Isabelle said...

Welcome back. Hope your ear clears up sooner rather than later.

Avus said...

I valued your salutory comments and heartily agree about your survey of doctors' waiting rooms (or any such rooms where public gather). The vacant expressions, gazing into space....
Whilst not seemingly compelled to write, as you are, it is something that remains with me - as indeed does reading.