After 12,334 days working at a financial institution I finally retired on 30.6.14. Working in different countries I was inevitably at work by 7.00 a.m. ; the only chance to read overnight emails and try and decrease the in-tray without interruption from meetings or telephone calls. Before I retired I was told I would find it hard to walk away. Too used to my ‘status and title’ within the bank, and too used to business class travel and staying in fancy hotels.
The strange thing is that I haven’t missed it for a second. No politics, no inane managing upwards, no longer the corporate slave. Instead a lovely home in France. Summer days spent on my tractor or mower, breathing in fresh air, drinking quality French wine……..it makes me wonder why I didn’t do it earlier!
What is interesting is that the one person who is probably struggling most with my retirement is my gorgeous wife! Thanks to my job overseas we have spent many days apart in the past. For both of us that has meant the need to adjust to living life separately. My wife was used to doing ‘her own thing’ and having the freedom to do much as she wished. My retirement, and being around 24/7, has rather cramped her style. We go to supermarkets together and I watch with amazement as she browses the shelves seemingly interminably. Picking up jars and packets, ambling ever so gently done every aisle, much as I might so in a library or a bookshop! Nothing wrong with that of course it’s just that we have never done that together before, and maybe shouldn’t in the future! I have an ulterior motive – I hate shopping!!
I am frequently asked the question – ‘How is retirement going?’ The inference I suppose is that I have now moved on from my active past and have been led out to pasture. Pipe and slippers by the fire come to mind! It’s as though you have changed status, and it isn’t always a positive inference! What I have discovered is that you have to keep the same discipline and focus in your life as a ‘retiree’ as when you were in full-time employment. I don’t like the term ‘retirement’. I prefer to see it as moving on to the next stage in one’s life where you fill days with activities that on the whole you enjoy. But you must still be disciplined in your planning, rise at a reasonable hour and pack as much as you can into each and every day. Otherwise I think the danger is that you drift and we all know how days and weeks can slip past.
When I first retired I wanted to write a book. Yes, I hear you say, don’t we all but it’s just a pipe-dream that we talk about but never get round to. Incidentally I largely agree. The slight difference here is that at my former employer’s I did write a manual that became a policy document, and which I now want to turn into a book. So I have the basis and outline for the book at least which makes the whole exercise that much easier. The problem is that in some 20 months I haven’t written much. I haven’t set time aside and been disciplined enough. I am determined to change that and at least finish the book. I am realistic enough to know that it is unlikely to ever see the light of day but I do at least want to be able to put the finished article on my bookshelf and to be able to honestly assert that I have written a book!!