A year ago today I stepped off the corporate merry-go-round and headed into the haven which is known as retirement. I think it’s safe to say I haven’t looked back. Nor, since you ask, have I been tempted to
clamber back onto the carousel. There is SO much else to do!
A year ago today we had a party at work – that’s how pleased everyone was to see the back
of me. I left the building with armfuls of cards, flowers and presents plus a blue bush, a gift from two colleagues who had heard the sad story of how I once had a beautiful blue bush which sadly didn’t survive being cut back by Mr B.
The new bush is about to burst into full bloom, a reminder of those thoughtful friends but also of just how much time has flown by since I planted it in its new home a year ago.
So, what have I done with my year – these twelve months which will never come back? Have I made best use of them, I ask myself?
Well, I have set up my own website. But then you knew that,
or you wouldn’t be reading the blog. I met a former colleague at a “do” a few weeks back and told him, proudly, how I’d set up www.retiringinstyle.net. His answer was a trifle sobering:
“Why?” he asked, puzzled. I couldn’t think of a satisfactory answer, off the top of my head apart from that it was fun and I wanted to see if I could do it. After all, I don’t make any money out of it - though I suppose I could if I
was prepared to accept freebies and write glowing accounts of how they have changed my life / made me feel young again / cured some unfortunate malady from which I have been suffering since birth. But, no, when I write about places I’ve visited,
restaurants I’ve eaten in, coffee shops I’ve frequented, I can promise you that they haven’t paid me to write about them. Or, even more particularly, paid me not to write about them.
Most people ask if I’ve been travelling. Unless I can count our lovely family holiday in Deepest Devon last August, the answer is a disappointing “no.” Disappointing to those who ask me, that
is, not to me. I’ve not felt a burning need to pack my cases and set off for foreign climes. “East, West, Home’s best” sums it up for me – though I’m not completely ruling out the occasional foray somewhere I’ve never
been before. I’ll let you know before I go.
The best, most life-enhancing thing about retirement is simply having time. More time with Mr B who provides
me with so much copy for the Daily Blog just by being himself. Time to welcome the Young People down whenever they want to come. No need to consult an appointments diary, or check how much leave I still have owing me – if My Boy or one of the Darling
Daughters rings up and says “will you be around if we come for a visit?” I just say “Yes, please!” Or if they need me, I can be there. In a trice. Sometimes, even before they have thought to ask...
I have had time to learn new skills – with the help of The Redoubtable Muriel, our Choir Conductor, I am learning to sing properly. As in, sounding all my vowels and consonants so that people
listening can hear all the words. “Sixty scissors, sixty scissors,” she makes us sing. Followed by “Cuckoo clock, cuckoo clock”. I know, I know, we will never make it onto Britain’s Got Talent but we pronounce the words
of the Ascot Gavotte quite, quite beautifully.
I have learnt the basics of Short Mat Bowls with the help of a sterling little paperback book by the esteemed Ron
Hollingridge. I have bought all the kit so, if nothing else, I look the part. I have also improved my cribbage skills so much that Mr B concedes that I am now (just possibly) one of the better players in our Cribbage Group. This is praise indeed, coming from
Mr B, though he spoils it a bit by adding: “Of course you had a good teacher.” No prizes for guessing who that was.
I’ve joined the U3A (University
of the Third Age) and the Worthing Girls. I have become a Church Watcher, a Great War Project Volunteer, Assistant Secretary of the Bowls Club, the press officer for my grandchildren’s Youth Theatre Group, and a Summer Reading Challenge helper. “What
are you today?” My Boy is wont to ask me when he telephones me. Sometimes I have to think hard before I can answer.
This morning we went to the Tarring Market.
We sat in the sunshine, with a coffee and a scone, listening to the Silver Band play and enjoying that quintessentially British Village Fete atmosphere. While we were there, I met Rita from Choir, Miggy from the Girls, Sylvia from Short Mat, Anthony
from Church Watch and Peggy whom I help out with this and that.
Some say that your life contracts when you retire. Mine, I am very happy to say, just
seems to keep on expanding.