Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Gawd, not another preachy post ;o)

Hello and Good Morning. I wish I could get my brain to work in unison with my typing fingers. Words come into my head and in my haste to get them out I hit the wrong keys, and then have to go back and correct my mistakes. Does that happen to you? Common errors are I hit two keys together, I get letters the wrong way round, the last letter from the end of the word is often missing, and I hit the wrong letter completely, not even the one next to it, but one lower down on the keyboard. Perhaps I should leave all my mistakes in then you would know what I mean. Trouble is my brain is working too fast, I must slow down. I'll press on.

Which leads me on nicely to the next topic. An article in the newspaper this morning made me want to shout at the screen. It's all very sad, apparently some women of retirement age are finding it difficult to come to terms with the fact that they are no longer required to go to work, a paid job that is. They have all this time on their hands now and feel bereft, because they are no longer required. I see that they are mostly women who have had a responsible and meaningful career. They have enjoyed their work to the extent that it didn't seem like a job at all, it was more like going in everyday to meet up with their friends and family. Some people are like that, they need to belong, to fit in, and value the support from colleagues.

The headline I feel is a bit over the top, as they usually are, make an article appear more dramatic and everyone will be drawn to read it. Like I did this one, ha ha.
The most TRAUMATIC life change of all. What exactly is traumatic I wondered. Finishing work and becoming retired, oh.

One lady said she was overwhelmed by loneliness, I think that is a common feeling. Another said, it's hard to think of what to do next. I feel adrift in a strange world, is how one lady described retirement. One lady said I feel guilty and worthless for not working. Another said, I'm acutely aware of time running out. I feel very sad for these ladies, and hope that they can move on and find their niche somewhere else.

So what was it like for me when I retired? Well as you may have read here, I slowed down first. I reduced my hours at work and found other things to do with my time. Then when work came to a halt completely I found more ways to spend my time. For the last few months I was unemployed, I lost my job at 59, and had to sign on for Job Seekers Allowance. That was a laugh, I had no prospects of finding a job at that age, and the paltry sum that the government paid me was not enough to live on. Thank goodness I had an insurance policy which paid my mortgage. I remember when I hit that magical age of 60. I went to the Job Centre a couple of days before to sign on. The young girl behind the desk studied my records and said I would have to attend a review and would make me an appointment. She told me the date, it was in a weeks time. I said, you can do what you like, I will not be attending. She looked at me in a quizzical way and said, why not? I replied, look at my date of birth, I am 60 on Thursday. Oh yes, she said. I'm sat there with a big grin on my face. When I got up I went to a couple more desks where I recognized the people I had spoken to on previous signings on. I said, I'm going now, and I won't be back, goodbye. I ran out of that place as happy as a lark.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my job, I loved truck driving, I thought I would do it till the day I die. But life is not always the same day after day, year after year, things change. Like chapters of a book, one closes and another opens.

So what would I say to these women? I can't tell people how to live their lives, I cant tell them to stop moaning and get on with it, they have to find solutions for themselves. I live alone but I am not lonely. Every new day is something to look forward to. Every new day is a gift, living is much more preferable to the alternative.

I am no longer required to go to work. Thank goodness for that, I've done enough, let the younger ones have the jobs. I was talking to a friend yesterday as I dog walked Bailey the poodle. He was pottering in his garage converted to a workshop. He retired early because he has a good pension pot. He said to me, I have the best job ever, retirement. I agreed with him.

I feel guilty and worthless for not working, said one lady. Well I don't. You all know what I do because I write about it here. I have always considered that my contribution to the workplace has been worthwhile, the country would grind to a halt if there weren't any lorry drivers. Hopefully I will continue to lead a worthwhile life, in other ways which suits this later part of my life. I aint about to start feeling sorry for myself. If you spend a lot of time being part of a team you don't get to look inwards and find the real you. Looking to others for leadership and support is all very well some of the time, but when the chips are down you have to look within yourself. When I was at work, driving a 38 tonner, I couldn't shout help if I got myself in a tight spot. I bloody well had to get myself out of it. There was just me, out there, no one down the corridor in another office to help me. A good lesson learned which has served me well.

What was the next point that someone made, oh yes, feeling adrift in a strange world. Yes, retirement will be strange if you have spent a long time in a routine, then suddenly stop. The secret is to find other things to do before you get the old heave-ho bog off letter. Take up old interests, start new interests, write down a dream list of what you are going to do once you have the time to do it. You might want to lie in bed late when the reality hits you that you no longer have to go to work, but once that period is over, get your arse out of bed and rejoice in this new found freedom. Don't worry, retirement will feel like the norm eventually, and you will wonder why you didn't stop earlier.

What was the other quote, feeling like time was running out. Perfectly true, time is running out, for all of us, nothing lasts forever. I don't want to die, no one can predict the time when we are called to leave this earth, but I try and be optimistic and hope that I have a good innings. Have you ever met a pessimistic person? After an hour or so in their company it is thoroughly draining. No use telling them to pull themselves together, it won't make any difference. People can only change if they want to. Do the best for yourself, look after yourself, optimists live longer, with a bit of luck.

Ok, let's wind this up, I need food. Each and every one of us is alive now, right at this moment, at this very minute. Our life yesterday is history, it's over, and done with. Nice to have memories, but we can't turn back the clock, we have to move on. How we do that is entirely up to ourselves. Your way will be different to mine, everyone is unique in their own way. When you get to the end of today, and you go to bed, just pause for a few seconds and ask yourself a question, did you do it your way? The answer should always be YES YES YES.

Thanks for popping in. Catch you soon.
PS My punctuation is rubbish and I'll check later for any typo's.

39 comments:

  1. I have been retired for over 10 years and I don't know how I ever had time to go to work my life is full - so full in fact that I occasionally schedule in a Norway day or two (Monty Don's idea he said he once told everyone he was going to Norway for a week and then stayed at home not taking phone calls nor replying to e-mails) I love my life now and can't ever imagine being bored or lonely. I know that time is running out - so what - it has been since Day one. I intend to keep occupied till the last, I loved my job but it didn't define me so no I don't miss it especially with all the new technology and changes etc. Live every moment of your new lifem it's different but not worse in fact I love it more these days!

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  2. Agree with every perfectly spelled word.

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  3. I retired at age 50 last year. Best thing ever after spending several years juggling full time work with raising 3 children. Sometimes it was too stressful for words ( hubby was also very good though). I do a tiny bit of work from home now, as and when I feel like it, on a self employed basis. Life's much less pressured and hectic. I thank my lucky stars every day!

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  4. Retirement has been the best thing I have ever done! All the projects I have dreamed of I can do now...sewing, taking a knitting class, or sitting if I feel like it. I gave my all for 45 years and retired four years ago....I have never looked back!

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  5. I loved my job, and wondered whether I was doing the right thing when I took early retirement.
    Within three days I knew I'd made the best move imaginable!
    I had a huge list of things I wanted to do, but didn't have time when I was working, now I'm working my way through the list and enjoying every moment of doing so.
    Money's not as abundant as when I was working, but quite frankly, I don't care, I'm just having far too much fun!

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  6. Great post Ilona!
    I am retired and every day is full and busy, never enough time in the day to do all I wish to do.
    I agree so much with you that folks make their own lives. No one will do it for you, you have to get out there and give every opportunity a try. You never know what is in store, sometimes great, sometimes not so good. At least you tried.
    I do enjoy reading you posts, always interesting and down to earth.
    Thanks a bunch,
    Pam in Texas.xx

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  7. The dramatic stories in the article seem to be those of women forcibly retired at a very young age, and that must make a difference in reaction to it. And for some of them it coincided with death or divorce. No wonder it was a trauma -- retirement was only one thing that happened to them.

    Anyone who retires on schedule and with a pension has a very different take.

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  8. I just interviewed for a job at my church, and I feel that the two days it requires will be really great for me....serving my church and being with some wonderful folks.

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  9. I am easing into retirement in stages (from 50 hrs a week to 26 hrs in January to 15 hrs in September) now at 66. I always worked a lot and was my mother's primary caregiver. She was totally dependent on me and wanted me to quit work to be with her but we couldn't afford it. She died 3 months before I finally qualified for my full Social Security (After 43 years of work, I have no other pension).
    I have spent the last year cleaning out this big, old house and preparing to move to an apartment. I'm caught between guilt and the sense that I'm throwing away my mother's life (and mine!) and excitement at the new life ahead of me. I'm on the waiting list for an apartment in a safer community where I will be able to get out and walk. I have contacts, friends and relatives in the new area. I have been struggling a bit with down days but I have a long list of things I want to do. There are so many things I've never had the time to try, to learn, to do. Oh, my friend, I may only have just enough money but I will have mad skills!

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  10. I love my retirement although I did go through a phase of missing the routines of working. Now my routine is basically to do what the day inspires me to do. I am not lonely, indeed at times I shut myself away to enjoy the solitude. A good post Ilona, as usual.

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  11. Again, a wonderful and sensible post. What an inspiring woman you are! JanF

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  12. My mother loves her retirement. She worked hard all her life, often in jobs she didn't really care about much but did it with enthusiasm anyway, going above and beyond what was required of her. She retired bang on the age on the age of 60. She volunteers for various things (all of which she can say 'no thank you' if she decides it's not for her), she has made a few new friends and spends more time with old ones. She takes extra holidays with friends and family - she hasn't a lot of money but she saves and budgets for this. She goes to keep fit once a week, she has a day out with her grandchildren once a week, she can spend all day doing her crafts - just because she can. It is all about attitude. Debbie

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  13. Nowadays we have to work until we are 66 , As i am 55 thats another eleven years , Health issues meant some time ago i had to slow down from working full time to becoming self employed part time , Without wishing my life awayi am so much looking to retiring being able to have time to do some hobbies that i have been putting of The trouble is most people retiring think that all you have to do is sit and watch telly and shop , I kow people that do and i always say to my husband health permitting i wont do that xxx

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  14. Almost 65 - I was made redundant at 55 great - took time away and cycled the North Sea Cycle route. I was fortunate to be able to then become self employed as a chiropodist and I have continued on. I charge reasonable , affordable prices and love my patients- even the grumpy ones. I intend to take a bit more time off to cycle camp more next year. As you say, none of us know how much time we have but when I see the very elderly just waiting to pop their clogs and confined to home, I realise how important it is for me to get as much out of life as possible. Besides, they love to hear about my adventures. it is great to be alive.

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  15. Who cares about typo's Ilona? You just write it as it is. I spent 6 years on my own alone before I met my wonderful Other Half. Yes I was alone, but like you I never felt lonely. I was still working, albeit part-time and relief work, but there was always something going on and I made sure of it and was very happy going each day into my only little 'home' which always welcomed me. I met OH when I was 66 and he was 69 and I only stopped working then. We are now always occupied. In fact out last night winning our latest short mat bowls match. He goes out with the walking group and I go to reading group and quilting group. We are sometimes very glad of a rest!! Certainly no time to get downhearted. We'll go when our times comes! Ann x

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  16. I feel very sorry for the women in this article who didn't seem to have a life outside work. Others had retirement forced upon them or mutiple stressors at the same time. I certainly don't want to wish my life away but look forward to being free of the tyranny of the alarm clock and more time for the things/people I love. Kristel

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  17. I really enjoyed reading your post today. Having a hobby certainly helps me from getting bored. I am back into my sewing now and there is always something to make; for family, friends, gifts for Christmas etc. A lot of my time I am alone, but not lonely and I enjoy my own company. I wonder what tomorrow will bring :)

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  18. Hi.Time has been marching on from the day we are born,so no point having existential angst about it...I spent enough time doing that in my adolescence!I think the women interviewed defined themselves by their occupations and have yet to discover their own true selves.When they do and come into a place of acceptance they may experience their retirement as happier contented people.I think it's up to each individual to make the most or least of their remaining time here.Finding and getting the right balance for yourself is a good thing.I know many who are so fraught with all their clubs,volunteering,family obligations etc.that they are spinning and complaining about their busy lives.Retirement isn't what they thought it would be and they are busier now than when they were working.Others are the opposite and are bored,uninspired unproductive and feeling the blues. Exasperating!Personally I'm in the middle and still don't know what I want to be when I grow up....too much to choose from.Very good read today,Ilona,thank you.Bye for now.

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  19. I worked hard for others for many years and now I'm retired I'm working hard for myself, pursuing my hobbies and loving life. When I retired I didn't look back, I looked forward.
    xx

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  20. You are lucky you got to retire at 60. You are right, most people would not find work at 59 so think of all those people who have to stay 'unemployed' for years now that the retirement age has gone up. I will retire at 67 which I think is hideously late for a lot of people (indeed too late for some) but how many people of retirement age will be lucky enough to be working when they retire? Its ridiculous. If you have work and don't want to give it up until you have to, then fair enough, but don't blame people of a certain age for not being employable. Oh well, that mess is for the future but I'm sure it will prove problematic. It's just a cheaper option paying job seeker's allowance rather than pensions. Completely different life-style and expectations though. Lots of unpleasant hoops for mature people having to be job searchers to jump through that pensioners don't have and really not very nice at the end of your working life.

    I have a way to go until retirement. I am lucky though that I have retired friends. They are happy, well and love to fill up their time with the things they like to do. They are very inspiring. None of them are married, which I think makes them more tenacious and independent. They have friends and busy lives. They have joined choirs, help run voluntary drop ins, have parties, draw and paint at art clubs, garden, meet their friends for lunch, go off to the seaside for the day, sit on various community committees and well the list is endless.

    They have always fallen back on their own devices, never having being married. I think this makes it easier for them in some ways regarding fending for themselves. The downside of course is that they have never had the soft place to fall with someone else cushioning them in times of need. Anyway, I am very glad to know them because they make me realise that getting older can actually be quite fun in more than a few ways.

    The women in the article were not younger retirees, so they must have known it was coming. It just shows their lack of receptiveness to anything new and how they have no imaginations to live and order their own lives. I didn't like how someone referred to the elderly as old dears either. They should be counting their blessings for what they have had, and what they will be able to go on having and doing if only they would stop feeling sorry for themselves.

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  21. Interestingly I had a conversation last night with a friend, the same age as me (61) who is slogging along in a job she hates but is afraid of retirement as (1) she may not have enough money to buy alcohol, (b) she might have to spend more time with her husband! I'm semi-retired (small occupational pension, and looking for PT work while I currently volunteer in a charity shop),and I've never been so happy as I now have the freedom to organise my time exactly as I want to. I'm never bored as I have so many things to do, including gardening, walking and working my way through the local library's history section (all free). And volunteer has provided new experiences, new friends and a vital feeling of being useful. As long as there's money for food and to pay the bills we shall be OK, as life is now a wonderful opportunity rather than a work-filled chore. A great post, Ilona, full of common sense, as usual x

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    1. Oh my goodness, what a said situation for your friend to be in but I for one understand it completely. If my other half hadn't left I would have been that woman. I would have done ANYTHING not to spend time with him. I hope it works out for your friend. I don't think I have been this happy since before I got married (which I guess says a lot about my marriage), but life on my own, nearing retirement is wonderful. I am probably going to retire in 5 years so am busy building my life more and more around my local community rather than work colleagues. I hope your friend can find happiness. Anna

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  22. I have just over three years to go to 60 and my retirement - I like my job but I can't wait! I've so many hobbies I can only brush the surface of at the moment, I can't understand how anyone can ever be bored. :) XX

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  23. Just goes to show how some humans are total creatures of habit. Going to work day in day out can soon turn into a very comfortable and comforting habit. Habits are hard to brake for some folk and that`s when retirement can seem a nightmare scenario to them. Well, I`m not that much a creature of habits that retirement frightens me. Just like you I can envisage retirement being the biggest ME-TIME ever, and I can actually not wait to get there. According to the government statistics I have another 16 years of drudgery in the work environment to endure. Just hope that this time flies by and I`m still in reasonable health to enjoy it when the final work day has been reached. People often say:
    'you will not know what to do with yourself once you retire.' Wrong! I do know exactly what I`d like to do when I`m finally free to enjoy life. I`d like to go for cycle outings, go rambling and take loads of pictures to blog about. I`d like to grow old disgracefully, enjoying every day of freedom as long as possible.
    Ilona, I think you have hit the nail on the head with your post today. We should all make a wish list, a to-do list, a bucket list of adventures to experience before we pop our clogs. And that`s exactly what I shall look forward to.

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  24. Wonderful post Ilona! I was 'eased' into early retirement through sickness, so the shock of leaving full time, quite stressful work was not difficult. As my health started to improve I was adjusting to not having to go to work every day. I'm not completely recovered, but sufficiently to realise the sheer joy of having time to pursue my interests. Agree with those people who wonder how they ever had time to go to work! Onwards and upwards for us retirees! Kitty in the Forest

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  25. Love your attitude, Ilona. Go you!

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  26. As far as correcting you typing, it's probably faster to just type away and use spell check after the post is finished. Then a quick re-read for any "oopsies."
    Thanks for all you share.

    QueenVictoria

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  27. Nice one Ilona. Retirement, as with any other financial change in one's life just means cutting your cloth accordingly. Unfortunately there will always be folks whose glass is only half full.Some people can always find something to moan about. If you don't have a positive outlook you will be unhappy anyway.
    By the way I do all of things you mentioned in your first paragraph, too. ( it's our age lol.)

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  28. Yay ! Ilona, I've been quietly reading your blog but just have to tell you I love today's post ! Thanks for your wise words ! AussieCheryl : )

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  29. I have so enjoyed your post. Made redundant once at 50 and once again at 59 I had six months forced "unemployment" before securing a job with a government department. This will see me till retirement in 4 years time and if I so decide I can continue for a year or two after that. I have saved hard over my working life and with care will be able to enjoy my retirement life - hopefully with hobbies, voluntary work and church activities. But what I AM looking forward to is the trip to the UK I have been planning for since age 13! I have all the money saved in a high-interest account and am currently thinking about itineraries and debating whether to travel first class as I saved for or travel business class and use the money for something else. One thing that is non-negotiable is that I will leave one month after I retire. I promised myself that so will suit my retirement date to the season of the year I want to travel. So England, Scotland and Wales here I come - in around 5 or 6 years!

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  30. What an excellent blog. I retired at 60 after being a postman for 20yrs (leg injury). Never regretted it. Now it is dog walking and I have also been a leader with the Scout Association for 41 yrs. Visit museums, art galleries, use your bus pass. Not enough hours in the day.

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  31. I was made redundant twice from about 55 and each time found jobs but when the time came for my company to ask for voluntary redundancies I was in there, as I would have had to retire in 3 months anyway. I've got lots of commitments nowadays some necessary (my mum) and others up to me but don't miss working at all.

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  32. Well said. I read that article, too. I do understand that some people get their confidence and identity from work and don't want to stop, but feeling bereft for years afterwards seems odd.

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  33. I agree with what you write in this post, well said! I am retired, planned ahead, and love being retired. I smile and say I do not know how I ever found the time to work. I am so busy doing what I choose to do, what a privilege.

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