It has taken me longer than I intended to make this post. If you can cast your mind back to the end of August I published the first of two planned pieces on research into our attitudes towards retirement which had been carried out by the Skipton Building Society. And in case you can’t, or you somehow managed to miss it (!), you can find the post at It’s The End Of The World As We Know It……. and the Skipton Research by clicking this link – you’ll need to scroll down the page a bit.
In that post I looked at the negative aspects of our view of retirement, and promised to complete the two-parter with the positives. And here I am!
As I said previously, the research was roughly 2:1 in favour of positive thoughts about retirement. In total, there were 13 positive words and phrases, which were:
Carefree, Relaxing, Holidays, Family Time, Golden years, Stress-free, Exciting, Fun, Wonderful, Quiet, One long holiday, Adventurous, Idyllic
You’ll be delighted to know that I don’t intend to work through these one by one. as they tend to overlap and form one overall picture. In short, if you’ve done your planning and are prepared for retirement, it is this:
Alright, it may not be all about football (though that does feature a lot in my life!) but if you listen to the words they talk about taking the chance to enjoy yourself when it comes along. If that isn’t at retirement then I don’t know when it could be! If football isn’t your thing – and yes, American readers, I’m sorry but that really IS football! – then maybe this will sum up for you what people said in the survey:
There are so many versions of that song, which conveys the ‘let’s have fun’ approach that so many think of when they consider retirement. I love this version, though I’ve never understood why Mr Porter was wearing a wetsuit underneath his clothes. Anyone know why?
By now you’ll probably have gathered that I agree with those who said all those good words about what retirement can mean. I’ve had just over a year and have loved every minute of it so far. Well, maybe not the penalty shootout at Wembley in May, but everything else. I did my planning and preparation and, whilst I have to keep to a budget and avoid any wild spending sprees, I have enough to live on and can enjoy my retirement. I know I was lucky enough to stumble into employment with a good pension scheme, but as I’ve said before I invested a lot in it and feel that I’ve earned some time enjoying myself. I can recommend it! There are some minor downsides though: as I get older I do tend to forget things, and often have to check what day of the week it is, for example – but at least I can always tell when it is the weekend: the newspapers are much heavier and there’s footy on the telly all afternoon!
Someone once described the retired person’s week as comprising 6 Saturdays and a Sunday, which I think sums it up rather well. Looking back at the survey results, I do feel carefree and relaxed just about all of the time. I can balance the quieter times at home on my own with forays into the big wide world – family, friends, our local town centre, London, Leyton Orient, music, theatre etc. I’ve got myself a decent camera for the first time in my life and am learning how to use it and to take ‘proper’ photographs for a change, rather than the snaps I have so far managed on my iPhone. If you’re really lucky I may share some with you one day – unless you pay me large amounts of money not to! I’ve just signed up for an online course to learn how to develop apps for iPhones and iPads (other tech brands are available – but you’d prefer the best, right?). I’m going to learn to play a musical instrument. I’m planning to write more, not just on here but other kinds of writing too – though that is some way off, I’ll admit. And no doubt I’ll come up with other ways to occupy my time in a way I enjoy. That, to me, is the essence of retirement: the ability to choose what I want to do and when, and to give it up if I don’t like it.
One of the words that came up in the survey surprised me a little: Adventurous. I’ve never thought of myself as being the adventurous type, and after 61 years of mundane normality I think it unlikely I’ll change now. Unless, of course, you count my having made a booking for Butlins. In Skegness. In December. For those who don’t know Skeggy – which I guess is anyone outside the UK – it is one of the old style English seaside towns, whose main claim to fame is that it had one of the first Butlins holiday camps when they started in the 1950s. It doesn’t enjoy quite the same cachet as, say, St Tropez, Bondi Beach or Malibu. Its reputation is more like the Jeremy Kyle Show on holiday – or Jerry Springer, if that means more to you. To be fair, I’ve only been there once before, for work reasons. It was in August, in the British summer – allegedly. Even with my extremely low centre of gravity I was almost blown away in the gentle breezes that crash in off the North Sea! Not quite Hurricane Gonzalo, more like Windy Wilfred, but it certainly lived up to its reputation as being ‘bracing.’ I’m not going for a seaside holiday though – they run a number of themed music weekends throughout the year, and I’ve booked on one of those. Again, if you behave yourselves, I’ll tell you more after I’ve been.
Until then I’ll continue to enjoy my retirement and hope that you do too, if you are already in that fortuitous situation. If not, enjoy whatever life brings you. Hi-De-Hi!