152 - Retyred | Scoins.net | DJS

152 - Retyred

I’m getting used to the idea of being retired, at least enough to admit to the state. I noticed that my running club entry on FB indicated university - a long long time ago. I tried to change this to something more representative and I now work at Retired, or, as I keep on typing it, Retried. Pride says I’m an ex-principal, but I recognise that no-one but me wants to know. That is one of the harder aspects of this state; all that went before is suddenly irrelevant. One consequence is a feeling of uselessness, of being discarded.

To counter this, one needs to have objectives, purpose; and it is that with which I am struggling. My brother, who has also retired recently, observed correctly that if one is adequately provided for financially then there is something more than a little wrong with holding a job - one that could be more usefully, in a societal sense, be held by a younger person with (greater) need.

So there is a need for purpose and for objectives; these do not need to be associated with previous work. I recognise I could quite readily have 30 years of this. I am disappointed with myself for having no plan. I find myself with a long list of things I do not want to do  – teaching, for example. I decide that I don’t particularly want any stress but at the same time I know it helps me function. I’m not interested in working for myself. I don’t enjoy gardening or cookery [though I confess I might be persuaded to learn to like them]. I don’t especially enjoy the company of old folk [or do I mean people in general? I’m not a terribly social person and that is perhaps my loss].

I can see a lot of sense in working on having those thirty years and so I see a lot of sense in working on mental and physical health so as to (i) perpetuate that state as long as is feasible while (ii) being in as state to enjoy it. I see little point in any form of vegetative state.

In my case the physical side of that means working on the running, where I’m still competitive (especially in the V60 category). I’m finding some difficulty with motivation, with staying warm and with variety of exercise. I see a strong need for stretching but I’ll readily confess to not enjoying that, so much so that I’ll enjoy the benefits of having stretched by not doing it. So there is a need to establish habits to improve flexibility, to preserve health and to maintain fitness¹. There is probably a need for measures of success – I can’t write about those in one place and ignore them in another. Something to work on as a project, but a few measures occur to me: the age-related performance figures; some body measurements (weight, waistline, resting heart-ate, time to recover); ability to do various stretching tasks (a very limited list still); ability to do a wider variety of physical tasks / challenges, of which hill-walking would be one.

The mental side needs attention too. I’m doing Sudoku every day at speed; I need to explore what similar tasks serve to maintain brain speed. So far I discover that the physical exercise does a lot to maintain the mental. I’m not watching any live tv, finding it surprisingly insulting in the level at which it is dumbed down. I am struggling to (i) find intelligent radio and (ii) to listen to the radio at all. I think I ought to have a newspaper as a stimulation source, but at the same time the daily puzzles are so attractive I can too easily lose half a day (far too much daylight time) enjoying those and no interest at all in reading about current affairs. See essay 153.

So ‘purpose’ starts with looking to improve the state of existence. To what end? Presumably, as above, so as to enjoy ‘retirement’ in a reflexive or even recursive sort of a way. That seems to me to fail in providing purpose but instead to meet criteria of maintenance instead.

Do I detect a parallel to running a race, in this retirement business? Just because one has finished (a race) doesn’t mean i don’t want to run ever again. The same applies to many challenges. Unfortunately, with teaching, I feel the over-run equivalent (the jogging around, the subsequent long run of the weekend) occurred in China. The reasons for leaving teaching in Britain stand, if anything, more strongly; the reasons for getting out of teaching in China are not changed in any way by returning to Britain. There may be a different audience I could teach to, but I think that I simply cannot be bothered to repeat the preparation all over again. I can do it but I don’t want to. I suppose I feel that way about sailing, too. I don’t feel that way about the hills, about running (though the end may be closer than I think); I could go back to fighting with music and at the same time probably I ought not to think I can sing. The test is simple: is it fun. Music doesn’t have to be inflicted on others.

That leaves still the retirement issues of what to do when society has discarded you and why I am apparently so ill-prepared for it. Taking the latter first, that begs a number of excuses, none of which are truly adequate:

    I was at work and no time to think (true, but is that relevant?); it would be truer to say that I always put thinking about myself last; of course I had the time, but I allowed other things to be more important.

    It is my turn to be the trailing spouse so I don’t need to think about that (and since when have I ever suspended responsibility for my own actions?);

    There’s time enough to sort that out later (maybe true, but now I’m having that battle).

On the issue of feeling discarded, it seems very wasteful to do nothing, to contribute nothing and at the same time I am disappointed that there is not a clamouring for the newly retired to go join in with something useful. At which point you say to me “Well, there’s your purpose”, and you may be right.

DJS 20150214

I’ll have a (longer) hunt for others with the same thought.

If you can direct me to something worthwhile, interesting and stimulating, I’m interested. Email  me.

Retired. Tired of work.

Retyred. Waistline growth, especially that stubborn layer of padding at the front middle.

Retried.    Um, perhaps an inability to type, in which case maybe it points to a list of things to go learn to do properly, made more difficult by long-establish (bad) habits. This old dog must learn some new tricks.

Ah, Valentine. The day’s celebration started here in Britain with Chaucer’s circle². Valentine was a Christian martyr, and without Chaucer’s direction we’d be celebrating sacrifice (which we can save for Lent).

1 Issue here for those who don’t see a difference. Fitness is fit-for-purpose health; to me that is measured by heart-rate recovery, by age-related athletic performance. For me, age-related performance lies in the high 70s. Current running issue is that I’ve lost the forays into the 80s since moving from China. Suspicion that this is related to diet, waistline and mass (or the location of mass).

2    Try Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules 1342, a long piece. See wikipedia. See modern text.

... For this was on Saint Valentine’s day, When every fowl comes there his mate to take....

http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/guide-to-opportunities-in-retirement leads to guides to volunteering, becoming a coach/mentor, learning for fun / leisure, leisure pursuits. All in Ulster.

Retirement UK  told me nothing.

Do it I started filling in an application form to teach and realised all over again (i) I don’t want a job (ii) I don’t want to a apply for a job, I want to be persuaded to go contribute (iii) I am only interested in teaching those who really want to learn. Binned application.

John Redwood points out much what I’ve already decided. There are five (four plus null) approaches:

{}     do not retire, the null option

  1. 1.(i)    do chores, watch tv, read the papers, etc - somehow not much of anything.

  2. 2.(ii)    travel as much as the funds will allow

  3. 3.(iii)     do a (new) leisure activity, including self-education, including taking on a role.

  4. 4.(iv)     do surrogate work, including going back to work. Often what they did before or very similar, sometimes charity work

The responses to Redwood’s posting is much more revealing. Many deplore the destruction of their pension funds (me, too) and several point to states (i) or {} as a consequence of that, being unable to afford more. It is clear that several realise (late) they have been assuming good health, that many have found their pensions far from what they expected. And then there’s the grey vote and what it wants...

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