On July 4th last year I posted this joyous missive announcing that I had – finally – retired from the world of work. The astute amongst you (all of you, naturally!) will observe that this means that I have now been retired for a year – the first of a number of such anniversaries over the next few weeks of events from a year ago.
Last July’s celebratory post included the following observation:
The obvious question – to which I am immediately subjected – is naturally:
“How does it feel to be retired?”
The answer, of course, is that I have no idea. I left work on a Friday. It is the weekend. It could – in fact – be any weekend, except that I don’ t have to go to work next Monday.
Well – it is high time that I took another crack the question – so here goes…
The short answer is:
“It feels great!”
… followed rapidly by:
“Every day feels like Saturday!
(This is not entirely true, of course, but it is too good a line to waste.)
The longer answer, unfortunately, has a strong whiff of cliché about it and kicks off with:
“You know – looking back now I have no idea how I ever managed to fit a job in as well“
…which has become a cliché because (virtually) every retiree says it (actually – I guess that makes it a truism, but I’m sure you get the point). There is clearly something about the change of pace of life upon retirement that gives one the impression that one is busy, busy, busy – even if one is in reality patently no-where near as occupied as one was before.
Take my case for example. Until this time last year my working week comprised, on average, ten hour days. In addition I would sit in the car on the way to (or from) work for up to four hours a day. The Girl and I contrived still to enjoy a social life (though somewhat wearily at times) – I managed a modicum of creativity and we found time to eat and to sleep (though actually there was not very much sleep, truth be told!).
So how have things changed? Well – I do get to sleep more (hooray!). I also have become a reluctant gardener. We shop considerably more frequently than our erstwhile weekly dash round Waitrose. We do our own cleaning (at least for the moment).
Lest this sound all rather prosaic… I am delighted that I can finally devote serious time to creation – easily spending much of a day in the studio working on something or other. I also have the time to exert considerable amounts of energy on the planning and preparation for our new theatrical adventure. I can read more books and study more, and I am doing more exercise than I have done in many a long year. We get to spend more time with friends and, above all, I can give time to exploring this amazing place and learning how everything ticks.
I think that what I am stumbling towards saying is that the dial of work/life balance has been swung back firmly into equilibrium…
…and it feels good!