Retirement is so yesterday…

I have retired four times now. Each time I do, I convince myself that it is what I want. It will be wonderful to have no commitments whatsoever. I’ll awake to birdsong and snooze until I feel like getting up. The day will be a blank page. Whatever comes to mind will be the way it unfolds. A spot of reading could be followed by a huge breakfast. The rest of the morning might be devoted to writing. After lunch I’d consider playing the piano or walking on the beach. Coffee with a friend sounds good too. And the carrot cake is really too small to share, so we’ll settle on a slice each. Gym? Yes I suppose I could fit it in before supper and my whisky and soda. After dark, slumping in front of the TV watching terrible re-runs will help me unwind from my busy day. Is nine o’clock too early for bed? Perhaps a second whisky and another movie will do the trick. I’m so lucky. What a life! I deserve it after all. One can’t work forever.

And then the phone rings. Would I be prepared to take just one more student? Only for this year? No, but I can pass you on to someone who still teaches. A colleague asks if I’d just read their thesis. A few suggestions is all they need. Perhaps a light edit, just for glaring errors.  Okay, I’ll give it a go. And no they don’t have to pay me. I’ve got the time. And stepping in for a few weeks, while the permanent teacher is away? The school is just around the corner…

So here I am in February 2019 and I have six students, two colleagues to edit and a permanent slot in a mind blowing workshop, not to mention being part of a committee here in the valley and a fortnightly meet up with amazing writing friends. Am I complaining? Not a chance! Would I rather be retired? No way 🙂

My attempts at retirement are a source of amusement to my daughter. She thinks its a terrible idea anyway. And I am beginning to agree with her. Perhaps the concept is truly old school. Or maybe there are some people who are just not made for it. I suspect that I could be one of them. As a child I was always told I had ants in my pants. That hasn’t changed. It’s not that I don’t have hobbies. I have plenty of them. It’s more that I like to feel useful. If I am lucky enough to be able to help a teenager unlock his or her potential, then why wouldn’t I? I feel honoured to still be asked and while I am, I’ll remain in the saddle.

But if I retired again I could take up horse riding, which has been one of my many lifelong dreams…

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