Many can’t wait and get out at age fifty five. Others fear the day it arrives but have to go. And some just go on ‘n’ on and work till they drop. I suppose retirement, like many things, is a question of taste?

You’ll have all the time in the world to do what you like. You can go on a cruise and slip away for long weekends, or just go for a long drive in Spain.’ We hear the enlightened voices tell us as if they’ve just discovered sliced bread. Well, there is some truth in those helpful recommendations I’m sure, but much of that can be done whilst you’re still in employment. Other advisors will inform, ‘You can take up your favourite hobbies in earnest now and get on with the little jobs around the home you’ve always wanted to do, but could never find the time in which to do them. Oh! And spend more time reading.’ Thank you very much once again, but I don’t have any hobbies, I’m far from a deft hand at DIY and, although I enjoy reading, I’m not a book worm… and before I forget, I don’t like driving! So there are still six or eight daylight hours that need filling. Any other bright and perhaps novel suggestions?

All of the above offers have provoked a lot of negative responses granted, and it really is silly to fob off all of those suggestions. They are all pretty reasonable and noteworthy. It was just me responding to my situation and the fact I could really have continued in my chosen profession, full time, for longer. I can see that many individuals are justified in claiming that they’ve done their bit in the workplace and are perhaps overdue for a permanent rest from their job. Yes, there is plenty to do in retirement if you really want to get involved and, as far as income is concerned in Gib by and large, you’re well looked after. In most cases pension wise, there’s enough to retire on. The list of things you can do to keep you occupied is pretty long; number one has to be looking after grand children. That activity in some families can eat up many hours of the day. Nowadays, there are mortgages to look after so both mum and dad have to work. You’ve noticed the many flag days we have, so that’s something else that you could get involved in – charity work – there are scores of associations and other groups and one of them may have a direct or an indirect link to something that may have an effect on you or someone close to you. Keep fit, swimming, going for walks, now you have the time! JMH library, ballroom dancing, Winston’s coach tours, petanque and of course coffee and a chat at one of the senior citizens clubs, or just one with friends in one of the many cafes down town. In my case, I continued with some TV and radio work, I still do the school run, do the coffee business, read a little more than I used to, and write for local magazines which I enjoy. But still, I find there’s a handful of hours a week that need filling. More time on your hands gives you more time to think. In some cases you may start thinking about retirement being your last stretch with those twilight years quietly beckoning from the wings. After all, retirement more often than not is to do with getting old, or at least older, is it not? Oh yes, the stage looks bare and maybe your becoming redundant in terms of `good company.’ People like you are `getting on,’ don’t forget. Yes, the young and beautiful have taken over. Look, my face is changing, wrinkles abound, and my hair is thinning, but not my midriff. I’m reminded by that dreaded looking glass every morning. Am I looking older than I really am or is all of this just vanity? These are some of the more subconscious thoughts that may, as per the song, travel through the canyons of your mind, hidden away but coming to the fore from time to time to remind you you’re not forty something anymore… Gosh, even forty nine would be nice!

Maybe all of this drama about retirement and getting old may only be an issue for a minority. I wonder if they fall into that category, especially those who may have had some sort of high profile job. ‘Am I looked upon in the same way? Are people keen to stop and talk to me anymore? Is anyone interested in anything I have to say?’. Even family members like your older children – are they beginning to treat you like the senior member who is now meant to be confined to sitting in a corner somewhere, not saying very much about anything and what you do have to say, not being of much interest to anyone? It all sounds a bit morbid doesn’t it? But we’ve all been aware of that scenario with the elderly in any family have we not? So when you retire at sixty or sixty five, look out and be aware – that state of affairs approaches, my friend!

I’m sure that many reading this article feel this is a very negative and possibly strange view of retirement and that there’s much to look forward to and enjoy when those working days are over. You are probably right. I’m just going on a few hundred words trip of the kind of thoughts that would have been alien or unfamiliar to one’s mind just a handful of years ago during the tenure of one’s employment. It’s not to say that you think of nothing else, but there are moments when, during retirement especially, you have (albeit fleeting) reflections of what’s to come. Trust flippant me to come up with it in this fashion! I am one such retiree of the kind who enjoyed work – and I wouldn’t even call it that – going to work was never a task, I took pleasure in it.

The retirement positives for me are yes, free time and not being restricted or tied to aspects of a job which perhaps, as you move on in a career, may not suit you anymore. So that change is welcome. The opportunity to move on to other facets of life or creative pursuits you may want to take up. Definitely travel – although there’s not a bottomless pit of cash to take off every time it takes your fancy. Family get-togethers joining friends for a meal and a chat, and enjoy a little nostalgia, reminiscing about the past and frequenting the areas where you used to live and hang out.

So I guess we can call it ‘horses for courses’. Each individual will get into their own thing and deal with retirement in the way which suits them best. So remember, if you’re still relatively young and beautiful, enjoy, enjoy, and enjoy some more. You know the saying, ‘time flies’? Well, it’s true. And there’s no need to ‘long’ for retirement… It’ll just turn up!