Retirement is not a bolt from the blue. You know the exact date when you are going to retire and hence have all the time to prepare yourself for the D-Day. Yet, when the time comes it is not easy.
There is no denying the fact that retirement brings a sort of upheaval in life – stoppage of the monthly salary; loss of position and also your routine. At a time when you are struggling with ‘empty nest syndrome’, superannuation hits you like a double whammy. For a working woman you had no time for yourself, juggled between home and work trying to strike a balance between the two, and after retirement you have all the time. The sudden change in gear –from a ‘hectic schedule’ to a ‘laid back routine’ can initially be difficult to handle. Also, with superannuation comes the ‘senior citizen tag’, not very flattering. All these years you may have been able to camouflage the tell tale signs of ageing but retirement bares it all, making it to be a public proclamation of your age. Everyone must accept that old age is a reality but definitely not a pleasing actuality.
With the improvement in the longevity and quality of life, sixty is being called the new age forty. Seems unjust that you are expected to press the ‘pause button’ and go into ‘slow mode’ when you are robust enough to work. But I will be selfish if I plead a case for increasing the retirement age. I am well aware of the fact that if I hang around in the job for a longer period, it will be at the cost of younger generation desperately looking for jobs. Their need for jobs is definitely more than mine.
Ever since I acquired ‘just retired’ status a couple of months ago; I have been flooded with advice from my well wishers, friends and relatives on how best to spend the retired life. A well meaning retired neighbour suggested, “Go slow. Don’t be in a hurry to finish your task.” When all through your life you have been rushing, suddenly doing the things at leisure pace doesn’t seem easy. “Vyasth raho(Be busy), Mast raho ( be happy )” is another piece of advice coming from an experienced colleague. Her mantra for a happy and healthy retired life is activity-to keep oneself busy and occupied. From a myriad of suggestions pouring in from different quarters, I have to decide what makes me happy – an active life or a laid back life style.
As I chalk out a post-retirement schedule for myself, the news of Amitabh Bachchan turning 75 and still going strong drives my retirement blues away. With redoubled energy, I look for post retirement activities and engagements to keep myself fruitfully busy. After all, I am retired but not tired.
Published in Hindustan Times Spice of life column) on Nov. 16, 2017
It has been four years since I retired . To know what I feel now , you may read the post. ://lifespice.blog/2021/09/21/easing-into-a-life-of-retirement/