Four years ago on that day when I was dressing up to go to the college, my work place for one last time; I could feel tightening in my stomach. I had a weird sinking feeling as I bid adieu to the institution where I spent more than three-and-a half decades of my life in a profession that I loved.
After the D-day, the prefix ‘retired’ became a reality, though not palatable. It was not easy to deal with the upheaval in life- no monthly salary, loss of position and change in routine. All dressed up but nowhere to go became a norm. Suddenly, there was plenty of time in hand, but didn’t know what to do with it. I was totally confused and dazed missing the hustle and bustle of the college, the staff room banter, my classes, and my students. I realized that not just my books, but also saris, my prized possession collected so lovingly over the years had become worthless.
For a couple of months, I was bewildered, but then began the period of reconciliation with the new reality. Of course, applying brakes to fast pace life was not easy but I made conscious effort to shift from high speed to slow motion. With no urgency to rush, I started doing things at my own time and pace. Like air that fills the available space, I tried to reschedule my activities to fill the time at my disposal. There was a time when my husband would get irritated to see me rushing in the morning and would remark, “It seems there is fire and you are rushing to douse it.” But now no ‘fire’, no hurry, no worry, I began to enjoy relaxed mornings with a cup of tea and newspaper in my hand.
At a time when I was learning to cope with the change, the pandemic hit hastening the process of adjustment. Whatever urge I had to go out was compulsorily put to rest by Covid restrictions. Staying at home became a habit. But one routine that I followed religiously is my evening walk to the neighbourhood park which has helped me maintain my physical and mental well-being. I engage myself in pursuits and hobbies that keep me pepped up and happy.
Covid has drastically changed everyone’s life but I am thankful my life hasn’t changed much as retiree, neither my finances nor my way of living. When I look around, I find distress everywhere. Business is down. Working class is haunted by job loss and salary cut. With ‘work from home’, office has intruded into people’s home upsetting their life style. I feel sad to see small children pinned down in front of the screen for their classes. When they should be attending school, playing out with their peers, they are confined within the four walls of their homes. For the youngsters the excitement of college life has been replaced by the monotony of online lectures. Those at the threshold of careers face uncertainty. As I compare myself to others, I realize how much better placed I am.
Covid has taught me to count my blessing, and be grateful to the Almighty for His mercies. Whatever retirement blues I had four years ago are totally gone. Now, I am completely at ease with the retired and relaxed phase of life and I love it.
(Published as MIDDLE in The Tribune on 20 September)
If you wish to read what my feeling was when I superannuated ,’Retied but not Tired’ . https://lifespice.blog/2017/11/16/retired-but-not-tired/