Saturday, 27 March 2010
No longer relatively retiring.
I am now retired.
For a couple of years after my husband's death I vacillated around, back to work, sort-of retired, back to work again. Hence the Relatively Retiring blog-name.
When I was at work I thought how wonderful retirement would be; the freedom, the glorious freedom to do this or that or even nothing; to sleep through the yelling of the alarm clock, not to have a weekly dead-line, not to have appointments and meetings at hourly intervals.
When I was juggling family life with one and sometimes two careers simultaneously I yearned for peace and isolation. I wanted to take a long hot bath all by myself without someone pounding on the door, asking for food, a lift to a friend's house, or provoking an argument about the use of a games machine.
I wanted to concentrate in a meeting without having to think about supper, and without continually glancing at my watch to see how long I was overdue at the child minder's.
I wanted uninterrupted time with my family without being called to the phone about one or both jobs.
Now, I have it.
I have the time, the peace, the freedom, the isolation. I don't need to worry about supper, and I can have a long hot bath all alone whenever I wish. The phone may not ring for a couple of days.
In the having of it there is terrible loss.
I miss my former life; all of it. The noise and anxieties, the frustrations and arguments, the constant need to meet the demands of others.
I miss it, and did not realise that when it went a sense of identity would go with it.
Retirement is not easy, and I have found that you have to work just as hard to stay afloat as ever you did in the work-place and in the all-in wrestling match of family life.
Only now it is a lonely battle, which others do not see.
You do not let others see lest you become a drain, a responsibilty.
You wake in the morning and think, 'Why bother?', and then you put your energies into bothering, being positive, thinking of others, staying afloat.