Today marks two years since my final day at work. Hard to believe, it seems so long ago and no, I still wouldn't go back. Retirement is brilliant; it's like recovering all that time you had in your teenage years but never appreciated with the added benefit now of knowledge, wisdom and no summer exams to spoil it.
Our plans are pretty much intact, save that weather and hospital appointments have to date impeded the intention to complete a circumnavigation of the British Isles and we may have to rethink exactly how sailing fits into retirement. We've both suffered from separate shoulder issues which, although now on the mend, have limited our respective abilities to pull ropes and wind winches. So that is an area that certainly requires more consideration in the next few months.
Further and whilst I still want to take that Interior Design Course, it has taken a back seat to enjoying all those bits of living that are in short supply when you are working. I have instead been concentrating on rediscovering my creative side with a camera and as a frequent visitor to art exhibitions and am now exploring the scope for extending photography as a hobby. The trouble with retirement is there are just so many things you can do, it can be hard to choose.
The last two years have however certainly given me the opportunity to work on my fitness levels, lose weight and experience various diverse classes (this morning I tried Zumba) making new friends in the process and more luncheon buddies.
The house and garden are beginning to undergo changes too, slowly and steadily although hopefully gathering apace.
Whilst, however, I might have dreamed about living a more Bohemian lifestyle, the truth is that conventionality and pedantry have been part of my essence for so long that I have realised I must accept them for what they are. Playing to my strengths, I am therefore using those almost innate legal skills to fulfil the role of Parish Clerk as well as a trustee of a local charity. In the meantime a relaxed attitude and better well-being allow the opportunity to chip at the edges, live in the here and now, becoming much more involved in and appreciative of the world around us.
We are conscious of the need to continue to plan retirement in order to derive maximum benefit from it. We have however been shocked to realise that the adage that sixty is the new forty isn't quite true and that there is something called the ageing process which means for instance that even though Mister E still goes on 50 mile cycle rides, he takes longer to recover after them than he might have done 20 years earlier. Conscious of the signs of degeneration, we are anxious to squeeze as much as possible into the early years of retirement.
Save for the Interior Design course and the specific sailing voyage, we are very much enjoying retirement by doing what we feel we set out to do. Our other plans were I admit a little more vague and aesthetic and perhaps, therefore, easier to feel our way with. Now, however, after two years it is the right time, as I concluded a few days ago, for us to start to plan anew and more precisely for what we want to achieve over the next five years. Whatever you make of retirement, it shouldn't be an end in itself and you definitely don't have to be young or working to have ambition.