The recent arrival of my pension documents through the post were a bit of a shock. Retirement, is becoming real. It was, in my thirties, a far off myth, a bit like Avalon or Narnia. In middle age it became the subject of daydreams, where we would wander off, hand in hand, into some fuzzy place where we would do things we had been putting off. Later, it became a place of dread, as my delinquency in failing to make proper pension arrangements came home to roost. Finally, the time has arrived.
We now have to start putting plans into action, and make some decisions. At one time I would have had no problem with this – I would simply have set a date and done it. Theoretically it’s easier than when i was younger, as there will be no employment to work round when retirement comes.
In practice, there’s a lot of physical and mental clutter to work round. It’s time to declutter on an epic scale, and face the fear about what I will do when i have no job to add form to my life. I also have to face the fact that a lot of my plans aren’t going to happen. I won’t be walking miles across salt marsh looking for Bitterns, and I won’t be writing any best-sellers in a late-blooming writing career, because I’ll be watching Countdown. I may be old, but I’m not senile, and can see the writing on the wall (which is what Countdown is all about). . No matter what I may wish, the habit is set (as discussed in my last post) and despite all my good intention I am likely to go to the grave with the song still in me.
Unfortunately for the construction of this post, Thoreau actually said that most men lead lives of quiet desperation. The good bit, the bit about going to the grave with the song still in them, is a misquote. Isn’t that always the case?
Quotes are never as good as you remember them being, which is a quality they share with much of my life.