A change in life (retirement)

Blog post, September 13 2017 (originally written for a Unique Publications newsletter)

Moving out from the office in The Old Clinic

The truth is I’ve always been in denial about getting older. I went jogging round Glastonbury Tor every morning and wouldn’t stop till my knees hurt. I think my teeth look good and I don’t like to mention that they’re plastic, made in a dental laboratory in Wells. And I regard the expansion in my wasteline, compared to what it was until ten or twenty years ago, as strictly temporary. But now a new kind of change is fast approaching: I am shortly to be drawing my old age pension.

This is quite different. This means freedom. It means I no longer feel that I have to go out to work, that I have to give my time and attention to whoever might be able to pay me. My time is now officially my own. This is something to celebrate, not to deny.

Not that I intend to stop working – just to stop doing what I don’t enjoy. So I have closed down my office in town and moved my working life to integrate it with my home. I am no longer available to the public, only to people who I would like to invite in. I can go off and do some shopping, or take a walk in the sunshine, if that seems like the best thing to do just now. I can have a snooze after lunch (or I can follow the creative urge and work till midnight). It suddently seems much easier just to be me.

When I reached 60 I decided that I must take my writing more seriously. It is, after all, the only ambition I’ve ever had – to be a writer. Five years on and I have done quite well: I have published five books, locally, and in different ways they have all been well received. I can call myself a writer – not just a ‘provider of office services’ with writing done only on slack afternoons or when the photocopier has broken down.

It was a struggle getting everything home, including the photocopier and the office furniture, up the narrow stairs and into what used to be the front bedroom. Besides the bulky items there were boxes and boxes of paper, books, stationery, files, a laminating machine, a spiral binder, and endless assorted other bits and pieces. They filled the living room and took four days to get sorted out.

It’s all here now though, and I’m enjoying the result. My desk is beside the window and the cat is curled up behind the computer, in the sunshine. The time has now arrived for me to make the most of my good fortune and to start reaching out more to the wider world.

My new office at home in Chilkwell Street