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RETIREMENT - FOR BETTER OR WORSE BUT NOT FOR LUNCH
TRAINING IN NEW SKILLS?
CAN'T BE HAPPENING?
'I'm confused - lately (and it is not because of my age) it is about my age. Why do people keep asking me 'when are you going to retire?' I had not given it a thought except when the odd friend dropped off the radar and dissapeared into the sunset in a camper van.
'That would be nice' - I thought, then thought again. Do I really want to travel the country in a camper van or towing a trailer to the next little town. And what about 'him'? Am I ready to spend every day and night up close and personal with my dearly beloved?
I am convinced that the only reason the relationship has lasted 44 years is that we live different lives during the day and much of the weekend. Gathering together to turn up at family functions in between the shopping mall and the mowing and gardening or a beer with a mate and my endless determination to write. Hunched over the keyboard - eyes fixed on the screen, what was that word? it is easier to change it - something simpler that we all understand. Keep it stupid simple?
'You can take the lap top' I can hear him now. 'No it's not the same, too many distractions.'
The problem is, that it's my escape, my solitude. I can't write with bored polite enquisitivness disturbing my thoughts. 'What are you writing?' they don't really want to know, just being polite. 'Read it' I mutter pushing a chapter under their nose. 'Oh no, I could never read your personal work,' 'What do you want then, a synopsis?,' I'm getting snappy by now.
'Whats for lunch?' a light shoulder massage. 'God, we've just had breakfast.' 'Just asking.' A hurtful response. Why am I such a bitch? They wont read my book, in the end they will burn me at the stake.
SCREAMING HEEBIE JEEBIES
Back to the retirement / relationship issue - hubby would love to 'potter around' and make the odd barbeque, even drive the camper van accross Australia. That would mean, breakfast, lunch & dinner. Not excluding morning and afternoon tea and sundown happy hour (or two). I am starting to scream (perhaps both of us are by now). Dont get me wrong - I love him dearly and we get on really well - most of the time. Fellow retired campers will form freindships along the way and we can meet them at the local bowling club in each little town. Lovely people, they all are, but I can feel a panic attack coming on.
The men will talk sport (the same stories everynight) and the women will talk children and grand-children. I will probably get a little drunk occasionaly and embarrass dear hubby (well, we are starting earlier these days with nothing else to do). Who would not say a word about it the next day - just a wink and a glance of caution to take it easy when passed a drink the following night, while the little women give each other knowing looks they think I can't see. 'She drinks Vodka you know,' while they guzzle cheap white wine out of casks and degrading every woman they know. Rusty folding chairs and cracked plastic tables unsteadily placed on a river bank. 'Bloody mozzies.'
I can talk children and grand-children - with 3 daughters, 1 son, 4 grand-daughters, 5 grand-sons and 1 great grandson all ranging between 26 and 5 years. Nobody really wants to know, polite interest, pass the photos. Make no mistake I love all of mine with a passion and pour over the latest news / Facebook and emailed photos like any nanna should. 3 kids from my first marriage - widowed at 28. Lots to talk about, don't bring out the albums again for Gods sake. Moving on.
THE WINTER OF MY LIFE
WHO MADE THE RULES?
Granted I prefer not 'working for the man' and love to be able to spend time doing the things that I love to do. But retire? I can't even contemplate such a thing. What does 'retire' mean? that I no longer get paid a wage? I have too much to do - just need the time. I once said to a friend ' I am too busy to go to work.' And I wasn't talking about housework.
Ronold Reagan was 71 years old I believe when he ceame President. At 72 I have not started my career path yet. Jokes aside, I feel the same now as I did 20 years ago - inside that is, the outside may not be the same, but what the heck, I have had fun. The music has changed - Rod Steward singing romantic ballads in the background. 'If youre wandering what I'm demanding in return dear? you'l be glad to know that my demands are small' perhaps not?
WHAT DO I REALLY REALLY WANT?
IT IS NOT ABOUT MONEY
Yes, I can hear you now - what a snob, camping not good enough for her? Hope she has plenty of cash stashed away somewhere. Life is not about luxury or hard times, it is what makes your bubbles burst. There are occasions when 'roughing it' is exactly what you need and other times pampering is what you need (well me anyway). Both in moderation and niether for all time. That is what I am trying to get at - I can not draw a line in the sand and say 'that is it, it is over, this is how it is going to be from now on'.
My time to make this decision is very close - too close for comfort. But it is not over until the fat lady sings and I aint singing yet. Grow old gracefully I hear all over the place, why the hell should I? I am not going to lie down and wait for the dark angels to descend on me. I am going to grow old doing exactly what I want to do - graceful or not.
What I really want to do is all of the above - some time travelling Australia in a camper. Some time in a little luxury and sometimes roughing it with family and sometimes doing silly things like eating in the ocean. But most of all I want to write - get a little drunk occasionally and cuddle up with hubby. Glad to hear that my demands are small?