I’m waiting to take the bus home after my last day of work. Yup, it’s official: I’m now ‘Retired.’ The R word. I shudder.
It’s just so hard to believe, I think to myself, as I look back on the bench, putting a little distance between it and me, seeing my pathetically meagre belongings on it. Forlorn. Is that all there is? An old umbrella. And a plastic bag holding a newspaper, mug, and a worn pair of shoes.
I worked at NDG Senior Citizens’ Council for almost four-and-a-half years – which is pretty much my maximum, over all the jobs I’ve had since I was 16 years old. But this is not just leaving ‘a job.’ No, I’m leaving one identity – Worker – and replacing it with another – Retiree. But somehow I just don’t see myself as a retired senior citizen… even though the facts say that’s what I am.
How did I get here? Let’s see: after I spent the 70s at home with my little ones, and then at school for three years to get a specialized diploma, there followed:
- the Eighties – I worked as a social counsellor in several different social-service milieux.
- the Nineties – I worked as a freelance editor and proofreader for magazines, as well as a script coordinator in the film/TV biz.
- the 2000s to the present – I worked for non-profit charitable and community organizations.
So what do all these very disparate areas of employment have in common? Right: I worked. Whether full time, part time, or crazy-ass-any-time-of-day time (film/TV!) – I was working, I was an earner, I had a ‘day job.’
So what now? Why now? Simple.
I want the time: time for writing, reading, walking, bike-riding, travelling, sleeping in, doing whatever my little heart desires, when it desires it, and for however long it wants.
I have decided in whatever hard-won wisdom I’ve earned by now that our most precious commodity is: time. I’m on the down-slope of the hill… and I want to cherish every second that remains.
Oh! here’s the bus! See you… when I see you!