ROAR- Reflections Of A Retiree by Ken Bridgford

When asked if I would write an article for an edition of “Insight” my response was yes; I can do that. I have been retired for three years and surely, perceptions of retirement versus the actuality should provide ample fertile ground for an interesting amble through my retirement period so far. Fine, seems ok, then reality!

How to go about it. I have never written an article before – only reports. Why not try the same structured approach as I would when working. Ok, here goes with a list. Better do a planning bullet point list- but of what?? Oh why did I say yes to this article??

Just get started Bridgford! Here goes.

• How did I feel approaching retirement at the end of August 2009.

• Desires when retired?

• Reality – What happened after stopping work

• That dreaded to do list of long awaited jobs

• Firm up those promised visits to friends and relatives.

• Eventually go on those impromptu short breaks, and mini holidays

• Don’t forget the “Bucket List” of preferred activities (This is more like it!)

o After years of threatening, come out of the closet, and take part by singing songs at the local Folk Club

o When the weather is good, just get up and go fishing.

o Clean the garden pond

Ok that’s the planning out of the way, now for an interesting article – Tongue firmly in cheek. I was always better with figures!

Having worked for 47 years I was ready for retirement. Although I have to say, the last 5 years were the best years. I think I am fortunate in having that experience.  None the less I was on my way and I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to do.

Now, what really happened? The first few weeks just went in a blur. Did not have to start the day at 5.30, so get up at 7.30 ish! Catch up on the news and, hey, where’s the morning gone? Does not matter you are retired, enjoy. Ok so play the guitar for a couple of hours. Is that the time, oh well it’s a late lunch today. Fiddle around sorting a bit of paperwork. Oh, I was going fishing when the sun was shining. No matter plenty more sunny days coming along. I probably got under my wife’s (Margaret) feet, as I have never spent so much time at home. A hint was when she found me in ‘her study’ and suggested I got my own computer!!!! Weekends worked fine before retirement, but now they tend not to be so recognisable. I think you may now be seeing something of a familiar trend!  Yes, No?

I have retired, and I suspect my brain has as well, but do I care, enjoying it too much? Come on Bridgford get your act together.

Well three years on, life has never been so busy! The Diary has never been so full. People are constantly wanting me to get involved in activities, an aspect of retirement which did not cross my mind before retiring.

I have managed to complete about 10% of what I imagined, – Note:- do not plan too much – but a very interesting, and generally intriguing time, none the less. The big plus is that my wife and I can go out mid week, visiting, lunching, and sorting out our respective Mums and avoid the busy times of schools/commuter runs.

The achievements. I now visit a few folk music clubs to play the guitar and sing a few songs, as well as helping to get another one off the ground. All good fun apart from the politics!  I have become the Treasurer of our local angling club. This also has its unexpected spin offs. Such as negotiating a merger with another club. Great, except the merger failed to materialise and yes you guessed it, politics!! Should have stayed working. Ah well too late now. My wife and I did manage a long overdue trip to Ireland. So we just had to stay for 4 weeks. Ah, such a strain, but we braved the Guinness, excellent food, music, and lived to tell the tale.  Another long awaited trip was to Australia to celebrate Margaret’s Sister’s 60th, Tinnies and BarB’s ticked off the list, with no rushing off to the Airport to get back to the office.

The greatest consistency though has been a monthly GOM meeting with two retired work colleagues, Barry and John. What’s a GOM you wonder? It is a Grumpy Old Men’s meeting held monthly in a pub in Canary Wharf. I can thoroughly recommend it, and I am off there tomorrow. Cheers!!!!

Enjoy yourselves folks.

Ken Bridgford