I am fifty-four years of age. Her majesty’s government have decreed that I may retire with full pension rights in April 2025. My job is comfortable: I don’t get stressed. My commute is a mere two miles. My home life is not fraught in any way. My missus seems content; the collie and chickens are happy. I’m not rich, but I have no financial worries. My health is not perfect, but not a worry. By any measure that seems reasonable: I don’t have any just cause for dissatisfaction. I know, to my shame, there are millions in far worse situations.
But I am dissatisfied, all the same. Am I to continue, more of the same, for the next twenty years? What would be the point of that? Am I just living for living’s sake? I try to enthuse myself by considering my legacy. Do I want to leave the world a better place than I found it? Why would (should?) I care what happens, once I’m dead?
I thought that maybe I needed a new challenge; something to strive for. But I can’t think of anything that would “get me going”. I feel I ought to be “making a difference” somewhere.
Am I supposed to take a mistress, buy a Ducati, take up bungee-jumping? The mistress sounds like a great idea, until I consider first, how much I love my wife; second, the effect on my home life, when her indoors finds out; third, how picky and perverse my taste in women is; fourth, my lack of pulling power. I used to really enjoy motorcycling, but I was never very good at it. I gave up when my arthritis made it uncomfortable. I’d already had one major prang, resulting in broken neck and shoulder blade. I don’t think spending retirement in a wheelchair will improve matters any. I hate heights. I think I’d sooner gnaw my own bollocks off, than go bungee-jumping. In the immortal words of Ron Moody, “I think I’d better think it out again.”
I checked to see if I could afford to retire early. I probably could, though it would be expensive. But then I thought: why would I want to? To give myself an extra forty-odd hours each week to do as I please? That’s only useful if I have a plan to fulfil.
I can’t believe that my plight is unique. How does one grow old gracefully? I’m sure I don’t want the next twenty years to be principally marked by my fading away.