Retirement – Fantasy And Reality II.

To my post of yesterday Ursula has offered her comments as under.

“Ramana, that photo is cruel. I am such a nice person I actually delete rubbish shots of my nearest and dearest as not to hurt their feelings in public.

Retirement? What retirement? I DO NOT WANT TO RETIRE! The trick is to do all your life what you want to do. Follow your star, as one of you recently said (I think it was you, Gaelikaa) even if we find ourselves in the gutter at times – as I did about twelve months ago. And, yes, I know it doesn’t always work like that: Even I do the odd rubbish assignment to pay the next electricity bill. But at least I am not caged in only to then be released at age 65 with a handshake and some rubbish present that I my son most certainly won’t wish to inherit.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not knocking any of your achievements and the relief you feel when you reach that magical age. But, looking at it brutally, it’s one hell of a life to live only to look forward to retirement. Naturally, the lucky ones are those in old money who can do what they like at their leisure.

My father, most my friends, I, we love what we do. I don’t even have a pension fund because I’ll “work” till I drop. I do what I like when I like. I don’t need anyone’s permission to do what I want to do. It’s a luxury. Like having space. Though naturally being freelance/self employed as opposed to being sent into retirement at a specified date does require some nerve.”

My response is as follows:

“What is cruel about it? I sit like that and doze quite often. He is blissfully unaware of what is going on around him. He is full of beer, a good pub lunch and is sleeping in warm sunlight on a lovely summer afternoon. Look at it from his point of view. Total bliss! Ranjan has taken some photographs of me, sleeping in most unusual postures and I hesitate to post them lest I offend the aesthetic sense of some of my readers like Maynard and Gail.

I have not retired from living. On the contrary, I believe that now I am living the kind of life that I should have lived had I been in old money. Retirement does not mean not doing anything. That is an impossible situation. One cannot live not doing anything. Let me illustrate. Normally, I go to bed around 2130 hrs. Recently, a friend of mine from California got me on the IM and the two of us were at it for about an hour, so much so that my sister who saw that I was online sent me an SMS scolding me for either being up so late or for not having turned the computer off! When I SMSd her back she said okay have fun and backed off!. So, some days, I sleep a little late, catch up the next day, may be get up later than usual, take off to up the mountains for a drive or whatever whenever the mood takes me.

The freedom to be able to accommodate these things after a life time of working watching the clock is what is nice about retirement. Particularly so, if there is enough in the bank and some pension keeps coming in and you can pay all your bills and send some gifts to friends and relatives, buy a few books, send for some exotic food or spices or whatever etc. And most importantly, I can now say ‘No’ to many things without hesitating.

So, these are my stars that I follow. One that I am following is to dance with you in the rain in London! It will happen. The chances of it happening when I was working, was a big fat zero. Now, I have got plenty of space around me, subject to the restrictions that I have placed on myself regarding the care that I give to my father, purely voluntarily.

The pension that I am talking about is from a corpus that will revert to my son on my death, it is not from tax payers’ funds. I am not in old money. I shall however ensure that my son is in old money. That is another star that I followed and have made a reality, whereas my son says, “go live off your capital old man, I shall fend for myself”. Tempting indeed. See the difference?

The other aspect of my working life was not that I worked to retire. Far from it. I enjoyed my work fully, continue to enjoy the benefits that accrued to me then in the form of a net work of friends and associates, but to be honest, there were days that I said to myself, man, I wish that I can retire now. I enjoyed my life then, I enjoy it now and I hope to continue to do so till I pop off. (BHB, are you reading?)”