I AM kind of retired. By "kind of" I mean I no longer have a full-time employer and have cast myself adrift to live on the laughable amount that passes as a pension in this country, augmented by various bits of freelance work.
Having worked full-time for over 40 years I thought I deserved the chance to ease up a bit on the daily grind.
I was asked yesterday what I found to do with myself all day long. Let's put aside the 20 to 30 hours I spend a week on freelance work, the rest of the time I keep very gainfully employed, thank you very much.
As a kind-of-retired woman, I could say I have managed to spring-clean the house from top to bottom, made the garden worthy of inspection by Alan Titchmarsh, decorated the sitting-room, reorganised all the cupboards and managed to fit in the odd little DIY job that has needed doing for years. I could say that, but I would be lying.
I had intended to do all those things - and I have made a half-hearted start on some of them but the hall cupboard is still piled high with “things that might come in useful one day” and I still have to give the excuse that my garden is a wildlife haven if anyone raises an eyebrow at the weeds.
I would like to say the mad morning scramble has disappeared as the better half's packed lunch is done the night before and I know exactly what I am going to put into his sandwiches as I have my weekly menu plan to refer to - and I'm no longer scraping specks of mould off the bread because I didn't have time to pop to the shop. I'm not frantically ironing his last clean shirt or "airing" it with the hair-dryer. I'd like to say all that is true. But it's not.
So my answer to the person who asked me what I found to do all day was simply a vague: "I manage to keep really busy."
That much is true. I am occasionally found busy napping. I sit down with my bowl of soup at lunchtime, switch on the television and the next thing I know, Escape to the Country is on and my soup is stone cold.
I'm often busily catching up on the latest “must read” book on my Kindle. I can now look down The Times best seller list and say I’ve read one or two of them. So that’s educational, right? These days I actually have time to read the Sunday papers and I am an expert on world politics, celebrities and global warming. And I know a few singers in the Top Ten even though I have knickers older than they are.
I keep busy surfing the net and must now have watched every "hilarious" cat video on YouTube. I've stumbled upon a site called Stumbleupon which throws up random websites according to your interests. "I'll just look at one more before I start the housework," I say to myself. Half an hour later I'm entranced by a site called Foods That Will Regrow from Kitchen Scraps. Did you know that if you save the root end of a head of celery, put it in water, wait for roots and leaves to appear and then plant it in the garden, a new plant will appear? Not that I've actually tried any of the tips yet, but they are on my "to do" list.
Then there are trips here and there with friends and family with brunches, lunches and snacks to be consumed. There are people to visit and shopping to be done and I can stroll around shops rather than run.
Yes, semi-retirement is a joy. But I must remember not to keep banging on to my working friends about the really tough day I’ve had visiting the garden centre. They don’t seem to like that for some reason.
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- Look in left column under Grounds For Divorce, Or Proof That I'm Living With A Madman for some short posts about the man I share my life with. (If you're reading on a phone it will be somewhere else - possibly at the top).
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