Thursday 30 April 2009

Retirement 3

Things keep cropping up to crystallise this retirement business. The other day I went to visit some friends who are setting up a trust fund for one of their young. I was asked to witness their signatures. Aside from the honour, I was taken aback when faced, for the first time since retiring, with the space that asked "Occupation". There it was: Retired. Writing it for the first time was actually more traumatic than handing back to the kindly Post Office agent the usual little batch of envelopes he was wont to hand me to facilitate paying in my earned cheques: there will be no more need for those.
What's more, there is time to notice the growth of the 'one-of-these-days' pile of things to do which the sharp-eyed among you will remember falls in to the New Year's resolution category of 'verboten'. One of these days, I resolved, has to be NOW. This is a convoluted way of telling you that I have booked to see the Hygienist, I have had builders come to fix a leaky problem, I have started to sort out cupboards and to enjoy being at home. Of course, I have already told you about my re-discovery of domesticity. However, I have a secret. All my older life I have rather turned away from the activities enjoyed by the 'Third Age'; turned away in the sense of a kind of 'them and us' approach. I was certainly never going to be one of 'them': I was always going to be 'us'. I remember seeing a group of 'them' at an exhibition once. Related by hair, I thought, at the time, i.e. all grey and all curly. I am lucky. At 75 my hair is still mostly brown, though without the chestnut glow that gave it life in the past. Nor does it wave as it did, but shucks, who cares. It is good enough and stops me being one hundred per cent a cliche. (I'm sure the Guru would tell me there is a facility on this machine for putting an accent on that last e, but I don't dare ring and ask him. Please visualise it). Anyway, the University of the Third Age was outside my field of consideration. I like my groups to be mixed-gender and mixed-age. Indeed, those of you in from the start will remember my advertisement for a young rugby player with a nice bottom to help me negotiate the airport. A group of contemporaries is very unlikely to afford that particular pleasure.
Dear Reader, my view has changed. Last month I was invited to join a group of contemporaries who meet once a month or so to discuss, well, I think I must say Life. The themes are taken from a book of sermons preached by a late lay-preacher known to us all. He was an intelligent and extremely well-educated man and worth considering. There was an almost forgotten pleasure in listening to and contributing with like-minded people and I was happy to take a piece of humble pie with my post-meeting tea. However, I did notice, apart from the hair, I was also the only one wearing lipstick. The experience inspired me to look at the possibilities in the actual University of the Third Age which has a branch very near where I live. Advanced French Conversation - where you can't see if I have put the accents on or not - and Very Beginners German are on the probable list. Thank Goodness for the Guru otherwise I might feel as if I had moved permanently to Planet Third Age. C u l8r.

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