It has sometimes been claimed that the transition from the workaday world to that of comparative leisure can be difficult.
I think this might only apply if your work has almost totally defined your life. On this level it could be argued that men may find the switch more challenging than women.
I should beware of sweeping statements but in my book, women are naturally busy whether working or not and have a greater capacity to establish and maintain social connections.
I count myself lucky to have a pension from the state and also my previous employment. With my wife similarly blessed and the family now making its own way, the opportunities to ‘keep busy’ on our own terms are numerous.
Personally, I have found great pleasure in regular routines which others might find a bit tedious. With good health a high priority I’m indebted to our Sports and Fitness Centre on Trap Lane for providing a range of excellent classes throughout each week.
I attend four and as a member the cost works out at roughly a pound a day over a year which to me is an absolute bargain. Every class is different and guided by an enthusiastic instructor.
I take an hour’s walk around our river twice a week, swim at Ficarra’s Spa off Greenway Lane and bike most days. As an amateur singer the challenge presented by the Harmonise group which meets at the Salvation Army hall on Mondays has been a revelation.
One of the many attractions of retirement may be the acceptance of a different pace of life. The pressure on time has slackened rather than intensified. You can avoid doing things you dislike and rejoice in your own particular pleasures. Could it be that as you get older, fewer things matter but somehow they matter more.
What has been a bit of a surprise is my reluctance to respond when tourist organisations flag up so many holiday attractions. The mere thought of a river cruise, for example, leaves me cold. And as for those ‘must see’ places out there, the lure I now find underwhelming.
In my twenties with a rucksack, hitch hiking was a popular way for people of my generation to get around. Some of us made it all the way to Australia and, in my case, back again.
We travelled on the cheap, accepted hospitality everywhere and explored some of the wonders of the world in comparative isolation.
When I climbed up to the Inca ruins of Macchu Pichu in 1969 the place was deserted and I had it almost to myself for a couple of days.
Now I read that visitors have overwhelmed the site and numbers have to be held in check day by day. Needless to say I have no desire to go back. I fear the same sort of pressure is now probably widespread.
Admittedly there are some downsides to ageing, one of which has to be the rapid pace of advancing technology. I have already been left far behind when it comes to hand-held devices and my mobile phone is only used for the occasional call.
Maybe I’m stuck in a bit of a time-warp but I still enjoy writing letters by hand and listening to the radio. Whatever next.