The idea was mine, the thought of freedom was too strong and all I wanted was to be left alone, isolated from the hum-drum of life for a while. It was time to hang up my overalls and stash my tools away, I was going to retire for a spell. Well that spell grew longer and longer and before I knew it my unofficial retirement became official. I had made it through the previous months without doing any paid work and it felt good. When working I was often asked about my retirement and when it would be, though people didn’t ask the question until I had revealed to them my age. The reason I mention that is I was also often asked how long I had been in the profession. When I revealed that information I wasn’t taken seriously at first because I don’t look my age. So in reply to their asking about my retirement I would tell them I had no immediate intentions to do so. That was true but I also told them that if my advertisement was missing from the newspaper then I was either on holiday, was retired or else I was dead. That always got a laugh but in all honesty it couldn’t be anything but the truth. It didn’t stop people phoning my number, at least for the first few months after my retirement which began last April last year. Occasionally the house phone would ring too and in both cases I would tell the caller I was no longer available for work. Eventually I stopped answering the calls just for the peace. In any case I often don’t answer the house phone because of the many nuisance calls we used to get and occasionally still do. I check the callers’ number after they have hung up and many, if not most of the time it has been a local domestic call. I am just not available but it appears the callers don’t read the newspaper because they have my business card. It doesn’t bother me as I don’t answer the calls. Eventually the calls will cease anyway. Today, Wednesday as I write, I received but two calls only and that is a blessing. One was a suspected request for work and the other was my next-door neighbour who wanted to know which wheelie bin should be put out for emptying the next day! She can never remember. She did however call me on my mobile phone so I knew who it was calling. Sometimes though and quite often I don’t carry my phone with me as I just wish to be left alone.
At this time of year I was always busy working but this year all that has changed. Since my retirement back in April I have not done any electrical work to speak of, just a couple of very minor jobs and some of them were at home anyway. From around September until the week preceding Christmas I was kept busy doing electrical work with little time for myself. I was used to the pressure but then again I worked better under pressure, still do. However over the last few weeks I have had very little work to do, certainly no contract work and what I have been doing at home wasn’t that taxing. Don’t misunderstand me here, I am glad the pressure has been lifted from my shoulders and that now I can please myself what I do and when I do it. It is simply that it feels a little strange having all this freedom. I have been occupying myself outside of any domestic jobs I do by taking walks and exercising more on what equipment we have accumulated over the last few years. I am currently getting to grips with the new elliptical trainer we purchased a week or so back. Having not used one before it certainly felt strange when making the first attempt! I am more used to the treadmill, that is my muscles are more used to it.
With the elliptical trainer however those muscles are exercised in a different way and other muscles not exercised much when running or even walking have to adjust too. I wake up in the mornings with a kind of joy in my heart knowing I haven’t any reason to rush into the day so in a way that too feels strange, though I am getting used to it. To be honest I rarely lie in bed for long once I am awake and half the time I have something in mind I want to do anyway. I never thought of it before but having one’s remaining years free to one’s self is often not appreciated until the time it arrives. I’ll try to make the most of them.
For the past year or two I have hinted at finally hanging up my electrical tools and retiring. In April this year, in fact at the beginning of the financial year and the same point from which I kept my books, I made the decision to cease work as an electrician. This November I shall be 72 years of age and although I am still perfectly capable of continuing, albeit in a very much reduced capacity, I told myself enough is enough. I needed to discipline myself and take the plunge. It wasn’t about the money, for me it was about the prospect of not having something to occupy my time if I did retire. I have to say now six months on that those fears were definitely unfounded, I have had plenty to do as my posts testify, in fact I don’t know how beforehand I managed to find the time to do anything at home whilst working as an electrician. Yes, I did find the time of course but had little spare time for myself as a consequence. Even that wasn’t a problem because I run on having a workload. Again, I have had to discipline myself to get used to more free time but now that I have done that I am happy I did. It is a little sad to have given up the electrical work though. No doubt there will still be some of that to do at home and in fact I have done some during the last six months already. On Friday morning after weeks of procrastination I finally decided to empty out the van leaving just a small toolbox for emergencies. I have always carried some tools in the vehicles I have owned. Here is the van before I emptied the stock..
And here is what was removed..As well as these….
I also removed reels of cable, trunking, plaster and other sundry items like drills and ladders. Those blue boxes contain switches, power outlets, mounting boxes, lighting fittings and a host of other things typically used in electrical installations. The van will be much relieved at the loss of all that weight! I was worn out carrying it all into the cellar!
In a similar vein to the words of the well-liked but now deceased comedianSpike Milligan who had written on his tombstone.’Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite, Irish for “I told you I was ill.”…….I told you I’d get bored once I retired!
Spike was a favourite of mine along with comedians such as Tommy Cooper, Marty Feldman and others who never failed to make me laugh. They had my kind of humour. Anyway, to the point, I laugh and joke about anything and everything these days serious stuff included. Life is too short to be walking about looking as if the troubles of the whole world were on your shoulders. Speaking about retirement, I am getting used to it but very slowly indeed. I have had the good fortune to have found things to do over the last few months, that is since the beginning of April when I declared myself to have stopped working as an electrician. Even so some small jobs have since come my way. I get to go for walks which I like for two reasons, the exercise and the fresh air. The air around here certainly is fresh coming off the Irish Sea and walks along the seafront are very refreshing. So it was I went for a slightly later than usual walk on Monday. I don’t know about you but I get a little wary of people following me even though their intentions might be completely innocent and most folk’s are. I was walking along a local street on my way down toward the sea when I sensed there was someone following me or rather walking in the same direction as myself. Peripheral vision is wonderful especially if the head is turned slightly in the direction behind you. I could see that it was a middle-aged guy dressed as you would expect from someone out for a walk and complete with rucksack too. He made no attempt to pass by but kept his distance behind me. The trouble was that distance was a mere ten metres and it made me feel uncomfortable. For a half-mile it continued that way until we reached the seafront where he decided to walk on by. Now it was my turn to repay him the compliment by walking behind him. He must have thought he could outpace me but I kept pace without even trying, in fact it seemed a little slow if anything. He kept looking back to see if he had left me behind but I was still there. I sensed he was by now feeling a little uneasy himself but that was my intention. About another half-mile and we would reach a point where there were three routes to choose from all in the same direction. I waited to see which way he would go then I chose another path. I ran a little way (I was wearing running shoes) to put some distance between us then began taking the route homeward. I bet he didn’t think I could run! I could have chosen to walk along the pier but chose the road over the bridge which spans the lake instead. I walked the last few metres on the pier and as I looked back toward the sea guess who was walking toward me? I carried on through the town centre before turning toward home. It was probably all in my imagination but when I am out alone I take great care in keeping my wits about me and a careful eye on those who are around me.
So much for semi-retirement and taking things a little easier. I am approaching my 71st birthday and by all accounts should have retired by now but because I am not one for lazing about and living the high life (whatever that is) I am still working. Of course I am talking about my electrical work for there is always other work to be done at home. Officially I am semi-retired though as far as the electrical work is concerned, and I do try to limit what I do in that respect, it hasn’t worked out that way. Although I haven’t been doing electrical work every day this past week on the days that I have done so I haven’t had much of a rest from it. I am my own worst enemy I suppose because I don’t like letting people down. Even so I have had to turn down more work than I have actually taken on board. I need to remove my advertisement more often and I might just do that. I remember the last time I did though it made no difference, I still got phone calls. The price of being too popular I guess….well someone’s got to blow my trumpet! Although I enjoy my work I am getting more tired of it as the months go by so perhaps a proper retirement is on the horizon. I’ll have to weigh up that possibility though and it will depend on whether I can remain occupied more at home. I have to find things to do or go bananas. I suppose I am more tired because I have been doing work both at home and away and occasionally both on the same day. I said to myself that as long as I am capable I will continue to work and I have kept that promise but I also said that I will cut down on it. I haven’t kept that promise though but increasingly it is becoming more important that I do.