Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Time to re-brand retirement

Bring it on!

Some of you lovely readers have already made the change from full-time employment to non-employment, and some are a long way off. For others, the finishing line is almost in sight. This is where Mr D and I are. We have just turned the final corner and can see the finishing flags waving in the distance.

Yet it doesn’t seem that long ago that retirement felt like a long way off. The very mention of the word filled my head with images me, silver-haired and chilling on a rocking chair with knitting to hand. With one word I’d aged myself by at least a couple of decades. Then I thought about my parents. Both of them were lucky enough to have decent ‘golden handshakes’ for pensions and be comfortable.

But what did they do with their time? My dad, for all intents and purposes, has fossilized at home in front of a computer, rarely venturing out unless he has to (even pre-COVID). My mum, while she was still with us, was more adventurous. Circumnavigating the world, snowshoeing, ice fishing, mushing with huskies, etc. It’s a long list. In fact, I’m going to need to put some effort into my own retirement if I want to live up to her standards.

My retired friends, who are close in age to us, are more adventurous now than they were in their employed years. This is why I think we need to rebrand retirement. The word itself is loaded with negative connotations. For example, here’s the first few results I got when I checked an online thesaurus:

  • Stepping down
  • Giving up
  • Departure

Hmmm? These aren’t the most inspiring words I’ve read, and not what I had in mind for our post-employment years. Mr D and I have no intention of stepping down… handing over the baton, yes, but a downwards move, absolutely not. As for giving up… giving up what? Life? Not on your Nelly! Departure? Not for a very long time if I can help it. The only departure I’m prepared to entertain is when we head off somewhere fun. I’d like to become well acquainted with departure lounges around the world.

Further research on how to rebrand retirement shows I’m not alone in thinking we need to retire the word ‘retire’. I found this article in the Financial Times which looks into this very subject. The author describes how his American friends coined a new term, Life Two. Life after full-time work. LAFTWO. It was a bit of a mouthful but morphed easily into Life Two. I like it. Life One is the bit where you do all the adulting stuff like career, child rearing and home making. Life two is whatever you want it to be… no more Monday morning alarms, not unless you choose to set one.

Personally, I’m happy to be on the home strait. I’m relishing the last few miles, but Mr D is not. As he’s two years younger than me, he isn’t quite so close. In fact, he can’t touch his pension fund yet, but I can. He’s not happy to see the finishing line at all because he wants to have crossed it already, not interested in enjoying the view. That’s the fun of being a couple, yet two separate people. 

If you were in charge of retirement, how would you rebrand it? For those of you already across the line, do you have any advice for those of us on the last few miles? Share your wisdom in the comments section … please!

I hope this post finds you safe and healthy.

Cath xx

Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Time is an illusion…

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

Douglas Adams
A time warp?

You know the old saying – time flies when you’re having fun? Well, it also flies when you’re not having so much fun. This is contrary to my life experience thus far.

Time has dragged when doing exams, waiting for results, planes, trains and the end of the working day. We can agree these are not fun times. It flies when you’re finally on holiday, at a great party or concert, or simply enjoying a favourite pastime. In all of these cases time has behaved as expected.

Over the past 12 months time has been seriously misbehaving. It’s fair to say that 2021 has been a year of lockdowns, gradual returns to some semblance of normality, and learning to live with the invisible enemy, COVID19. For my family and me it has been a year of firsts. First birthdays with Mum, first Mother’s Day when I didn’t send cards, gifts and flowers. First anniversaries of her passing and burial. It seems no time at all since the actual event happened, yet here we are, a year on. Time has flown faster than expected, given the sad nature of events.

I’m not sure how I got through it all, and I seem to be reliving it all again, a time loop. I have a theory on this. At the time of extremely sad events like the loss of a parent, we function just enough to get from one day to the next, to take care of the endless admin that accompanies this loss and give our loved ones a good send-off. As time passes and you approach each ‘first’, we now have the mental space and time to deal with the emotional distress we could barely keep a lid on at the time.

The important thing for me has been to not get frightened of this time loop. I think it is the mind’s way of sorting through the memories, of remembering it all, but without the overwhelming physical sensations and emotions felt at the time. I’ll not pretend this has been easy, and at first I thought I was becoming clinically depressed. However, a quick chat with my psychologist friend (I call her occasionally just to check in and make sure I’m not sliding down a rabbit-hole of doom) and it turns out I’m doing fine. Who knew? Not me. I needed the reassurance that I am simply healing from the past events. Phew.

Whilst time does indeed fly when you’re having fun, drag when something yucky is on the horizon, it can behave itself and help you heal from past traumas. So cheers to giving yourself time and space to deal with whatever you need to deal with, and cheers to time healing wounds. The trick is to have patience.

And breathe! Remember to breathe. Definitely helps.

It’s been ages since I last wrote a post for this site, other than super-short One-liner Wednesdays. My creative mind just couldn’t deal with much more than a few sentences. I think it’s managed to bust through the block. It certainly feels like something has shifted.

For those of you new to Menopausal Mutterings, you might want to wander through the older posts from when I was perimenopausal. It might explain a few things. Then again, maybe not. You have choices 🙂

Thank you to my new followers and thanks to all for sticking with me through hell and high water.

Bless you all.

Cath xx