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The Early Retired

March 18, 2012

Early retirement can be a scary thing and a big shock to the system.  I found it so when I retired from social housing in 2005.  I’d been a manager with real authority and now I was a nobody, or so it sometimes seemed.

Then little by little things turned around…

I found contract work via an agency and did that for a couple of years.  Since then I’ve been kept pretty busy minding grandchildren.  So yes, I know who I am again now – I’m ‘Grandy’ and proud of it!  A creative writer too, of course, in a modest way, finding great satisfaction in beginning to fulfil my lifelong ambition.

But never will I forget that surreal spring of ’05, when I seemed to swing between euphoria and the blues.  The following is an edited extract from my diary:

 

Saturday 02/04/05:  Freedom!  My early retirement is now official.  I’m my own man.

I knew it would not be an easy adjustment to make, of course, after thirty-four years in continuous local government employment, forty-three years in work altogether.  I knew it would hit me hard at some point following my leaving do, when the anticlimax set in.  I knew there would come a point when it would cease to feel like being on holiday, when it would feel wrong to be at home on a working day, when I’d suddenly feel very cut off and alone, as if I’d fallen overboard with the ship disappearing over the horizon.  And so it was at the beginning of the week, but Thursday was a good day…

I went to Henbury in the morning to have a look at the Geldart Gallery and met the man himself… [This was William Geldart, the renowned British artist and illustrator, who works from home at Henbury, near Macclesfield.  I’d long been an admirer and it was a real pleasure to meet him.  Oh, what a talent, and what a nice guy.]

***

‘The Early Retired’ was written in 2009.  I don’t normally do rhyming poems but this simply came out that way.

 

THE EARLY RETIRED

 

Adrift in the sunshine, dazedly free,

An artist’s studio in Henbury.

 

A trip to the tip with Classic FM,

No meetings or briefings ever again.

 

No reading reports whilst munching a pie,

Kestrels and peregrins quarter the sky.

 

Paperwork shredded, ID badge returned,

Loppings and choppings of cherry tree burned.

 

The glums of retirement, pastured too soon,

Midnight streets echoey under the moon.

 

An email, a text, from out of the blue,

A lunchdate arranged with someone I knew.

 

A kiss upon meeting, quite a surprise!

Your blonde hair long, and the blue of your eyes…

 

 

 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2012

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