It suddenly occurred to me that today is the first anniversary of my “retirement”. Well, not really my retirement in the literal sense – my bus pass and free TV license are still some way in the middle distance – but retirement from 39 years of public service. Have I missed the Civil Service? Did I make a mistake? Should I have stayed on for a few more years? No, no and no.
The next question is this: have I put my first year without full time work to best use? That’s a more difficult question to answer but I would say the answer is yes. I have had a few jobs, too. A nice little job with Asda and a horrible one with the management bullies of Tesco’s Dot Com department, plus the odd days of hard labour, which came as a shock to someone who has been sitting on his backside at work for the best part of 39 years.
I’ve played a lot of golf, I’ve listened to a lot of music, I’ve been to some lovely places. Best of all, I have set up this website. Well, I didn’t set it up personally – that was down to John Dickens and his excellent company www.godjira.co.uk – but it represented an ambition fulfilled. I always had something to say and now I had somewhere to say it.
In this last year, I have become even more aware of my own mortality. Not in a negative way, though. As I never tire of saying, I am not one who believes that there is anything beyond death and so time is finite. There was the opportunity to carry on working for the next decade, bolstering my pension and having a greater income in old age, but I also knew that I would be handing over that vital commodity which is time. My younger, more athletic days are long gone but I still have a quality of life which is enabled and sustained by relatively good health and we all know that good health cannot be guaranteed as the clock keeps ticking.
So I have decided to write and write and then write some more. I have written a book on the island of Corfu in winter, I continue to write every day on this website, I may have a gig, sadly unpaid, with a local publication and in the next few weeks and months another book is on the horizon.
We all do what we think is best in our lives. Some want to work forever and cannot face the possibility of not working. Others are driven by the material world, where money buys happiness. And money can buy happiness. A nicer car, frequent holidays, a bigger house – these are all incentives to make more money and what’s wrong with that? But the precious commodity to me, as I have said, is time, time that will never come again.
In an ideal world, someone would take a look at my stuff and not just offer to publish it, but to pay me, too. This may or may not happen but I am going to give it a hell of a go. If Katie Hopkins can make a good living from hate writing, then maybe I can entertain people with something a bit more constructive and, occasionally, amusing.
Happy anniversary to me. And as for the Civil Service, I don’t miss you at all.