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Welcome to my world.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I was listening to a live radio broadcast about retirement. It was extolling the virtues of a physically and mentally active retirement. I rang up to have my say. Each to their own I said. "I have spent some of the happiest hours of my life in the front of a TV watching sport. It may not be active, but it's fun."
Each of us will approach retirement in our own way. I thought deeply about those matters that were important to me. Then considered what I needed to do to ensure that those matters were addressed. That set the pattern of my retirement. Two things are of the highest importance to me. A sense of freedom. And a sense of peace. It has taken a long time. But I'm there.
This blog is my story. Nothing out of the ordinary. Typical of a type who was able to take early retirement in the very different conditions of the mid 90s. It's a story of a very fortunate man, living a comfortable and happy life.
And yet although that's true, I'm a very sad person too. Anyone who has studied history and who has followed closely the events of the past 60 knows how lucky they are to enjoy a happy life. And I never forget it.
I hope something in this blog will make you chuckle. I've enjoyed a few memories putting it together.
I first met Ruth in 1960. We were 17 and 14. Here we are in Jersey on our 40th wedding anniversary in 2005. Whose a lucky fellow? Already I've had 14 years of retirement with my best friend. We spend a lot of time doing separate things. Ruth these days is far more involved than I am in community life. A past President of her WI, committee member in gardening, flower and embroidery clubs and a member of other groups, she is out and about bringing home the gossip. After a lifetime of public and voluntary service I have withdrawn from organisations and groups apart from my table tennis and golf clubs. I spend my time either with Ruth doing the things described elsewhere in these pages or on my various hobbies and interests. My diary is free from meetings or commitments involving anything formal. It's my recipe for a contented retirement. And it works. For me.
Our complete family together for the first time at Christmas 2008.
Tom and Joyce, Ruth's parents.
Lil, my mother and George.
Retiring early has meant not only being able to spend more time with my family. But being around when it has really mattered. Sadly, Tom, Joyce and Lil are no longer with us. Now the next generation of Tom, Megan, George and Zeb are growing up fast.
And so life goes on.
I left the most important things to the end. What would life be without friends? Ruth and I have been very lucky to have our fair share of really good friends with whom we have spent a lot of time with for over 30 years. Here are a group of us on one of our many golfing trips. Meals, parties, theatre and other trips come and go all too quickly. I have a couple of close friends who I have lunch with regularly, and Ruth has a gang who eat often at much posher places.
Ruth and I go away a few times each year. Mostly not far or for very long. We once spent two weeks in Tenerife. But usually we go away for 4 to 7days. Our longest trips are to visit Sandra, our eldest daughter in America. Sometimes Europe but more often short trips in the UK. Probably our most memorable trip was a cruise down the Nile. Truly magical. We are not extensive travellers. Just love being away. Together.