Monday, November 30, 2015

Pensioner Power

The milestone of reaching 65 may have passed a few days ago, managed to keep below the radar fairly well but decided the occasion had to be marked somehow. No party that’s for sure, have never been a party girl. I’m not entirely anti-social but on the rare occasions I venture out to attend such a ‘do’ you’ll probably find me lurking on the fringes mumbling “are we having fun yet?” I’m more of a You’ll always find me in the Kitchen at Parties kind of girl, hovering around to see if I can do something useful, or perusing other people’s bookcases to check out their books and magazines and DVD collections. Not that I’m judging those who like parties, and I certainly enjoy sitting round having a good chat with friends, but I guess I’m just too darn lazy to go to the trouble of making lists of things to do or buy or make or pick up in order to stage such an event. Oh dear, what a party pooper.

That said, as I stated back in the early days of this blog six years ago, if my genetic makeup is anything to go by I could be around for a good while yet, and the last thing I want to be doing in this third trimester of my life is sitting around in the oldies’ waiting room joining the queue to mount the slippery slide which will speed me on my way and land me with an unceremonious bump at the bottom then bid me a fond farewell.

I have friends my age who are zipping back and forth across the planet seeking out all manner of wonderful places to explore, cultures both similar and vastly different from our own, surrounded by languages they can’t understand. The conversations may be very ordinary, but it can be fascinating to hear them in a foreign tongue. Others are trekking around the country and also heading overseas to help strengthen community networks, provide training and assist local workers in assessing how best to serve the needs of their communities. Others are so active in retirement they wonder how they ever had time to go to work.

One thing is apparent, it is not a time to be idle, use it or lose it they say, so I sometimes wonder what awaits me when I finally close the doors on my current working role, maybe this time next year. The grey nomads are safe from any invasion from my quarters, and I think the dodgy back is going to see me relegated to terra firma instead of hopping on long-haul flights to explore the wild blue yonder. So what am I going to get up to? I have a few ideas, but who knows what could open up when the time comes.

Past the use by date? Never. Not me, nor anyone as far as I’m concerned. We wrinklies might be greyer, balder, paunchier, slower and creakier than at the start of our working lives, but if we don’t pass on the wealth of experience locked away in our still active brains, and the desire to make a positive contribution wherever we find ourselves, we’ll be doing both ourselves and those who come after us a disservice.

I’ll never make a lot of noise, but I don’t want to fade into the background either. Dylan Thomas may have penned it appropriately with his classic
Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day…

So, as my last word on this auspicious occasion of reaching pensionerdom, I wrote a somewhat less profound ditty of my own.

IT’S OFFICIAL

For my birthday
they gave me a little blue card
but somehow I still
find it rather hard
to believe I’ve arrived
at this new stage of life
where the prospect
of facing adventurous strife
is somewhat diminished,
for my daily activities
are more subdued
than once they were
when life was fast and
whizzed past in a blur.

In the distance
retirement beckons me
but it won’t
be one of inactivity
I’ll still be pottering
here and there
pulling out weeds
while I pull out my hair
from working out
what to do with my days
for no structure in life
can be a real maze.

The grey nomads are safe
I’ll leave them alone
I won’t be buying
a travelling home
I’ll stick around
and do my bit
try new things
and see where I fit.

Will I age gracefully
or disgracefully
the jury’s out on that,
but one thing is for sure.
This bona fide
fully fledged
card carrying pensioner
might be wrinkly and grey
and a little bit mad but
I won’t throw in the towel
or raise the white flag,
there’s years in me yet
to work it all out
for I’ve finally earned
the right to be 
an official old bag.