We had a plan, MrS and I. April 2020, that’s what we were working to… but god laughs when (wo)men make plans.
In April 2020 I will be 50 and MrS will been 60, at which point he will have been in London for just shy of 40 years. So we set that date for an early retirement and a move back to Norwich, with the possibility of having a small crash pad in London.
But this week, after 37 years of continuous employment, and 18 years at his current company, MrS has been made redundant.
Glossing over his irritation that a) he was right about their business model being wrong and b) they got to ask him to leave instead of him leaving when he was ready, he is very positive about this. Although we don’t know any exact details yet, it’s looking like he’ll be employed until Christmas, although whether this will involve garden leave or being paid in lieu of notice we don’t know. Given the seniority of his position we don’t think he’ll be expected to show up to the office for too much longer. He was handling the news much better than me.
MrS already had many plans for his retirement so he’s viewing them all as just starting a year earlier. Photography, travel, building a car, forming a new band, he has quite a list.
I love living in London though. In the past 5 years I’ve felt more like myself than any other time my life. There’s not a morning commute that goes by where I don’t appreciate my surroundings, despite the atrocious public transport. Despite a couple of sticky patches I do like my job, it’s full of young people, I’ve learnt a lot in the 4 years I’ve been there, about myself as much as about the role.
There’s always something to see or do. Or eat and drink! Gigs to go to. And people to do it with. I hadn’t really made a plan abut what I wanted to do when we retired because it was So Far Away.
But now the plan to move back to Norwich has now been brought forward. The intention, once we’ve had a chance to tidy it up and declutter, (I am already excited by this, I love a good clearout) is to put the London house on the market in January so we will probably be ready to move up to Norwich by April.
But still it’s coming faster than I thought; I feel scared about having all that time to fill. I”m a planner, this much I know. That doesn’t make me change averse - it just means that when I know a change is going to come, I need to plan for it.
I’m scared that my world will shrink. I”m scared that by retiring early there might be a feeling that I’m making my life shorter. That I won’t be relevant (whatever the fuck that means). I am reminded of the quote “People do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing”.
And then I thought how, just a week ago the blogging community was celebrating the life of the most vibrant and wonderful lady Kate Sutton, and how we’d all agreed to #bemorewitwitwoo and I asked myself “what would Kate do with this opportunity?”. Well I don’t know exactly what she would’ve done of course, but as she had recently made the decision to stop working at her office based job, so I’m pretty sure she would have found some positives in the news.
Who wouldn’t be excited at the age of 48 to find their available time has increased. Let’s face it there are worse problems to have. Yes, I could get a job in Norwich, but that wasn’t in the retirement plan, because who wants to go to work everyday while their husband is living his best life? Who wants to be tied to when they can travel or take off on adventures? I have a whole list of places in the UK alone that we are going to visit - I’ve barely seen any of it. I’ve even thought about how I can start a new blog.
I know that it will be lovely not to have to get up at 6:15 every morning and spend 3 hours of my day commuting. I will be able to go to the gym, improve my swimming - it’s not just my mind going to pot that I’m worried about. I can finally decorate the Norwich house and get some plants in the courtyard. We will be able to do so many exciting things together and it shouldn’t matter where we live to do that. Friends can visit and we can visit them. Who knows, we still might even be able to get that Limehouse crash pad. And I am very well aware of how lucky we will be to have so much time together when my mum and dad’s retirement together has been cut so cruelly short by his dementia.
There needs to be a new word though; I don’t want to be ‘retired’, with it’s elderly connotations. I know several women who don’t go out to work, who aren’t ‘retired’, but I feel like because I”m giving up my job at the same time as MrS is retiring, that’s exactly what it is.
With the best part of 9 months until this happens I know I can get my head round this.
Just don’t call me retired. Let me know what you'd call it?