I’ve had a taste over the past 4 months of what it’s like to be retired. At the moment there is no work for me at the hospital, as patient attendances are low and the permanent secretaries can cope. Before Covid-19 struck I could have worked 24/7 as we often had over 1000 letters outstanding day after day that needed to be typed up. Now even the permanent secretaries are on short hours, and there is nothing for the likes of ‘bank’ secretaries such as myself who receive an NHS pension but also have a 0 hours’ contract to provide cover for holidays and sickness when departments are short-staffed.
Nevertheless, I’m getting used to being at home. I go out on my bike around 8 o’clock every morning, and have a couple more walking sessions during the day. In-between exercising I’m enjoying writing when I want to, reading when I want to, and spending time at the van. However, at the age of 62 I still feel productive and was not quite ready in March to be pensioned off. Apart from the pension, I enjoyed getting paid for the hours I worked in the Eye Clinic, and of course all this extra money has stopped now. Luckily Sam has kept hold of his job in these troubled times and doesn’t begrudge me a penny, but I’m the sort of person who hates asking for money and would rather earn my own.
Let’s face it though, who would want to employ somebody who is 62? I’d have to give up my pension if I was lucky enough to find permanent employment, and anyway I might not earn much more than I’m already receiving. Perhaps it’s time to bite the bullet and admit that I’m retired. I’ve tried scouring local adverts in newsagents’ windows and in local newspapers, but it’s usually the case that people are asking for work and not offering it.
Okay… so I’m retired for the foreseeable future as my line manager says there is no hope for any bank work. I’ve taken an unwelcome bite of the bullet. After a few more months at home it’s going to be harder and harder to return to the workplace. My head is full of medical terminology, but how long will it stay there? Words might drop off the cliff edge and may never come back. New systems will come into force that I’ll not be part of. The hospital corridors I know like the back of my hand and which I walked around for 18 years will be full of people I don’t know. I hate to admit that my time there might be up, but millions of people have had to accept their ‘new normal’ and now it’s my turn.
What’s your new normal? Do you like it? I can’t say that I hate being at home, because I don’t. It’s rather pleasant doing what you like, but the money is less and there’s that nagging feeling that I might now be considered ‘past it’. It’s that ‘past it’ which takes a bit of getting used to.