I see that one of the carrots being dangled by Marine Le Pen before the French electorate is a retirement age of 60. Meanwhile, here in Blighty, we are looking at ending the “Triple Lock” on pensions as the Tories realise that even the Oldies probably won’t vote for Corbyn under (m)any circumstances. Time to fill your boots, raid the pension pots of the great British public while kicking the more thorny problem of how to tax Google, Facebook, Starbucks, the banks et al into touch. It would make you puke. The paucity of original thought and ideas in Government is breathtaking. It’s a never ending retread of the same paths where the outcome is always that Joe Public will pay. Meanwhile a pint of milk or a gallon of petrol costs the same for Philip Green as it does for my old mum. This is what we voted for. Or rather, this is what we voted for?
Hey ho. Enough of politics. Retiring at 60 for everyone though, is that a good idea? I’m not sold on it. I think we need to be thinking more about how people’s lives after 60 can be more worthwhile and can be seen in a more positive, fulfilling way than merely putting the feet up in retirement. Ageism is a massive issue and was something I had a taste of myself when I tried to re-enter the job market in my fifties. When your CV covers more years that the headhunter interviewing you has been on the planet, you can’t help but feel a wee bit uncomfortable. This suddenly dawned on me when I explained a project I’d once led to a young “recruitment consultant” and realised that she was probably four years old when I’d completed it. But, to me, it seemed, and still seems, like recent history. To return to politics for a second, Tony Blair being elected for the first time seems like yesterday, never mind it was twenty years ago. Twenty years ago!!
Deep sigh, there I go, sounding like Grandpa Simpson. It was a lot better in my day, mostly because I was twenty years younger then! Those years have gone by quickly and, based on experience, the next twenty to come will speed by even faster. I always liked the Tony Robbins statement that the only sure things about your future years is that you’re going to live through them, so how do you want them to look? Thoughts like that keep me going to the gym on a regular basis and, to be fair, the pub. I want to be healthy enough to still enjoy a decent pint of ale down my local in my seventies!
The thought also pertains to my work. When I “retired” at fifty, I found I really wasn’t psychologically ready for it. I still wanted to work, to contribute, to be part of a team and to be rewarded for a job well done through a pay packet. After all, that is what I’d known, and on the whole enjoyed, for the best part of thirty years and, when it disappeared, I missed it. I also didn’t choose it, because I lost my job through redundancy, and perhaps that was part of my problem. Now that I have returned to work, however, it often hits me with a start that I only maybe have a good ten years of a career left, if I choose to stay in it (or my company allows me to stay). Ten years? That’s a blink of an eye. For me, part of a job was always trying to progress within it, gain the next rung of the ladder, take on more responsibility and stretch myself. It still is, but I recognise – have to recognise, maybe – that perhaps I should now try to progress in a different way. What I should be looking for is maybe not the next promotion and wage increase, but to gain the next set of skills or network that will help me better when I next face “retirement”. Mentally, I can’t see myself much different in ten years from where I am today. My mum, facing eighty, still maintains that she thinks like a twenty year old, despite all the evidence against it. She still is who she is and will always be who she was. Why will I be any different?