Thursday, April 08, 2004

The longest journey starts with a single step . . .

Have decided to start a blog as an antidote to boredom in retirement. Retirement is the third great watershed in one’s life. The first is graduation (no more sponging off the state), the second is having children (no more disposable income) and then retirement (no more company car). Time to reflect on furrows ploughed and those still fallow. Time to do all those things one never had enough time for, and then find one is too old and supposedly frail for some of them, like bungee jumping, in a world ruled by fear of litigation and craven allegiance to health and safety rules. Don’t they realise the main incentive for staying healthy and sound in wind and limb is the probability of picking up something worse via a visit to the hospital?

I reflect on the watersheds.
Graduation – top university, bottom degree. At the actual ceremony I was the only one in the line whose new BA gown had to be removed before it could be adjusted to the correct setting.
Fatherhood – an improvement. Brought up two sons (my wife did most of the work of course) who are good husbands and fathers, not a burden on the state, treat all people on merit and don’t drink and drive. This should be the prime responsibility of any parent. They will do better than I did through having had the sense to make better choices in early manhood. The only good ones I made were my wife and a small number of true friends. Career a triumph of improvisation over aptitude. Retirement not so much earned as reached, as a river reaches the sea.
Retirement – my true metier. I observe the world, read the papers, watch the TV news (Channel 4 only, the BBC used to do it better on John Craven’s Newsround) and sign up in the army of grumpy old men. I’m worth brigadier at least.