So now I’m retired; it’s been long anticipated¹ but when it finally comes, it comes quickly. A last minute flurry of activity, then a pub lunch, hugs and handshakes and promises to keep in touch. A momento, thoughtfully chosen, reminds me that ‘Work’ is not simply a place – it’s also people.
My desk is finally cleared and my email account closed. As far as ‘the system’ is concerned, from Friday 31st August 2012, I no longer exist.
Annie also retires on this day and, like me, has mixed emotions. Work has been a stable part of both our lives for a long time – whatever else we’ve had to contend with, it has always been there. To be sure – it’s changed out of all recognition from when we both started, but it’s clothed and fed us and defined, to a large extent, who we are. We’re on shifting sands now – and that’s both exciting and scary at the same time.
We begin our new life with a holiday as a means of drawing a line under the past, to stop once and for all, questions like ‘will we manage without work?’ – or rather – ‘will work manage without us?’
As we start to sort out suitcases and maps, any doubts I might have had are dispelled by one of those spooky moments in life when you think that someone or something has stuck their screwdriver in the cosmos and given it a little tweak; I open the The Guardian Weekend on Saturday September 1st to find this:
The Awful Truth, Stephen Collins