used to be the default retirement age in the UK, but this has been phased out and most people can now work for as long as they want to. However, 65 is generally what people still consider to be the retirement age.
According to the Cambridge dictionary, retirement is “when you leave your job and stop working, usually because you are old” or “the period in someone’s life after they have stopped working because they reached a particular age”. No matter where I look to research the subject, I am surrounded by images of older people living it large. Yeah, retirement is really associated with age.
Why should this bother me so much? Because this week I had a meeting with my employer that confirmed that they are going to terminate my employment. I knew it was coming and as I told my Head of Service, there is really no other decision available for us. My illness is such that the usual options of redeployment, secondment or adjustment are just not going to work.
So here I am at the grand old age of 38, having to retire on medical grounds!!!
Being unemployed is not my concern – my parents raised me not to be afraid of work and instilled me with a strong work ethic. No, my problem is finding that I am now unemployable. In other words,
I am now useless for the thing I have spent 23 years learning the skills and training for.
Yeah, that’s the thought that keeps stopping me too.
Work plays such a significant role in our daily lives too. It pays the bills and provides the finance to meet other responsibilities. It takes up whole chunks of our time and thought processes. It puts us into regular contact with other people – granted, not all of these interactions are wanted, but I cannot say that my work days have ever been boring.
It also provides a clearly-defined role and if you work outside of the social work/social care profession, you sometimes get credited and praised for your efforts. [Note to Careers Advisors: You really need to stress this point to all those impressionable young minds coming into the work force]
I have loved all my years in social work. The crazy characters (both service users and work colleagues); the stupid hours (I once spent 2 years working 60-80 hour weeks = leaving home for work and not coming home for 3 days) as well as the mind-bending structures and policies I’ve had to work with. And let’s not forget other people’s perception of what it is I do.
And now Ladies and Gentlemen, I find myself bereft. In March 2013, I shall enter retirement and the thought is too big to handle right now.
Part of the hurt is being gutted that all that I have worked towards and the things I planned to do with it, are no longer possible. Because despite having all this time on my hands, my illness does not allow me to make the most of it.
- I am unable to explore all those museums and exhibits that I would like to because I cannot leave the house unaccompanied.
- Even when friends and family take time off to accompany me on trips, the frequency and unpredictability of the episodes mean that I am regularly too sick or physically unable to leave the house.
- Once I am out of the house, the frequency and unpredictability of the episodes mean that I am regularly in no fit state (sight, hearing, speech and mobility) to perceive the activity let alone enjoy it.
- Basically, the frequency and unpredictability of the episodes mean that I don’t know what state I will be in from hour to hour.
- And as the last 697 days have shown, this situation could continue indefinitely.
I know that this is not the end; it just feels a little like it.
I would insist on holding a minute’s silence to commemorate this grand event if it weren’t for the fact that my sobbing would be too loud to ignore.
Laugh with me peeps, because right now … I feel a little broken.
This piece was written and submitted as part of WordPress.com’s Weekly Writing Challenge. The writing challenges are designed to “help you to push your writing boundaries, show off your blogging chops, and, hopefully, spark more post ideas”. The posts should be specifically written in response to the challenge set.
This week’s challenge was to “Detail a three to five step story or process, and illustrate each of the steps with something visual”. You can see how other bloggers responded to the challenge, on Image vs. Text.
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AUTHOR: I am might war. I have a love of music, the written word, travel, Anime, polar bears, people and “sticking and colouring”.