It was one of those days today. A milestone moment. I’d been away to a friend’s mum’s funeral yesterday. Today I had arranged to meet up with an old university friend for breakfast, as she lived nearby. That was a great move, it always is. Each time it is a pleasure.
We met when I was barely 18 and she was just turning 21. That was quite some time ago, I might add. We both studied the same degree and spent hours together eating, drinking, partying, debating, and dancing. Getting together doesn’t happen very often, but like all good friends, we are okay with that, we pick up where we were last time very easily indeed. with a little less dancing.
There was news to share, and updates to be given. Children, careers, volunteering, hobbies, pastimes, art, pandemic responses, health, marriages, and squaring the circle her child at university, quite the list. Then like a bolt out of the blue, she said she had retired, and so had her husband. Wow. I did not see that coming. I probably should’ve.
This woman, with whom I shared my early adult years, and I still see through that lens, was the physical embodiment of that life stage I been contemplating and writing about. A real person, a contemporary, and one of my own generation. Up to that point all I had been doing was imagining, thinking ahead, and pondering concepts of retirement. Everyone who has retired around me so far has been quite a bit older, and not one of my inner circle.
Now retirement, and whatever other stages of career and life choices, had crossed that line that separates fantasy from reality. And I am left to deal with the thoughts and feelings it has generated. There are many questions. Am I envious or jealous? I don’t think so, I have a sort of plan. Do I want the same or the opposite? I mean, do I want to retire early or work much later? Has it made me feel younger or older? It has undeniably made me feel retirement adjacent! Has it derailed my ideas of all of this? Let’s wait and see. One thing for sure, this is now a reality and not the stuff of dreams.