I am setting out on my first year of retirement. It is an interesting, if daunting, change of life circumstances. There are opportunities as well as the possibility of many many problems and of course there is the need to adapt to a new routine, being at home a lot more and feeling that I have a role to play in society and that my new status does not define me as a “has been” and someone just taking the long (or short) road to extinction.
I have had a long time to prepare for this, in that I knew that this was coming for about three months now (I was a casualty of the public service cutbacks due to the financial recession/downturn). I thought about the negative emotions that I have expressed in the previous paragraph but I also began to see the possibilities of freeing myself up to contribute to society in a new way, to extend my learning using this wonderful thing called “The Web” and also the chance to get the time to explore the wonders of the environment that I live in or just to be able to take my dog for an extra walk every day!
The future for me is uncertain but then again it is uncertain for everyone. I realise only too well that we are going through a societal change of huge proportions and that I have lived long enough to experience a time of revolution after a period of comparative calm (give or take the odd War here and there).
It is fascinating as well as very very scary. I was brought up in an era that had small changes that seemed to change everything but left things feeling very much as they always were. Then along came Mr Jobs and Mr Gates and they seemed to change the way we lived and events suddenly gained a speed and momentum that were overwhelming us.
I did not foresee the revolutions in the Arab World, I did not see the power of the internet during the London Riots or the fact that the world would react to a few people saying that the economic divide was ridiculous and should not be like this, who set themselves down in Wall Street and protested using placards and their voices.
On 31st December, I wrote the following Tweet:
My predictions for 2012 is that, in our ever changing world, all predictions will probably not happen and the unlikely and unforeseen will.
We really do live in an “Age of Uncertainty” and we have to learn to embrace this fact and try to adapt to the inevitable changes that will happen in our lives and in the lives of our fellow human beings across the world.
Our children are going to grow up in this increasingly uncertain world and they will need to have the skills to adapt to the many changes that they will see in their lives. The best thing that we can give them is the ability to be flexible and to understand uncertainty. We should tell them that they live in a time of great change and that the future is uncertain but it is not necessarily something to fear as it also has in it many many opportunities that can and will enrich their lives.
As a newly retired person I am also having to learn these lessons… the future for me may be uncertain but it can also be exciting and some of the best years that I will have lived in my short time on this planet.