The sun is shining; spring is here and it's on days like these that my thoughts start to wander...
I am approaching retirement age at an alarming rate and often think how I want to spend, what many refer to as, "the twilight years." I don't quite see it like that. To me, it is what I have been working towards all my life. Time to myself to do all the things that haven't been done because work got in the way. Time to see more of family and friends, particularly those who are not close by. Time for an extended holiday if I'm lucky. Time to just do nothing in particular if that's how I feel on any given day.
I also find myself dreaming of moving away. There. I've said it! Even as I write the sentence I can feel little needles of guilt stabbing at my heart. Let me explain.
I've lived near London for most of my life and used to enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life, but now find that certain aspects wear me down. I would say that traffic is the biggest bugbear with the constant fight for every inch of space on the roads; forever searching for the elusive parking space and paying ever increasing fees. These days it seems that city people have no time to get to know their neighbours and have lost all sense of community. Many have even forgotten the most basic of manners and courtesy as they rush around in their busy lives.
I long for a more relaxed pace of life; to have neighbours who look out for each other and have time for a chat over the fence; to wake up to a pretty view of hills, countryside or even the sea, rather than someone else’s washing line! Somewhere like Cornwall would be great; dramatic coastline, crashing waves, rugged moors, walks on the sand, cider...
I'm dreaming again because, whenever we mention it to the family, the same objections arise.
"It's so far away, we'll never see you", is the most frequent worry. It's true that Cornwall is a long way, but what a place to visit for free holidays! Quality time rather than quantity.
"You're leaving all your friends behind and at your age it will be hard to make new ones," is another concern; the assumption being that we will be at home every night with a cup of cocoa, the television and knitting! I beg to differ. We would embrace the chance to become involved in the local community. Not to mention all the new hobbies we would like to try.
"What about the grandchildren?" This is where the argument falls apart, all my brave talk fades away and those little needles start stabbing again. It would be sad if we missed the chance to see them grow up and sad for them if we were missing from their everyday lives. As a close family, this is almost unthinkable. Having said all that, there is a part of me that resents feeling this way. It should be our time now. Our babysitting services shouldn't be taken for granted. Having supported our children in all the ups and downs of their lives why can't they be happy for us and wave us off with a smile. The truth is, it's a step too far for all of us. The little needles have become daggers and the pain would be too much to take. So, for now, I can only dream...