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An inevitable conclusion

Comment
By Jackie Beedie


Growing old is not easy. Gaining wisdom and experience as you move along life’s trail does allow you to fit into more responsible positions and does result in higher remuneration, which is good up to a point.

But it comes with more and more aching joints, it takes you longer to get out of the car or even a seat, paracetamol and ibuprofen are your breakfast and 10 o’clock is a late night.

When you retire you are supposed to be able to enjoy many happy years of leisure, where each and every day is a Saturday because there is no work.

This causes its own problems because many people are not able to adjust to having no purpose, as they felt defined by their work.

Quite a high percentage of these fail at retirement.

Unless they can find a new purpose they effectively shrivel up and die far to early.

The secret is to find something to apply yourself to, it could be volunteering for a charity, getting involved in local politics and becoming a councillor or even determining to make yourself the best at golf, bowling or some other sedentary sport.

A good friend of mine, who many of you in Bahrain will know, retired many years ago and has spent the last eight years as a county councillor in Somerset, UK.

He he busier now than he ever was at work, but even though he does not get paid he is loving it and it is keeping him healthy.

However, no matter how much or little you do there comes a time for all of us when the body starts to break down.

For a close relative of ours, her eyes have become a problem.

After a long and very active life, which involved playing sports well into her retirement, she can now see only shadows.

This is particularly cruel, as the rest of her body is very fit for her age.

She has had to be moved into a care home as she could not look after herself at home and her children are spread all over the world.

One of the most distressing things about this situation is that her house needs to be sold.

Her home of over 40 years, with all her life in it, needs to be disposed of.

During a recent holiday in the UK we took a turn helping to clear it out.

It was heartbreaking to be going through a lifetime’s worth of mementos, deciding which should be kept for family members and which should go in the trash.

Looking through papers, diaries and memorabilia is hard, but when you come across one with major significance the tears just flow.

But there is also the house contents.

Furniture can be donated to a charity, which will come and remove it.

But then you have crockery, cutlery, pots, pans and other cookware, irons, hoovers, sheets, blankets, towels and clothes.

Hopefully there may be a grandchild or two at the stage of setting up home who will appreciate all this stuff.

But what do you do with the clothes?

In general, they will be too old, too worn or too out of fashion to be of any use to a high street charity shop, so into the skip they go.

Clearing out someone’s house because they have finished with that part of their life is terribly emotional, but it is a part of the circle of life.

I just hope it is a while before someone has to do it for me or you!

Jackie@JBeedie.com

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