I completed a year of retirement on June 1, having spent 37 years working for the same company.
Immediately after hanging up my boots, I wrote about how beautiful an experience it was, even though a lot of my friends and readers disagreed, saying one month was too short a period to decide, insisting it was the ‘honeymoon’ phase, which would soon end.
Though I did respect their point of view, a year later, I can safely say life as a retiree is indeed wonderful and has many positives.
I recall having met Dr Mustafa Al Sayed immediately after I retired and he asked me to write about my experience without having to go to work.
Just for the record, I worked under Dr Al Sayed’s leadership at GPIC, when he was at the helm for 16 years as general manager, so I took his word for it and wrote an article.
It would, however, be unfair if I were to mention all his virtues as well as accomplishments, whether at the GPIC or elsewhere, in this limited space so I will keep that for another time.
Returning to the topic, I feel retirement is beautiful and enjoyable, provided that the opportunity is well utilised. There are a lot of things that we might have missed while we were involved in the hustle and bustle of work life, taking care of our responsibilities and pressures. Then there were the additional worries about medical conditions, for which I squarely blame the lifestyle and not caring for one’s own health.
Life was fast and there was no time to accomplish many things I wanted to do but now I am able to do exactly what pleases me and what I love doing – at leisure and pleasure.
There is now no longer any pressure of work and domestic responsibilities and this in itself is the most important positive.
I now have the freedom to take my own decisions on where I have to travel, what I have to read, and when, indulge in hobbies and other activities, communicate with family and friends and relish home-cooked food as well as indulge outside when I feel like it and without any restrictions.
But, by far, the most important is being free from hypocrisy and unwanted compliments – as well as the real friends being identified from among the many that I had when I was working.
A friend, who is now 40, is almost a replica of what I was when I was his age – with little or no concern for his diet or physical fitness and exercise, etc. It is not that he does not want to but because he is so preoccupied with his work that he does not get any free time to call his own.
They say life begins at 40, so my advice to my ‘young’ friend is not to neglect his health since ‘health is wealth.’ Today, I am suffering from the consequences of my neglect of what I should have also focused on and I would not wish the same on anyone else.
I hope youngsters will take my advice seriously so that they do not have to regret later on.
May the Lord give everyone good health and fitness and may all of you out there get this message – life is beautiful after retirement.