‘Life Doesn’t Stop When You Reach Retirement’

My uniform, pressed as usual by my devoted husband, lay hanging on the back of our bedroom door and I looked at it with a wary sense of familiarity. Funerals not withstanding, this would probably be the last time that I’d wear these colours. Where would I be without them? Where will I be without them?

Retirement had come sneaking up on me like a thief in the night. Although my colleagues and friends had been jokingly nudging me about it for years, I’d managed to shrug of the impending date and keep my head firmly screwed on throughout. There was no point pushing myself out of my well-worn routine for the sake of my upcoming retirement, I needed to stay sharp right to the end.

It wasn’t until that final day on the beat that I really allowed my mind to look forward into the future. I was in good health, with a husband who cared for me and I had enough money to see me through for the rest of my years, but now that felt like an awful long time and I realised that without my daily routine there was suddenly a lot of hours in the day to fill.

I carried these private thoughts and worries in my mind for the day, a look of consternation adorning my face that wasn’t washed off until my first pint down the pub.

‘Life doesn’t end when you reach retirement!’ That’s what my chief said as he led me through to the function room at the back of the pub, where the entire force waited to wish me well and get me thoroughly drunk in the proceeding.

My alarm clock rang at the usual time the next day, but my uniform didn’t hang in the familiar place on the door. A pink fluffy dressing gown hung in its place, the kind that would usually be reserved for after a long bath on a Sunday, except it was Tuesday and, other than a rather stinking hangover, it felt like a day that I should be at work, not lounging in a dressing gown.

I made myself a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea, then watched about half an hour of Loose Women before picking myself off the sofa, showering and heading out on a run. I’d not given myself a proper chance to get used to the notion of how I would go about my retirement, but as I put one step in front of the other and increased the pace of my stride, I felt the worries dissipate and my confidence renew.

My Chief was right. Life doesn’t end when you reach retirement age, at least not for someone like me. Despite my age, I’ve still got a thirst for exploring myself and the world around me. I’ve got all the time in the world to do this and I can’t wait to get started.