Easing into a life of retirement

Easing into a life of retirement

But one routine that I followed religiously was my evening walk to the neighbourhood park which has helped me maintain my physical and mental well-being.

Rama Kashyap

Four years ago, when I was dressing up to go to the college, my workplace for one last time, I could feel a tightening in my stomach. I had a sinking feeling as I bid adieu to the institution where I spent more than three-and-a-half decades of my life in a profession that I loved.

After D-day, the prefix ‘retired’ became a reality, though not palatable. It was not easy to deal with the upheaval in life — no monthly salary, loss of position and change in routine. All dressed up but nowhere to go became a norm. Suddenly, there was plenty of time, but I didn't know what to do with it. I was confused and dazed, missing the hustle and bustle of the college, my classes, and my students. I realised that not just my books, but also saris, my prized possession collected so lovingly over the years, had become worthless.

For the initial few months, I was bewildered, but then began the period of reconciliation with the new reality. Applying brakes to a fast-paced life was not easy, but I made a conscious effort to shift from high speed to slow motion. With no urgency to rush, I started doing things at my own time and pace. Like air that fills the available space, I tried to reschedule my activities to fill the time at my disposal.

At a time when I was learning to cope with the change, the pandemic hit, hastening the process of adjustment. Whatever urge I had to go out was compulsorily put to rest by Covid restrictions. Staying at home became a habit. But one routine that I followed religiously was my evening walk to the neighbourhood park which has helped me maintain my physical and mental well-being. I try to engage myself in pursuits and hobbies that keep me pepped up and happy.

Covid has drastically changed everyone’s life, but I am thankful my life hasn’t changed much as a retiree. When I look around, I find distress everywhere. Business is down, the working class is haunted by job loss and salary cut. With ‘work from home’ becoming a new norm, the office has intruded into people’s homes, upsetting their lifestyle. I feel sad to see small children pinned down in front of the screen for their classes. When they should be playing out with their peers, attending school, they are confined within the four walls of their homes. For the youngsters, the excitement of college life has been replaced by the monotony of online lectures. Those at the threshold of career face uncertainty. As I compare myself to others, I realise how much better placed I am.

Covid has taught me to count my blessings, and be grateful to the Almighty for small mercies. Whatever retirement blues I had four years ago are gone. Now, I am at ease with the retired and relaxed phase of life and I love it.

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