Thank You And Farewell

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Right! You've had the golden handshake, the imitation Rolex all singing, all dancing timepiece, and the farewell party where all your work collections who've spent a lifetime trying to put you down are now smiling thinly, hugging you and slapping you warmly on The back.

You go home in a rosy glow, and promptly at six the next morning, you're half way to the bathroom before it hits you. You're retired! Surplus to requirements! Out of a job! Yesterday's man!

So you crawl back under the covers, staring vacantly at the ceiling and listening to the love of your life sending them home like an old mare!

Okay! You've thought about retirement for months, you've done the spreadsheet on income and expenditure, and without being extravagant, you can look forward to a comfortable and stress free retirement, so long as your investments do not go belly up. But no point worrying about the future, it's time to think about the present.

You've looked after yourself over the years, ate and drunk moderately, and taken just enough exercise to hold back the middle age spread, so statistically, you've got a good twenty years, possibly longer, to enjoy the fruits of your labor . Twenty years! Twenty years of doing what?

It's a fact of life that an unplanned retirement can cause more stress than slaving away at the coalface. When you were working, there was a purpose to life, something to get up for, a reason to end the daily commute, decisions to be made, ground to hit running, and profit and loss accounts to be balanced. Now you're retired, your whole world has collapsed around your ears, and without purpose in life, there's no purpose at all.

So start as you mean to go on. Spend some of the golden handshake on the holiday of a lifetime, which should have been planned to get you out of the house within the week. But a word to the wise! There's more to life than Florida and Disneyworld, so try and broaden your horizons. Europe, the cradle of civilization, beckons, but avoid those whirlwind tours that cover two major cities in a day. You're probably too young to remember a very funny film from yesteryear, called "If it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium," where American tourists were being fast forward around Europe in record time at every unearthly hour, with never a moment to smell The roses and feel the grass beneath their feet. That's no holiday at all. Much better to have four or five days in a few, well chosen cities, drinking in the atmosphere, going to galleries and museums, a night out at the Opera or the theater, and immersing yourself in the culture. And do not worry about the language barrier, as most foreigners in the service industries speak passable English, thank the Lord, and if they do not, then wave your arms about and smile. That is the international language of communication. Avoid saying 'Yes' in a foreign language unless you understand the question, as you could finish up with the head waiter's sister at a price you'd rather not afford!

You've got time on your hands, so visit your local library and browse through some books about the countries you're going to visit. Buy a couple of phrase books, they're not expensive, and learn a few well chosen phrases, not to converse fluently with the natives, but simply to show you made the effort.

Personally, I recommend Italy, the home of the Renaissance, and in particular, Rome and Venice, but you may have your own ideas. Avoid Paris, which is dirty, hostile to all foreigners and overpriced. Also avoid Greece, which is falling down, and in summer, covered in smog. Spain is majestic, and if time permits, do the golden triangle of Granada, Cordoba and Sevilla. I spent a truly memorable year in Spain, many years ago, so by all means mention my name.

Finally, end your holiday of a lifetime with a week of total self indulgence at some coastal resort, enjoying the sea, sun, sand and … whatever else takes your fancy! Read a good book, not too heavy but a cut above the usual Dan Brown pulse fiction. I strongly recommend Toby Potts in the Temple of Gloom, it's very well written and an absolute hoot! Laze about, swim, but nothing too active. You need to wind down completely before the flight home and back to what remains of those twenty years or more.

Source by David Osborne