|The Author At Rest On Some Pointless Beach|
I have been thinking recently about retirement. Perhaps I had better rephrase that - I have been thinking recently about the subject of retirement (after all, you can't really retire from retirement, but let's not get caught up in that tautological whirlpool). My thoughts were stimulated by some recent research carried out on behalf of Skipton Building Society. To those unfamiliar with this country, Skipton is a rather pleasant market town in North Yorkshire and a Building Society is a rather pleasant mutual association owned by its members. Researchers asked some 2,000 Britons what they thought about retirement and which words they most frequently associated with retirement. Most people looked on retirement as a positive experience and the most frequently associated words included "care-free", "relaxing", "holidays", "fun" and "stress-free".
Although I would agree with most of the sentiments expressed by such happy retirees, there was one word missing from the list, one word which I associate with retirement more than most others : "pointless". Before you start writing me off as some work-obsessed saddo, hear me out, for I do not use the word "pointless" in any negative way, to me pointlessness is a glorious philosophy of life. What we do for the vast majority of our lives has a point and if you were unfortunate enough to work in any environment infected with any degree of the science of management, it not only had a point but it had aims, objectives, targets, and self-fulfilling conclusions as well. Work had a point to it and you had to be lucky if that point was not just earning enough money to put food on your table and money in your pension pot. Life was a process of moving from point to point with little or no time for that most wondrous of feelings - pointlessness; aimlessness; irrelevance.
Now that I am retired I worship the irrelevant with religious-like ferocity. I waste my time with all the passion and energy of a stock trader. I wander down intellectual side-streets in search of whatever may come my way. I take instructions from nobody and report back to no one. To me, that is the point of retirement - it is pointless.