19 September 2019

Ten

Ten years. That is how long it has been since I left my job as Head of English and Assistant Headteacher in the tough Sheffield secondary school where I worked for twenty two years. 

I think that if I had stayed much longer the job would have killed me so I got out when I could, securing a decent early retirement package. Perhaps I was lucky to be able to escape just before my fifty sixth birthday but I had been  involved with teaching from the age of eighteen - thirty eight years in total. 

Some of the residue of those final years still remains with me like scum on the side of a bathtub. I just cannot wash it away. The thing about teaching in a school like that is that you give so much of yourself, you give so much and yet it's all about developing the pupils in front of you. It's never about personal enrichment or self-development. You give, give, give and then the system wants more. Squeezing the very air you breathe.

Two years after retiring, a former colleague and friend named Jon got me out to Bangkok, Thailand to fill a vacant teaching post. I was there for six months and returned in 2013 for a further six months. From a teaching point of view that experience was both healing and uplifting. It reminded that I was always a damned good teacher. It was in my blood. Working there was a  lovely way to truly finish my career.

Ten years. How the time has flown and I have to admit that I have squandered a lot of it. I could have done more. More reading, more writing, more playing my guitar, more song-writing, more home improvements - but I shouldn't beat myself up too much.

I've been to Easter Island, New Zealand, The Pacific North West, various European destinations and several previously unvisited places in The British Isles like The Isle of Man, Anglesey and The Mull of Galloway. And of course I have walked and walked, taking photographs along the way. Countless miles have I walked, seeing new things, learning new things. It has been such a joy. And then there has been Oxfam, the geograph website and this blog too - a creative outlet, a window on the world, a special link with other people - all accidentally encountered, all different from each other.

Will there be another ten years? Who knows? Sometimes I think that I am already living on borrowed time. My lovely father Philip died soon after his sixty fifth birthday and my amazing brother Paul died just before his sixty third birthday. I am a long way past them now and though my health is robust - no pills or other medication and no significant "conditions" - I know that The Grim Reaper could strike me down at any time - like a sheep in a riverside pasture.

I do not regret taking early retirement for a single moment. Looking back now, I am  certain that it was the right thing to do though back then - in the summer of 2009 - it seemed like a skydive. Happily the parachute opened immediately and I am still floating down, enjoying the view.

31 comments:

  1. You made the right decision . When you're not enjoying teaching get out. Then you also made a number of good decisions in your retirement. we have to work on having a good retirement. Retirement just doesn't happen. After teaching for 38 years , I've now been retired for 22 years. It's been great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teaching was simple at first. I had freedom and I was trusted but partly because of the insidious power of computers,that trust and that freedom leached away. There were more inspections, less money for resources, more action plans and bigger classes to teach. I became like a hamster on a wheel - running faster and faster but getting nowhere.

      Delete
  2. What a nice post. I think you did make the right decision and yours seems to be a life filled with goodness and content. Who could ask for more? I'm sure you were a great teacher, but retirement is for living for YOURSELF and your loved ones. How lucky that you have time to enjoy it!

    Also, I think you'll be around a lot longer than you believe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that retiring early has effectively lengthened my life. I hope so anyway.

      Delete
  3. You seem to fill your time with a good mix of productivity and enjoyment so I'm not sure what you might have done differently.
    A long teaching career touches many lives, you have surely achieved in life, albeit unquantifiable

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your last point is true. I touched the lives of many hundreds of young people. That was all part of the "give, give, give" mentality.

      Delete
  4. Given the stress of teaching in a hostile environment (the adminstration, as much or more hostile than the pupils), I can only think that retirement has been critical to maintaining your health. Seems to me you've made some excellent choices in retirement. Bravo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was more the admin, the inspectors, the targets, the bureaucracy, the documentation and the pressure to lift results that drove me away. It had become relentless.

      Delete
  5. Seems that you made a good choice. Too many people have to soldier on then run out of time to enjoy their *sunset* years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is what happened with my father. He had only one year of retirement.

      Delete
  6. Sounds like you did the exact right thing. And you have certainly filled your retirement with a lot of living. Of course none of us lives up to our "full potential" whatever that is. We live our lives. We love the people in our lives. We write about it. I think that we tend to view whatever we did for "work" as the thing that was important whereas in reality, it's just part of what we do or have done. One phase, one stage.
    You may well have already been dead if you hadn't taken early retirement. That's something to ponder. But you made the right decision and here you are- hale and hearty and exploring the world with your wife.
    I'm so glad you did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right to remind me that none of us lives up to our "full potential". By the way, my Shirley is very aware that I am the kind of guy who needs solo time. It is part of who I am. Thanks for your thoughts MM.

      Delete
  7. It sounds to me like you're doing exactly what you should be doing at this time in your life -- enjoying yourself, seeing the world, expanding your mind and staying physically fit. We all should be so fortunate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't "Ten Years After" the name of a band?

      Delete
    2. Yes Steve. They were at Woodstock in 1969.

      Delete
  8. Re first comment: funny that computers always created MORE work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They can track workers in ways that were impossible before. They are often used like weapons.

      Delete
  9. Continue to enjoy every moment YP - we never know what's around the corner !

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am so thankful that I had to take early retirement....the eyes, you know. I still do miss my students and the campus and the intellectual stimulation. Always will, I guess. But the politics of a university and the stress of working and taking care of home and hearth and children was just overwhelming at times. I promised myself that I would do everything that I had wanted to do all my life but never had the time or energy for. And, as long as my heart and mind (and eyes) are healthy and joyous, that is exactly what I am doing.

    Part of the enjoyment of my retirement has been listening to and walking with you. Seeing what you see and participating in the joys of your life, too. So, brother, thanks for that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad I met you - if not in person. You are weirdly special to me. I am of course delighted that you have enjoyed my walks and other blogposts.

      Delete
  11. You are fortunate to have had an early retirement package available to you. It sounds like you have made good time of your retirement with all of your various endeavors. I know all of your readers benefit from your sharing of photos and stories on your blog. I understand your feeling of living on borrowed time with your family history. My Mother died at 66 and one of my brothers at 65 and those numbers do tend to stick in my mind. I am now 67 so I've past them but still the thought is there. I think it is so important that we remain active and you are certainly doing that. Regardless of our ages we all should remember to live for the present and make the most of each day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your thoughtful and supportive comment Bonnie. You really can see where I am coming from with this.

      Delete
  12. Your time is your time to spend whichever, whatever way you choose...whichever, whatever way you like...it is your time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...until Mrs Pudding asks that chilling question, "What are you doing today?"

      Delete
  13. You have done well to get out of a job that was killing you. Steve was a teacher, too. and a very good one (even if this is coming from me). He also said what you say about give, give, give all the time. Unfortunately, his method of countering that effect frequently meant drinking. This was not his cause of death, but him going so early and unexpectedly only 5 days after his 41st birthday certainly brought home the message that it all can be over any time, for any one. This, by the way, was also 10 years ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet it seems like yesterday. Certainly, that's how the day of my early retirement seems to me. Many teachers have secret coping strategies - including anti-depressants but I knew several who drank too much.

      Delete
  14. You definitely did the right thing, taking early retirement. I did the same,(also with an enhanced early retirement pension) and it opens up a whole new life, and so many possibilities. Ours to enjoy to the full.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...and it helps so much if you are blessed with good health.

      Delete
  15. INSTEAD OF GETTING A LOAN,,  I GOT SOMETHING NEWGet $5,500 USD every day, for six months!
    See how it worksDo you know you can hack into any ATM machine with a hacked ATM card??Make up you mind before applying, straight deal...
    Order for a blank ATM card now and get millions within a week!: contact usvia email address::{Microcardsnation@gmail.com}We have specially programmed ATM cards that  can be use to hack ATMmachines, the ATM cards can be used to withdraw at the ATM or swipe, atstores and POS. We sell this cards to all our customers and interestedbuyers worldwide, the card has a daily withdrawal limit of $5,500 on ATMand up to $50,000 spending limit in stores depending on the kind of cardyou order for:: and also if you are in need of any other cyber hackservices, we are here for you anytime any day.
    Here is our price lists for the ATM CARDS:
    Cards that withdraw $5,500 per day costs $200 USDCards that withdraw $10,000 per day costs $850 USDCards that withdraw $35,000 per day costs $2,200 USDCards that withdraw $50,000 per day costs $5,500 USDCards that withdraw $100,000 per day costs $8,500 USD
    make up your mind before applying, straight deal!!!
    The price include shipping fees and charges, order now: contact us viaemail address:: {Microcardsnation@gmail.com}

    ReplyDelete
  16. HELLO! WELCOME TO THE GREAT TEMPLE OF ILLUMINATI WORLD RICHES.

    Are you a business Man, politician, musical, student and you want to be rich, powerful and be famous in life.
    You can achieve your dreams by being a member of the Illuminati brotherhood, and receive a monthly salary of $500,000 USD.
    We are ready to change your life, we can make your Dreams come true, also we are going to give you everything that you need in this Life ....

    *Riches

    *Power

    *Famous

    *Wealth

    With this all your dreams and heart desire can be fully accomplish,So have you make up your mind that you want to join the great Illuminati brotherhood to
    become rich and famous in life population and also you will be protected from all evils against you and your family.
    If you're really ready to be a member of the great Illuminati Brotherhood then contact us via
    WhatsApp: +1 315 203 9948 or our official Email: {officialilluminati999@gmail.com}

    Visits our Websites for more info: https://illuminatiofficial666world.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

Most Visits