Hello everybody, hope your week is going well!
I have been doing a little housekeeping on this website lately, because today is a special day at Maddy at home. I have my very first Guest Poster paying us a visit.
I am pleased to introduce Pradip Chowdhury, a retiree from India who has a few words to say about boredom in retirement.
Cupid you must have heard of, the impish little fellow with a bow and arrow that is forever shadowing lovers. He has a cousin who is less well known. It is Boredom. He wields a blowpipe with which he wreaks mayhem, shooting darts at people who have little to do but twiddle their thumbs all day.
The day came when the office was able to see my boots darken its doorstep for the last time. There was also a chorus wishing me a ‘happy retired life’. I nodded happily all around little knowing what I was letting myself in for.
At home I unpacked the goodbye presents and was thrilled to see that one was a microwave oven and another a dinner set. I also got a box of sweets. My elder daughter immediately confiscated them saying that it was too bad that I could not have them. She does not like sweets either, so I did not know what she did with them.
The day after was glorious. The alarm did go off, but I put in on snooze. I put it back on snooze again after it rang. Then I switched it off. There was to be no cause for further alarm, I decided. Not that I was an early riser, since I was asked to put in my six hours from the afternoon as a journalist.
More often than not, the six hours stretched to eight hours and sometimes to twelve. I did my work willingly. It was a profession I chose and was glad of the opportunity to do my best. Though I was a deskman I did outdoor assignments too. Sometimes in the city, other times in the districts or other towns. Those were happy days.
Then it all came to a full stop. I would look at the clock and then back again. The hands had moved only two minutes or so. It was amazing to me how time could stand still. This was never the case when I was in office. Copies kept pouring into my terminal, there were queries from the juniors which had to be answered or the juniors had to be helped. Sometimes there was a lull in the traffic flow, when a quick chat with friends in the department was in order.
For quite a few days I parked myself at home with the television and internet. But their attraction slowly began to fade. During office days I would be on the internet in the mornings and again late at night. Now the whole day was my own.
I was always the lazy kind and did not think of taking walks, though it was there at the back of the mind. One day I did set out. I worked out a route in the neighbourhood and a bit beyond which took me an hour to negotiate. But that was good for a couple of months only. It soon became a boring routine.
I thought of turning to my cameras and lenses that I had bought thinking that photography would be a profitable pastime. It worked for a while. There were a few places in Kolkata of historical and tourist interest which I photographed. I would take the small car that I bought after retirement and would try to interest myself in photography.
There was the annual flower show and the handicrafts fairs that I frequented. But they came only once a year. That was a stumbling block. Street photography was possible, but I was too lazy to tramp miles with the camera. And, it was not profitable either.
Time grew heavier and heavier. Morning was followed by afternoon, evening and night. All had many hours to them which I did not know what to do with. Eating provided a break in schedule, but I did not look forward to them. The doctor had ruled out most food that I relished. I had to settle for insipid fare and remain unhappily content.
I had very few friends and though they lived in the same city they lived too far away. Moreover I realised that my free time did not mean that they had the requisite free time.
There was a cousin brother who had retired a decade earlier to me from a very responsible and senior position. When I went to compare notes, I found that he was worse off. He had a beautiful flat and a lovely car. But he did not even go downstairs now. Their flat was near a lake, but its beauty must have soured on him.
A few friends advised that I could look for work for retired people. But it did not work out.
Therefore I sit at home with the car in the garage and my cameras packed away staring at the hands of the clock and wondering when it would move even a little bit. Boredom, meanwhile, squats on my shoulders and keeps shooting darts at me through his blowpipe. All I can do is squirm and twiddle my thumbs at him.
Photo Attribution – Cerbatana Tlacalhuazcuahuitl Bodley p38″ by Unknown – Codex Bodley.
Thank you so much Pradip for leading the way as a guest poster! I think many of us will identify with those feelings of not knowing quite what to do next when we have no commute, no office and no contact with former colleagues. Retirement transition can be a challenge. To those still working, not having to get up sounds like what they have always wanted, but to those of us who are retired, the novelty soon wears off! Suddenly we have less in common with most of the people that we know, and we are moving at a different pace, almost in a different timezone. Time, that has constantly eluded us over the course of our working lives, can now hang heavy on our hands.
Do you have a story to tell? Feelings to express about your experience of retirement or growing older? If you would like to contribute to my blog as a guest, please write a few words. You don’t need to be in any way tech savvy or an internet wizard. All you need to do is to email your guest post to me at email@example.com. If you have one or two appropriate images that could be used you could attach them as well, but if not I will be happy to find something and ask you to approve before I publish.
If you have any interesting older friends who are not on “wifi” or internet, I would be happy for you to send me their stories as well. Here is a list of topics that might inspire if you are not sure where to start!
Time on my hands
A letter to my younger self
What I want my grandchildren to know
The empty nest
What I would do differently
If I ruled the world