Sorry to bang on a bit about age but at my, well, it has to be said – age, it does prey on my mind.
I mean, no sooner have I got used to supposedly being of an age to be classed as a “Silver Surfer” (and I’m talking websites rather than the more enviable comic book hero variety), than now I have to deal with the likelihood of being described as a potential member of the “wellderly.”
It’s partly Beryl Renwick (aged 86) and Betty Smith’s (tipping 90) fault. Ever since they won a Sony Radio award for their BBC local radio chat show the spotlight has started to shine again on the “fit and active older people who are making the most of their retirement” – in other words, the “wellderly.”
Yes, just as I was planning to think about what I won’t be doing when I stumble across that 65-year-old finishing line (before the Government in its infinite wisdom starts moving the goalposts further into old age), I’m now supposed to feel guilty that my plans do not include climbing Mount Everest for charity (there isn’t room up there anyway), setting up a new business where I can work even more hours than I already clock up, or constructing a fresh water irrigation trench across the more scorching parts of some African desert.
I do not want to pose for a photograph with the likes of June Whitfield like 80-year-old Keith Paterson did when he became Age UK’s joint Internet Champion of the Year 2012 for setting up and running silverhairs.co.uk, a website providing information for the aforementioned “Silver Surfers.” Though more power to him and his SS legion.
Nor do I want to become a community paediatrician like Dawn Ryder, aged 66, who decided a post retirement luxury cruise holiday was “too self indulgent.”
Well, excuse me. After slogging it out all these years I actually quite fancy a bit of self indulgence – though the way the pension is contracting there will be more “self” and less “indulge.” But I’d like time to listen to the records and CDs which I’ve only heard once. I’d like to read some of the books which I’ve previously started, discarded and then forgotten about.
I’m jolly pleased that the number of “silver workers” is up 41 per cent in the past five years and nearly double what it was 20 years ago.
I just wonder how many of the 8.7 per cent of over 65s still employed actually want to be as compared to how many of them have to be.