Marc on adjusting to retirement
I suspect Marc's (59) experience of retirement will strike a cord with many of you. I'd love to hear what you think - about the prospect of retirement, or the experience of it. How do you think you'll fill your time? Or how have you?
"I was a communications director - that's marketing and PR - for over 30 years, until I retired four years ago.
The things I missed initially were the camaraderie of being in an office with colleagues and a team and the status, power and sense of who you are as defined by your work successes . I also missed the structure which, ironically, made some of my life easy - you know you’re going to get up in the morning, go to work and come back again at the end of the day. You don’t have to think about it.
What you gain in retirement is the freedom of not having that strict structure. You have much more control over your life in terms what you choose to do and what you do do. You’re not beholden to or reliant on people. Your day is your own, which is daunting, but also fantastic and liberating. The challenge for me was coming to terms with the fact that what might have been deemed as wasting time in the past - like watching TV or going for a walk - aren’t actually wasting time, they’re just living.
Your day is your own, which is daunting but also liberating
The greatest reward the extra time has given me, is to indulge myself - I'm learning to play bridge (I want to get as good as I can) and taking my guiding exams for the the battlefield tours I now do. The tours concentrate on First World War battlefield sites across France and Belgium. I don’t work with a company, I rely on word of mouth and just take people - small groups or individuals - when they want to go. I don’t make any money out of it, I simply love doing it and showing them around the battlefields and explaining the history . The sense of satisfaction and fulfilment matches anything I did in the corporate world.
I haven’t finished taking all the exams yet - they’re to a City and Guilds level. There are 9 parts to them. Presentations, written and oral parts, you’ve got to keep log books of who you’ve taken and what they’ve seen . I’m hoping to finish this year. I’m already an accredited member, but that will give me a full guiding badge. I’ve really spent the past couple of years learning about the Great War and reading around the subject. It defined our society so its living history and still relevant today."