To Be Retired or to be Proactive

In this blog I want to explore some of the Political and Emotional aspects of giving up payed work and suggest a few very controversial ideas .
I’ll begin with a metaphor/pun just to clear the air. Could  you go along with the picture of our life being like a road tire, getting a few punctures, being let down then running along smooth again until it begins to get quite worn. It’s time for a retread but not to return to the same old road, but to try a route not taken before. Of course, as in the poem A road less Travelled, you eventually arrive at the same place , Death. But I’m not going to go there, at least for now.
If you been politically active in your life, and voted religiously. I don’t mean voting for Christ! Though it’s no bad thing living your life with the values that he taught.
No I’m referring to using your electoral power. If we are going to consider really retiring from power, surely this means handing over the reins to the younger folk.
What I’m suggesting is that say around 70 plus we should no longer vote for a party or be involved in the running of the country actively . But stand aside and allow the up and coming generations to make the decisions that will affect their futures. Perhaps you don’t trust your children to do the right thing? But if you’ve brought them up with sound values there should be no problem.
In Buddhist teaching the idea of “letting go” is one of the cornerstones of the philosophy . And when we reach retirement age this becomes a reality. Perhaps you aren’t as fortunate as myself, and need to carry on working to have enough to live.
But for many of us this isn’t the case.
When I reached 65 , the retirement age for my job, I was offered a further 5 years work with the benefit of my pension doubling. What a dilemma, as I enjoyed my work but I also realised that I could tighten the belt, downsize, and live a more frugal life. Have more time for my practice and trust that ” when one door closes another opens”
To test this theory out I immediately left for a four month European cycle ride covering; 
France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungry, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland,(joined a Servas Conferance, and wwoofed ) Lithuania, Latvia, ( where I did a ten day retreat ) Estonia, Finland, Sweden and home for tea.
The effect was conclusive I had no desire to take up the job offer, but a thirst for more adventures. To balance this hedonistic tendency, I got involved in voluntary work.
The grey vote will get ever more powerful as the population ages, and that will probably mean a more conservative government, as has just happened in the UK. So what’s wrong with that? Well the polls seem to suggest that the young are not voting, but buying into Russell Brand’s ideas, which have many persuasive points.
So how about the Emotional side of this argument, what does that mean?
Well I’m referring to our spiritual wellbeing. Drop this idea of it being religious, if you check out the meaning your not find religion mentioned. No, it’s more about our inner life, which is often neglected in the hurly-burly of work, marriage, divorce, children you name it.
You now have the time to really explore The Meaning of Life, to disengage, try something new, non productive even. It’s probably a bit late to become a monastic as they often have an age limit, but give it a try!  I once met an Italian Servas lady teacher who was about to go off and spend the rest of her life in an Indian village that she had helped over the years, and who really loved her. See photo.
So is this idea only for the single? I don’t think so, I often hear women complain that they would “like more space”. Perhaps your too attached to your spouse? Worried that they might take off, like the Concord, and go supersonic. Come to think of it, didn’t it get a puncture? 
               Fly me to the moon and let me play amongst the stars. PLG Tony


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