This is not the blog I intended to write but I cannot let this day go by without recognition of its importance. I have never set out to be gratuitously offensive in this blog which is why the ‘c’ word doesn’t figure. If swearing is required then so be it but only if the plot demands it. Like actors saying they will take their clothes off if the plot merits it. But now I’m going to use the ‘c’ word. The one that relates to the title of course. My daughter when texting me said the ‘c’ word no longer figured in her vocabulary’ and now it doesn’t have to hover over mine like the all-consuming, black, plague cloud from hell. Too strong? No, I don’t think so. The single worse sporting experience of my life has finished. No more depressing starts to the day, a reduction in frequency of gloating (hate it even more when they try to be nice, it just doesn’t suit them) from Aussie chums – you can’t expect them to give up the glory too quickly. For 4 long years we don’t need to hear any more about The Ashes. May they burn in hell.
So, Happy New Year – again. You’ll see why I say that in a moment. As I have suggested, this is not the blog I had intended to write first up this New Year but then something happened that took me by surprise. I had intended to write a blog, at this point, about my New Year goals but that will have to wait along with the beginning of a series of blogs on self esteem that I have in mind. The surprise was when my wife came into the bedroom to find me in bed with the puppies, no surprise there, that’s pretty much our routine. No the surprise was when she said this feels like the beginning of our retirement (third age) proper not when we actually retired in September. Funny thing was I had had exactly the same thought. Not quite sure why we should have this feeling but we did, that’s what matters. But, Happy New Year, we thought – see above.
We had discussed over the holidays about starting to develop a slightly different routine, somewhat more structured format, to our days in 2014. One of those New Year goals I’ve not yet publicised here, was to put my writing on a somewhat more organised, I hesitate to use the word ‘professional’, but kind of, basis. In addition, my wife wanted, as suggested earlier, to have a place to continue her stained glass work and that place was our summerhouse. As I sit at the table, I can see her tidying out the summerhouse in preparation for her great works. Obviously the image on this blog heading should have her bent over her workbench rather than me and my laptop. Live and learn.
There was an article in yesterday’s Observer about what they described as a growing number of ‘olderpreneurs’. i.e men and women of 50 or 60 plus who, for a variety of reasons – redundancy (25%) or retirement (12%), don’t know about the other 63%. I would like to have known. The article said that businesses started by people in their 50s were still in business 70% of the time after 5 years whereas that figure was only 28% in younger people. The article wasn’t great on what we did – the businesses were mostly ‘in the service sector or producing craft items’ – worthy but dull I thought, but then that’s me. The article also reported that in 2009 there had been just over 1.5 million people of 50 plus registered as self employed now the figure stands at 1,766,000. I didn’t think that was a truly impressive increase but never mind, the point is made. Anyways, I thought for a while, maybe we should be thinking in terms of becoming a business. Maybe being an ‘olderpreneur’ is the missing link for us. But I doubt it some how.
So back to the main reason for this blog, the vicissitudes of sport. Now the ‘c’ word has finished at least in its most important form, I can get back to the joys of watching Nottingham Forest struggle to fail in the playoffs – again. But hold still a moment. Yesterday we beat West Ham (admittedly only in the FA Cup and with their youth team, never mind) we beat them 5-0. And here’s the rub and maybe even a profound message, I didn’t care about the result before the game and I’m not much excited about it now. I know that sounds like more ammunition for those, mainly football managers, who regard the FA Cup as an irrelevance in the modern game, but of course people of my generation were brought up on such fare, cut our teeth you might say. I was completely devastated when Forest lost to Spurs in the ’91 (was it?) Cup Final and Brian Clough desperately wanted to win the FA Cup but that’s definitely another story. The point is, I think it is anyway, that they, Forest, won and I didn’t care. Let me reframe that, let me take it to another level – they won because I didn’t care.
The Lost Fox, a fellow blogger who attended the same ‘start a blog’ course run by The Guardian and The Gentle Author, as I did, writes about giving up supporting Leicester City after many, many years, giving away every, (the items were listed on her first blog and the list was extensive), piece of fan memorabilia and going off to support St Albans Town. I beg to suggest that it is no coincidence that since she did, Leicester City are now top of the championship. I don’t know of course whether she still secretly has a passion for Leicester City my supposition is that she does not otherwise they wouldn’t now be successful!
So that is my thesis, it’s taken a while to get there but I have it now. It is that in order to be successful you have not to give a shit. You know it occurs to me that I’ve been taking this retirement business too seriously. Far from trying to take control of the whole thing, far from speculating about becoming an ‘olderpreneur’ or whatever my new identity might be, I should adopt the position of – I don’t give a shit. Is that the secret of a happy retirement?