Monday, November 09, 2009

Huvtaes galore

My pal Kenny's been blogging about having a day off work, coinciding nicely with my thoughts today on what to some must seem like a life of days off - this retirement business.One of the things I joked about missing when I first stopped work was the absence of a proper "sickie" - because if you're not staying off work because you have a bug of some kind, there seems little point in actually taking to your bed for a day. No, you just slope miserably around doing things in a half-hearted sort of way that doesn't seem all that different from normal life - not the same thing at all.

But more seriously, now that I'm on my 5th year of retirement I've realised that there are people who retire properly and people who seem to miss that particular boat. I'm one of the latter group, as is Mr B. There are people who retire and find themselves without a single obligation in their lives - not a single "huvtae" to impose a deadline or produce a modicum of stress. They do what they like when they want to, and don't give it a thought: they're retired, after all. And then there's me and people like me. Ok, a lot of it's church - and I'm not talking just turning up on a Sunday. And it's not actually religious faith putting on the pressure - it's people, and the need not to let them down, and the difficulty in saying "no". Perhaps the tasks and obligations look interesting, fulfilling, even, so you say "yes" - and suddenly your life takes on the familiar structure where there are no weeks where you can see clear space of more than a day at a time.

Add to that any little job related to your past life that you take on because you know you can do it and it might be fun and anyway it'll pay for that new suite you've rashly ordered. It turns out to have a deadline and suddenly you're rushing home at 4.30pm to get a couple of hours' work on it before, domestic goddess that you are, you produce a wonderful meal. (The DG bit keeps cropping up, by the way, just as it always did when you were working - it's just that you thought you'd have more time for it and you don't)

It was, however, pointed out to me today that I'd probably be bored if I had no huvtaes. I have, after all, chosen my burdens - most of them, anyway. So I'll just carry on singing and writing and planning concerts and writing exams and blogging and preaching and attending synods and running discussion groups and performing in workshops and ... and ...

And I'll enjoy my holidays, which will still feel like holidays. And I won't ever know what boredom feels like.


  1. Hello Chris. Sounds as if you have reitred from the job but not from the human race. John Wesley's prayer comes to mind, "Lord let me not live to be useless". Your neologism "huvtae" sounds like an interesting theme for a sermon on 'the love of Christ constrains me...", maybe with the title "Being loved means ah huvtae..." Anyway, glad you're as busy as you want to be. Blessings from here.
    The word verification for this comment is "bluga" - can a reitred English teacher make anything of such a word? :)yara

  2. Managed to spell the word "retired" wrong twice in the same comment! At least it's consistent!

  3. May be the fact that you were posting at such an ungodly hour - 5.10am is a tad early for spelling!