Back in September 1976, aged twenty one, I started my teaching career in full-time employment at Whitefriars Junior School in Rushden and spent 18 very happy years there before moving on to other posts and other schools in the county.
I remember thinking then that I had approximately 39 years before I could put my slippers on and retire. At that age, that length of time seemed an eternity and the word ‘retirement’ was locked away in my mind.
Sadly, due to a diagnosis of breast cancer, at the age of 46, my teaching career came to an abrupt and a very sad end when I was forced to take early retirement.
However, having a very positive outlook on life, I chose not to dwell on this for too long and put my energies into making a success of our charity, thus helping people as I hoped I would have done whilst at school, having fun and making the most of life.
Having to change my lifestyle completely, the age of 60 came to my mind when I knew I would be able to draw on my old age pension – that is until the Government decided to widen the goal posts and I was informed I would be 64 years, 6 months and 27 days old when I received my first pension payment.
This was a blow but it had to be accepted.
For years I have kept such information on a post-it on my notice board to remind me.
Imagine my surprise this last week when I received a letter from the Pensions Services saying that my pension would now be paid on my 66th birthday with the cut-off date for such changes being just three days before this significant birth date.
I was born three days too late – those three days costing me two whole years of additional working life.
When is this going to end? I now have to plan my life yet again and think ahead to the future, as do many other people of my age and those younger than me.
I’m not afraid of hard work, and never have been, but I do wonder how physically and mentally I will be nine years on and what I am able to offer.
I just hope work places provide the necessary zimmer frames and other resources to cope with the barrage of ‘oldies’ turning up for a full day’s work!
For now, I have my work cut out to ensure our forthcoming walk in March is a success with the ‘retirement’ word shut away again until perhaps I receive a further update with another revised age to contend with!