I haven’t written anything in so long, mostly because I haven’t felt that I’ve had anything to write about but also because I’ve been working and so haven’t had as much time to myself. I have had 4 weeks office temp work through a friend in a State Government department in the city, filling in for someone while they were on holidays.
I have to say I’ve had a great time working there and working somewhere with so many people again. For so long I’ve worked in a very small business and it’s been refreshing to work with so many people again about 60 on our floor alone. Being a government department there is always a certain level of uncertainty surrounding job security and the other side of that being that there are, I think, 5 people on the floor who finish up at the end of next week because they are taking voluntary redundancies. Last week while taking around the envelope to collect donations towards a farewell gift for one of those people leaving I met so many more of the people working on the floor.
One of them, Mark, was another of the people taking a voluntary redundancy and his work station was wallpapered in A4 print outs of photos of him and his wife on their overseas travels. I couldn’t help but ask about one photo in particular in which he was on the deck of a ship with upturned icebergs in the background. “Have you been to Antarctica” I asked with admiration and awe. No he hadn’t but the photos were taken off the southern coast of South America and he proceeded to tell me that he and his wife are going back there in September this year. He is very excited about his trip and what for him is now the beginning of his retirement. He shared his maths with me explaining how many weeks pay out he will received and when he can access his super and how at 59 he can continue working for another year and leave with no payout or leave now with his voluntary redundancy and have 52 weeks full pay and take the next year and start enjoying himself and travel which is precisely what he is going to do. He is such a beautiful, happy enthusiastic man on the edge of a great change in his life ready to face it with a sense of adventure in his heart and excited about all the possibilities it offers. I couldn’t help but catch some of his excitement and enthusiasm for life. Mark and I chatted for some time sharing tales of travels, I got some great tips and even managed to give a couple. I am so excited for him and the adventures he is about to embark on, and I’m sure he will have ‘the time of his life’ as he is prepared to do just that.
At the other end of the floor I’ve been working on is Bill, another man taking a voluntary redundancy (VR) and about the same age as Mark, around 60. Bill is also taking his VR and retiring, he plans to spend more time with his grandkids, whose photos wallpaper his work station. Bill doesn’t seem happy at all, nor wonderous or excited. I’d like to think that it is just that Bill is a much more private person not so willing to share his enthusiasm with complete strangers. I’d also like to think of Bill laughing and having fun with and enjoying his grandchildren and not as the gruff, dour faced old man who I’ve seen the past few weeks.
What an amazing precipice to be standing on the edge of! I can only imagine the feelings of uncertainty, fear, wonder, excitement, possibility, anticipation, expectations, potential emptiness, fullness, fulfilment of lifelong dreams, disappointment and so many other potential outcomes of such a life change, so much room to get it so right or so wrong. I admire all of them for their bravery in making the decision to make such great changes and I truly hope that all of them find the space to have the time of their lives, having their time to themselves again after so many years of working hard.
I know Mark has plans to not sit still till he’s around 70 and ‘not so spritely’.