" You're not old enough"
" You'll be bored"
" What are you going to do with yourself?"
These are some of the reactions I have had from people when they hear that I am due to retire from nursing in August this year.
I've even had a lecture on just how the baby boomers should have paid more tax throughout their working lives from one person and a thinly veiled snort of disgust from another who equates retirement with waiting-to- die, old lady behaviours.
Envy, resentment and irritation, I can understand, for many of the younger workforce coming through the system, have to work until they are 65 before they can leave but the generalised negativity I have felt about Early retirement has surprised me.
I have worked since I was eighteen. Two years as a bank clerk, thirty five years as a nurse. I've trained four and a half years as a student nurse in mental health and general nursing and have spent another year specialist training in high dependency and spinal injury nursing.
I have worked as a ward manager on an acute Spinal Injury Unit, facilitated good practice within sexual health care and like many of the specialised staff on rehabilitation units all over the world worked long unpaid hours providing extracurricular care to patients, many of which became firm friends.
I have also worked part of most weekends as an intensive care nurse for over a decade.
I have mentoured, guided, disciplined and supported more staff than I care to remember and I have provided end of life care to patients and their families over a hundred times during long sad shifts.
I have been spat at, punched and slapped by patients and their family members.I have worked night shifts, Christmas days and most public holidays and have not had a pay rise for the past few years.
As a manager, I fought fires on a daily basis
And so I am looking forward to my retirement.
I think I deserve it.
I hope to work occasionally, perhaps in the local hospice, a place which is more suited to my skills and experience, but retirement will ostensibly free up our weekends to do other things.
Relatively soon we will move on from the village to pastures new. The Prof will blossom further up in his academic world and there are so many new things to do learn, experience, travel to and enjoy.
I will also write my book,
I may even have time to support Mary in some puppy care
It's time to move on.