In just over a week it will be one year since I retired. As my retirement had approached my already retired friends and relatives warned me I would wonder how I had ever found time to fit in work. Now I half see what they mean. I can't remember an earlier year passing so quickly or in which I undertook so many projects or made so many new friends. But I do know how I fitted in work: I neglected myself (apart from my running) and my home, or more precisely my garden.
In a nutshell: after one year I feel much better than I have for years and I don't miss work at all. Due to the circumstances in which I came to retire most of my work colleagues had left before I did, so there was no wrench of separation. I haven't been good at keeping in touch. I never have been although with social media it is easy to stay up to date with their news.
I didn't find it hard to move on. My past life is a pool of memories and experiences added to each day; a slowly evolving mould, modified by later experience and refined or mutated with hindsight, that shapes me for today and tomorrow. It hasn't gone and it isn't lost, it's who I am now.
Returning to the past has come up a lot recently. In the context of Brexit, the "out means out" hardliners, when asked if they know what 'out' means, either walk away or reply "Yeah, won't be a problem, we were OK before we joined, we'll be OK again." Few give any further insight into their thinking, but from the few who do, I don't think the "we'll be OK again" is in anticipation of putting in a lot of work to make it OK in the future, but an almost immediate return to the OK of the past, 45 years ago.
I never got further than page 3 of Stephen Hawkins' "A brief history of time" - maybe now I have more time I should try again - so I risk showing my ignorance of the nature of time but these short conversations have left me wondering: Can an individual, or a country or any other finite body go back into the past leaving everything else to continue on its original course through space and time, or can time only be reversed by some force affecting the entire space time of the universe and everything in it?
Wow. If the latter, it's hardly surprising Brexit is struggling to take shape and collapsing as it attempts to confront the laws of physics without a Tardis. But, I stray into the realm of Dr. Who and the Brexiters would, I assume, argue that they are not taking on physics. They spell it out. It's easy, they want to take back control, reclaim an independent and sovereign state and to conduct trade under bilateral agreements with UK unilaterally in control. "What is so difficult to understand?" they ask. Finally I get it. They aren't taking on physics to go back in time, they just want a virtual reality machine where they can dispense with the reality bit.
Meanwhile, I've renovated and extended my vegetable garden, harvested my first summer crop, filled jars and jars with pickles, chutneys, jams and syrupy fruit preserves and planted spring greens, onions, peas and beans for an early harvest next Spring. The year has passed by in the blink of an eye but looking back it seems to have been endless. Particularly the summer.