I love the silence but I miss the bustle

By admin
12 September 2013

Retirement is wonderful says our new blogger Andre Brink but he’s discovered there are also things you need to get used to.

Retirement is wonderful says our new blogger André Brink but he’s discovered there are also things you need to get used to.

One of the best things about retirement is that you’re your own boss and can do whatever you like, whenever you want.

This at least is what people who are already retired, tell you beforehand. But it’s not the whole story . . .

Yes, it’s amazing now on a Monday – a work day – to be able to hit the road to go see the flowers in the Biedouw Valley in the Cederberg. This is definitely something every South African should witness at least once in their lifetime. I’ll always remember how as a schoolboy in Bitterfontein in 1952 I was blown away by the swathes upon swathes of wild flowers in spring.

My dad, who worked for the railways, had been transferred to Bitterfontein that year and friends of my parents who lived at Garies took us on a trip in their car to see the flowers. At that stage we didn’t own a car.

A few weeks ago I again stood amazed at the display of flowers, wondering how did the seeds get there in the first place; why do they flower so prolifically in some spots and not in others?

And the fact we could do this on a Monday was pleasant. There were fewer people than there are on weekends and the roads weren’t as busy.

Similarly it’s a plus as a retiree on Monday nights to take advantage of restaurant specials offers, not having to worry about getting to bed early so you can make it to work the next day. And you can go to the movies affordably on Tuesday evenings.

But – and this is a big but – do we always want to do things, eat out, go to the movies, go on holiday, when things are so quiet? Because the bustle, the people milling about, the holiday mood, is part and parcel of what makes it fun.

I’ve been in Hartenbos both in the middle of December and after the schools have opened, and it’s barely the same place. In the holidays there’s life, but when the kids go back to school that rave holiday destination is a dead as a dodo! Not the same at all.

It’s like Stellenbosch when the students aren’t around. You can say what you like but without its student population the town known for its oak-lined avenues isn’t the same place. It feels like its heart has been ripped out and its circulation has stopped.

But maybe I haven’t been retired long enough. I might still get used to the “quiet”  times and use the opportunities that go with it much better. I sincerely hope so . . .

André Brink, a former assistant editor at Huisgenoot, YOU’s sister publication, retired earlier this year and blogs about retired life.

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