Thoughts on retirement

Thoughts on Retirement

Over the last few years I have lost track of the number of times people asked me when was I going to retire.

Questions like, “You’re not still working are you?” have inevitably given rise to niggles of doubt, and the feeling that I must of looked old or past it – or worse still – both! I kept thinking to myself, “do I look as though I need to put myself out to pasture? Am I perhaps not looking my best?”

Were the questions borne out of a genuine care for my wellbeing, or was it a subtle ploy to recruit me into the retirement club?

Whatever the motives, these questions only hardened my resolve and resistance. I simply wasn’t ready to hang up whatever you hang up at the end of a long and busy career. Besides, a good friend – already retired – had once told me “you will know instinctively when the time has come, so don’t worry. For many years I didn’t know …because I wasn’t ready.”

Any opportunity to get behind the Microphone! Chair of Judges and Presenter of the Yorkshire Life Food and Drink Awards for 7 years!

I think retirement had always seemed alien to me, something that other people did. I had attended a few retirement parties for friends and colleagues, always secretly glad that it wasn’t me waking up in the morning with nothing much to do. I couldn’t imagine what was so good about not being in the thick of things at work. I was naïve to think that retirement wasn’t the beginning, but the end.

What I couldn’t see was the sense of freedom the person might be feeling. I certainly didn’t appreciate the sense of euphoria that came with not having to be in a certain place at a certain time .That the day is yours, a blank canvas to fill with whatever takes your fancy. It doesn’t matter what time you get up because when you do, you can sit outside in the early morning summer sun, drink your cuppa and listen to the birds.

Unlike many of my friends I was a little ashamed to admit that I didn’t have any hobbies. Work was my hobby, it had taken me to interesting places, brought me into contact with many interesting people, and allowed me a great deal of creative freedom. It was a heady cocktail to give up. I lived by the familiar mantra “choose a job you love you and you will never have to work a day in your life” – and I didn’t.

Al Fresco BBQ with good mate Andy Annat and the lovely Ian White from Look North – always nice to do a bit of telly!

I had five amazing years working on the flagship daytime show ‘This Morning’ during its heyday in Liverpool. I travelled the UK in a car that doubled as a mobile kitchen; full of pots, pans and props, along with food styling and staging for top chefs like Ainsley Harriott, Brian Turner, Ken Hom and Gary Rhodes.

My working days were long, physically demanding and deadline busting; but arriving on location on the beautiful North Norfolk coast on a golden morning, or flying off shore from Aberdeen to an oil rig to set up for a food programme were real ‘pinch yourself’ moments and I felt very lucky to be working in such special places. Why would I want to retire?

Gradually more of my friends and acquaintances took the plunge and embraced retirement. I was drawn into their world of volunteering at local community shops, post offices and libraries. Their lives had taken on a different but enjoyable dynamic which involved lots of travel, walking, cycling, singing in choirs and looking after grandchildren. But I still couldn’t see how these things fitted into my future. I might have worked in telly but I still don’t think that I could operate the till in the village post office!

Headhunted in 2011 by international agency Brand New Media to work alongside Tesco and Cedar Communications for RDF, a leading independent TV production company, on the production of the Real Food Family Cook Off TV series. Here on location with Presenter Ainsley Harriot and Matt Dawson on the phone, casually just in shot.

Singing was out for me too, having been told once that I was tone deaf. As for riding a bike well, they say you never forget, but I beg to differ. I used to put my daughter in the seat on the back of my bike and ride the busy main road, yet, many years down the line we hired bikes during a holiday, only for me to crash less than 5 minutes after leaving the bike hire shop.

What chance did I have if I retired? I seemed to be a bit of a hopeless case on the hobby front.

The Food and Hospitality P.R business I had established was going from strength to strength and I had always loved the creative buzz of the business, but a series of events, both professional and personal collided.

Family members began  to need  more of my help and support; clients were coming to the end of contracts and a couple of key members of my team moved onto pastures new. This all combined with a couple of niggling health issues meant that I was finding it hard to summon up the enthusiasm for the work which had previously kept me driven and motivated.

Nothing as special as family time with the Grandkids!

I found myself hanging about at home for longer in the morning, reading the papers and sitting on the step having a cuppa in the spring sunshine and loving it. I began to want to take off on a whim to see the kids and grandchildren without planning, or to browse around the local shops midweek without feeling guilty.


As my good friend Helen had said, my instincts were beginning to tell me it was time to hang-up, whatever it is I needed to hang-up.

Following my decision to retire in 2017, what hit me immediately was the complete sense of freedom that suddenly there were no deadlines. It felt exhilarating to have a clear head without work fighting for attention.

Previously, even when I was going away for the weekend or on holiday I would still be mulling over projects, or sorting things out on the phone. Even at the airport I would be in the queue for the gate, still liaising with the team over something that seems so unimportant now…..How time has changed.

Now I actually enjoy the journey when we go away, chatting, listening to the radio, thinking about something…or nothing or even, just nod off!


Free to roam…
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  • Ah Annie, or should I say Sam’s Mam – you can never retire fully. Look at you now – writing a blog for us all to enjoy. Your life and your smile was made to be shared with others. Enjoy what you want to do and disregard the rest. I think the local bookmaker should be taking bets on how long it will be until you manage to find the time to squeeze just one more cry of “help” from someone and enjoy another “journey”

    • Hi Anna,

      Thank you so much, I was really touched by your comments, how lovely for you to take the time to share your thoughts about Time Of Your Life. As for ceasing the moment you certainly do that yourself, you are fantastic at making things happen. A great inspiration to many of us.

  • Annie I can relate to your story although I have been retired some years now it is still lovely to do what you want when you want to. Enjoy your retirement,

    • Hi Sandy,

      Thank you for getting in touch. It is lovely to hear from someone who can relate. I don’t think I will ever lose my appreciation for being able to do what I want when I want. If you would ever like to share any stories or experiences about yourself I’d love to share them and you could be a guest blogger.

  • Wonderful reading ,my mom retired a few years ago and now at 75 years of age still enjoys doing the things she couldn’t do while she was at work . Enjoy doing what you love the most and spending time with your family as they are the most precious things in your life xx

    • Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for a lovely comment, very insightful. I could not have said it better myself. If you or your mom would ever like to write a blog about your thoughts or experiences or things you like to do id love to hear about it.

  • Good for you. My lovely Dad is 81 this year and still insists on working everyday.
    It’s all a matter of personal judgement and how you feel within yourself. He cringes when people suggests retirement!
    So happy for you that is was the right decision at the right time.
    I am sure my Dad will feel the same at some point.

    • Hi Suzanne,

      Thank you for getting in touch. Your Dad sounds incredible and you are absolutely right, it is personal judgment. If you or your Dad would ever like to offer some advise or thoughts on retirement from the perspective of someone who wants to continuing working I’d love to hear about it.

  • Hi annie

    I retired last november after working since I was 15, with just short breaks when I had the kids. I totally agree you know when the time is right. And I love the fact that my life is not governed by work timetables. Your writing is interesting to read. Maybe that hobby could be writing a book? Just a thought.

    Take care

    • Hi Sue,

      Thank you for your comment I have considered writing a book but I am not sure I have it in me, the blog is going to be my version of a book I think.
      Congratulations on your retirement last year. I was considering doing a couple of blogs about different hobbies that I am going to try out so if you have any recommendations I would love to hear them. Equally, I really want as many people to get involved and share their thoughts and experiences, so if you would ever like to write a blog let me know.

  • Wow I can really relate to this. I love my job but I too have seen colleagues retire who tell me they don’t know how they ever found the time to go to work and are loving their new found freedom.
    I am at the time in my life where i feel I would be happy now to spend more time at home and you have inspired me to give it some serious thought. Thank you.
    Can I ask your age? You look amazingly well so retirement must suit you.

    • Hi Sharon,

      Thank you so much for a lovely comment, it really means allot. I am 68, I had to have a think about it for a second, its has just been my birthday.

      Please keep in touch and let me know how you get on. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are as it sounds like you are having similar feelings as I did before I retired.

  • I’m at the stage now where I said as soon as I don’t want to go to work it’s time to retire but keep hanging on in there but your right in what you say you know when it’s time .. great blog.

    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your comment. It is a very difficult decision, well I found it very difficult, I think for others it is very easy. All I can say is go with your instincts. Even though you have not retired yet, please keep in touch and if you’d ever like to write about your thoughts on retirement and why is not quite right for you yet, I’d love to share it as a blog.

    • Hi Linda,

      Thank you for your comment, I am so pleased to hear you thought it was an interesting read. Thank you also for your very kind offer, I would love to take you up on your offer just let me know what you’d like me to do.

  • What a lovely outlook on a time when everyone has an opinion, just a nice insight of what’s to come 💕

    • Hi Joanne,

      Thank you for your comment. I have also found that everyone seems to have an opinion on retirement, I imagine that is possibly why I was quite weary of it at first. I have since come to realise that it can mean and be absolutely anything, I guess it is like most things, it is what you make of it.

      Please keep in touch and if you would ever like to write any of your thoughts or opinions down myself and I am sure lots of other women would love to hear about it.

  • I, myself, am taking early retirement, next Friday, May 25th after almost 19 years in a busy and demanding primary school.
    I have read your comments and insights with great interest and may I say…great pleasure!! I found myself nodding, reflecting and smiling, as I did so!
    You do wonder what lies ahead but my husband, who retired over three years ago, and myself, are looking forward to shared hobbies, more time with our precious 18 month old granddaughter, Adele Peggy, our friends and family but most of all, just time to be…
    What a wonderful world we live in, can’t wait to ‘live’ in it more!!
    Looking forward to reading more of your ‘living’ too!
    Love and very best wishes,
    Mandy Harper.

    • Hi Amanda,
      Thank you for your lovely comment.
      Congratulations on your new adventure starting on Friday it sounds like you have lots of things to do and enjoy. I imagine you cant wait to spend more time with your granddaughter, I love that I can spend time with grandchildren at anytime now. I love your sentiment about it being a “wonderful world we live in, can’t wait to ‘live’ in it more”, I think that is a perfect way to describe retirement. I’d love for you to keep in touch and let me know how you are getting on and if you wanted to write a blog I’d love to publish it. Have a great last week at work and I hope you have a weekend full of celebrations coming up.
      Love and Best wishes

Written by Annie Stirk