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This is WisGen Speak. Written pieces by WisGen on topics WisGen find relevant.
About the Author:
Sitharaam Jayakumar passed out of IITBHU as a Metallurgical engineer in the year 1988. After graduation, he embarked on a career in Information Technology. He retired as a Lead Software Engineer in the year 2019. He has taken up writing in earnest since then. He writes articles on gender equality, politics, fiction, flash fiction and several other areas. He is the author of four books in all. He has contributed to several anthologies. He is a published poet. He can be reached via the contact form on his blog .
How I ended up as a writer post-retirement
So you are finally back home from the office you have been frequenting for several years. You have been given a grand party by your colleagues and from tomorrow onwards you are going to wake up to a different kind of morning. The mornings are no longer going to be filled with the hustle and bustle of getting dressed, having your breakfast in a hurry, and rushing. You will no longer be getting your car out of the garage and driving in the rush hour traffic to face the challenges awaiting you.
Yes, tomorrow morning is going to be different and you are looking forward to it. You look forward to the days of leisure that stretch ahead of you lazily. Some of you might decide to live in cities while others may want to live in villages, far from the madding crowd. Yes, if you have not guessed already, I am referring to the process called retirement which all of us go through.
I retired after completing a career spanning nearly thirty years as an IT professional. And I had pictured a rosy life in the picturesque city of Kochi. I was based in Kochi during my years of service and I decided to continue living there.
In this article, I will discuss my post-retirement life and the personal challenges I faced. It might be of some use to those of you facing similar issues.
But before that, I would like to briefly describe the conversation I had at the dinner table, on the night of my retirement.
That night, I looked at my wife and daughter and remarked between mouths full of roti and mildly salted cauliflower sabzi, ‘Ah, this is the life. Days and days of doing nothing. No answering angry clients. No need to handle an irate boss. It is going to be heavenly.’
My wife looked at me, smiled mysteriously and said, ‘Let us see.’
I let it pass. I would too soon realise what she meant.
I retired earlier than most people because of health problems. I decided to call it quits and rejuvenate in Kakkanad, a suburb of Kochi. I spent the first six months of retirement whiling away time doing nothing constructive. I would watch a movie on Netflix here or perhaps a web series on Hotstar there.
I would wake up at 7.30 in the morning. For days I did nothing except watch movies and spend time in inconsequential chit-chat with old friends. I spent the afternoons taking naps. All this came easily to me because of my poor health. My main aim behind this inactivity was the mistaken notion that it would calm down my mind which had toiled under high stress for years. I also believed that I needed a lot of rest. I mistakenly assumed that if I did not maintain a set routine, and spent time on arbitrary pursuits at arbitrary times, I would enjoy it. But believe me fellow retirees, that is far from the truth. Doing nothing is not only impossible but even attempting such a thing is deleterious to the psyche.
Slowly my wife cajoled me into taking walks in the morning. I decided to heed her advice and I went for a 15-minute walk every day. But that was not enough. I had always been a voracious reader, but during the busy years prior to retirement, I did not have any time for reading at all. I resumed the reading habit. I read all kinds of books. Fiction, non-fiction, the whole work. But one cannot read day and night. And Netflix and Hotstar were giving me headaches. I was wondering what I could do when I suddenly remembered that I had started a blog some time ago.
That night it occurred to me that I could start an alternate career as a writer. I began spending a lot of time writing on my blog. I wrote articles on anything that came my way in everyday life. In addition to having worked as a technical professional, I had also done a lot of writing in my career. I got in touch with my old boss and requested him to let me know if and when they required any writing to be done. Slowly my reputation grew as a blogger and freelance writer. I took paid assignments as a book reviewer. I became a member of several blogging communities.
But something was still missing. Though I was completely occupied I realised that my life did not have purpose and direction. Then I took my writing a step further and decided to actually pen novels. Initially, I decided to concentrate on fiction. I am happy to state that I have, now, written two novellas and a full-length novel which are available on Amazon. The novellas are Eighty Hours To Save Karen and The Krishnapur Kidnappings. The novel is titled The Himadripuram Adventure. I have also written a book on sports which is available for free download on my blog.
In addition to bringing in a lot of fulfilment, the process of creative writing has satisfied my inner craving and left me happy as an individual. I spend a minimum of one hour writing every day. I urge all of you who have retired and have time hanging heavily on your hands to build up a routine for yourself first. Then attempt everything you have an interest in. This could be an old hobby that you gave up a long time ago. You can even try something totally new. Who knows what the harvest may be?
I would like to conclude this article by stating that time is precious. Even if your health is poor like mine, build a post-retirement routine for yourself and abide by it. It will do wonders.
To share your articles, blogs, and other written content related to your post-retirement experience, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.