Thursday, 5 May 2016

Twiddling of the thumbs

The trouble with doing nothing is you never know when you've finished.
That's been my problem for the last couple of weeks since the most recent knee surgery, and although it's understandable that the healing process requires a certain lack of activity, there comes a point when you've had enough and want to play a different game.
Indeed, I did want to play a different game because I've exhausted my enthusiasm for Far Cry Primal and other current Playstation games, but upcoming releases such as Uncharted 4 and No Man's Sky have yet to hit the shelves. I tried Rainbow Six but didn't get on with it, and The Division wouldn't let me play unless I had online gaming acces (which I don't have because I don't like online gaming) so I've given up and dragged out the old XBox 360 because I've got a ton of good games that I can revisit to occupy the extended hours spent sitting on the sofa with my leg up.
However, the stitches come out tomorrow morning and I've managed a couple of local journeys driving the car so I should be OK to return to work on Monday provided I restrict myself to light duties. I'm very lucky to have such an understanding employer! Not that they have much choice.....


I plan to retire as early as possible, and the earliest I can start drawing my University pension is at 55, which gives me another ten years of getting up at 6AM and commuting to Cambridge.
There's plenty about my job that I'll miss when that time comes. It'll be a shame to not have that regular contact with a (mostly) decent bunch of people, and I'll definitely miss the frequent brain exercise required when resolving problems and designing experimental apparatus. I love problem solving, design and practical work. I love being given an idea and coming up with a rig from concept, through brainstorming, design, manufacture and construction of something that allows someone to carry out their research and achieve their masters degree or PHD. It's quite rewarding to watch a student develop from a wet-behind-the-ears undergraduate to a confident doctor of aeronautical engineering, off into the big wide world with a place in the research division of an F1 team or an aircraft manufacturer, or even to teach the following generations of undergraduates.

So if I get bored of sitting about at home twiddling my thumbs within a fortnight of surgery, how the hell will I cope with retiring at 55 with another 20 or so years ahead of me?
One thing's for sure, I don't want to sit in a chair slowly turning into a bitter and resentful old Albert Steptoe wannabe (well, no more than I currently am) with nothing in my life beyond the odd jigsaw puzzle and an overweight dog.
In other words, I don't want to become my father.
When the time comes, it will be imperative that I remain active. Maybe I'll be able to get a part-time local job, or perhaps do voluntary work to keep me occupied - there's no end of charity shops in Ely crying out for staff.
Whatever happens I'm sure I needn't worry about it. For one thing it's still a long way off and I might be dead by then anyway, but everyone I've spoken to who has retired from my place of work says the same thing whenever I bump into them and have a quick chat - " I don't know how I ever found time to come to work!".