Will You Still Need Me? Will You Still Feed Me?

A bit of bad news plopped through my letterbox this week. It was a letter from the Pensions Department stating that I won’t get my state pension until I’m two months shy of my 67th birthday. I had known it was going to be delayed until I was 64+ some months, ago but this new development is the result of the government’s latest plan to raise the retirement age.

I’m not looking for sympathy (well, a little bit) and I moan and bleat about it whilst knowing that lots of other people have far worse problems. It’s just that growing up to think you’ll retire at 60 and then being told otherwise at this late stage feels like a low blow. But I hear lots of men shouting at their computers now saying, “ But you women wanted equality!” Yes, we did….and we should be equal at some point in terms of retirement age. Hey, women live longer anyway! However, many women of my generation gave up working for years to raise a family and our pension prospects consequently suffered. Is this what my older sisters (symbolically speaking) burned their bras for?

If only I’d been born a couple of months earlier…or years. Okay, I’m moaning again.  I’ve taken this very badly, I’ll admit. The next generation will grow up with a different mindset, I’m sure and previous generations had to work ‘till they dropped. There was no welfare state to send them into a blissful halcyon of gentle leisure in the twilight of their years. As the rules stand now (unless the Pension Campaign can create a revolution) my children will get their pension when they’re 68. Alas, what will it amount to anyway? I urge any young people reading this to get that private pension sorted now….don’t delay…put that cup of coffee down, turn off the Hollyoaks omnibus and do it now.

The thought of old age is scary. We don’t know what’s ahead of us. Old age with good health and faculties intact is a whole different ball game to old age without those advantages. I know, I know, 50 is the new 40 and so on. 80 is the new 70, ha ha. The fact is there is a vast range of 70 year olds and 80 year olds. The retirement age could go creeping up more and more and who knows where it will come to rest? Many older people are amazingly sprightly in mind and body…and some are not.

Have we thought this through? Does a 69 year old really want to be plastering or mending a roof? We don’t all sit in nice warm offices and even those that do will have to cope with new technology as it rolls out and it will keep coming because it always does. This isn’t meant to be patronising, just realistic. Thousands of older people will cope with whatever is thrown at them, but many won’t and whilst I’m in the mood for brutal facts, here’s another one.

Why are we doing this? The reason the government is doing this is because we’re living too long. Someone has to pay for this. Something has to be done. This, unfortunately, might be a temporary situation. Go into any city centre late at night and you’ll see an astonishing capacity for alcohol. Fat and salt drenched processed food and lack of exercise will do the rest. There is a whole generation, unless they can be persuaded otherwise, doing everything they can to not live to a ripe old age. Brutal but true. Obviously, this is a worrying situation and an unwelcome antidote to the problem of caring for an ageing population.

So, here I’ll be, still working at nearly 67, or maybe they’ll put it up again. And again. And again. I’ll just slave over my keyboard, messing up the keys with my drool, until my arthritic fingers can’t take anymore and my brain longs for respite. Then they can put me out to pasture. It used to be all fields round here y’know…..