It cannot be overemphasized that retirement is a lifestyle and not a one-off thing, inasmuch as it is usually marked off by a lump sum payment. Life still continues even after retirement. The wise should always treat employment as a means to an end and not be hooked on it; it is not a breath of life but a channel through which we maintain our lives. Retirement gives you the opportunity to shade off the ranks, appointments, or status and just engage with life.

Retirement is a time to be real, and it is advisable that by the time you reach this stage, your life is as simple and comfortable as possible. At this point, there is no need for undue stress. Retirement is a time to come back to reality, as even those who would have become part of your life because of the benefits they would want to get from you have faded away. Surely the Northern Rhodesian folk called it “back to the land.”

This is the time to forget the appointments or ranks you once achieved in employment. Obviously, you may need to flash them once in a while when you want to use those links to conduct business and achieve certain agendas. However, you may not need to hold on to them as you would when in active employment. Definitely, at some point your offspring may call upon you to recharge a link or two. It is vital that, during the phase of retirement, you get back to when there was fulfilment in simplicity. Mind you, some degrees end immediately after you leave the office. Which means that you will need to activate other skills that are essential for life to continue as it should.
Dear pilot, there is no runway in Meanwood, nor is there a Stevenson screen in Chawama for the meteorologist or policy analysis in Kanyama for the administrator. In addition to the doctorates, degrees, diplomas, and certificates acquired, there is a need to work on relations and networks. This is because there is power in the numbers. “Ukwishina ukwikala na bantu,” my mother would always say, emphasizing the need to treat people around you well. You do not need to hold on to useless grudges that you may have developed with co-workers while in employment. Let go, forgive, and stop shouldering negative energy that we often pick up from either our juniors or seniors during employment. If in any case the blessing of the Lord allowed you to head departments, get off the high horses and concentrate on what matters most, life.

In the wisdom of simplicity, it is necessary that one take time in retirement to learn their culture, their tribe, and what it means to be Zambian or African. In the African system, at this stage of life, one automatically becomes a counsellor (“nachimbusa/shibukombe”) or consultant for traditional procedures like marriage ceremonies, burial traditions, and dispute resolution for your family or community. Before one realizes it, they will be shared between their family, friends, church, and community. This is obviously an exception for those who are regarded as useless and uncultured. Maintain your roots and learn as much as you can as you get older.As you grow older, it is shocking to discover where your income or sustenance may be coming from. Wisdom is pricey. It may seem to be dished out with ease, especially for one with a lot of experience, and one may have attained it over a period of years, but it still remains pricey.

In addition, the retirement phase will tend to be pumped up with life activities around issues of culture and Ubuntu. One who has retired at 55 years of age and has forgotten their roots, that is, basic things like raising chickens, using public transport, attending funerals, visiting neighbours, checking up on the sick in hospitals, participating in church activities, washing the car, riding a bicycle, feeding the dogs, backyard gardening, speaking your own language, marrying off, or burying the dead, will struggle and will have their health affected more than someone who is able to navigate through the aforementioned activities. If the so-called modernity has made you forget, kindly unwind; it is time to go back to the basics.

Spend time with those grandchildren. Let them into the world of the origins; they are listening more than their parents. They are better placed to even update your born before computers software. The bonding is priceless yet life invigorating. Stories of the lemon curd with my Daisy Tuba Katebe, Titanic with my Julia Burns, combing hair dairies with my Helen Burns, or talk time series with my Peter Mulimbika, stories for another day.

The author is a retired officer of the Zambia Airforce and an Advocate. He can be reached via email: [email protected] or Whatsapp: +260 97 9165574