Yesterday I opened a letter from the pension company.
It is apparently time for me to switch my pension to something with less risk involved as my retirement date approaches, so they tell me.
A stark reminder that my life is nearly over. Or is it just beginning? Will I be a golden oldie, able to relax and enjoy my dotage on a well saved and well invested pension. Probably not. If my last statement is anything to go by, I will no longer be able to buy Branston Beans over the own brand, never mind cruise around Bermuda for six months every winter.
It’s depressing for two reasons, the first is that retirement for me is a luxury I will never be able to afford. If I live long enough to be able to retire (which I doubt and this is not me being pessimistic, it is based solely on the considerably short lives of my ancestors), retirement is officially another twenty years away, which seems like a whole other lifetime at the moment. The sad truth is that financially my children would benefit more from me being 6ft under, than they ever will if I live to be a 100. Obviously, they would much rather have me alive, to cook and clean and mop up any emotional disasters, than live life rich and carefree. *thoughtfullface
Having said that, If anyone had told me how quickly the last twenty years would go by (although someone probably did), then I wouldn’t have believed them and even though the last twenty years have flown by in what seems like a blur of dirty nappies, school gates, penny-pinching and trying to remain sober, it is still really hard to believe the next twenty will go by just as quickly.
The second depressing thing about retirement, is that I always thought I would actually grow old with someone, you know, a husband, ideally, or a partner at least.
I don’t know how I thought I would get to have a husband when I can’t even manage to date, but that is besides the point. Well it’s not actually, but I have left myself with not much of a margin to find ‘the one‘ in time for my retirement party. Recklessly I have tossed aside suitable suitors in the past and of late I can’t make up my mind if I want a relationship or a cheese and pickle sandwich. Therefore, the chances of me finding my pipe and slippers now are around 200/1.
Yet, still I try.
Hinge is turning out to be just like any other dating app but with fewer men. Or with fewer men in my age group. *sigh
With my usual finickerty knickers on I am trying to summon the enthusiasm required to engage in conversation, with the few people I have ‘matched’ with. I love the term matched. Clearly it isn’t a match for any other reason than they like my ‘best’ photo and I liked them back (after deciding whether a bit of hair around the sides is enough or if that isn’t just a bit too tall, or too small), then telling myself off for being too fussy and convincing myself these are nice people, I should like them. This takes me a whole hour.
It is such a hopeless waste of time.
Time I could have spent doing something much more productive, like the laundry or cutting my toe nails.
It all feels so fake. I have tried online dating on and off for what seems like years. In my early thirties I was doing it for a period and nothing has changed in all that time. Despite the best efforts of many a guy jumping on the multi-billion dollar industry that is ‘love’ and convincing us that his algorithm is better than their algorithm and his new match-making criteria works because it made up with eye of newt, skin of penis and lock of raven pube, they are, without question, all the bloody same.
Everyone including myself always thinks the next best thing will be the next best thing. You have to kiss a hundred frogs to find your prince. I don’t want to kiss frogs. They are slimy and have long tongues, I want to kiss an honest, good-looking man, how fucking hard can it be. Online dating is full of people who just want to hook up and that is fine with me, it’s a horses for courses world and I am very much an each to their own kind of person, but if you are one of the few people who really just want a simple, honest relationship, that consists of two people, rubbing along, dating, getting to know each other, then you are in the minority.
You can’t go from zero to let’s get hitched, granted, but in reality dating is just that, it is two people going out, getting friendly, in an effort to determine whether or not you might want to retire together in the dim and (in my case not to) distant future.
Swiping right is just the beginning. So you like me, or at least you like the look of me, what now? I message, you may or may not message back? If you do we may have a stilted conversation that goes from nought to what do you look like naked in a nano-second. If I’m lucky we may find we have one, maybe two things in common and may even arrange a coffee, beer, cocktail depending on your income (I usually suggest coffee, for fear I might have to pay, not because I don’t want to but because generally I can’t afford to), I have two children to feed, unlike most men my age it seems.
Who are all footloose and fancy free, jetsetters? They are pilots or fire-eaters or billionaire extraordinaires, with time to kill and money to lavish, if their profiles are anything to go by, they should have been snapped up months ago. Where are all the builder, carpenters, normal work hard guys, the 9-5 ers, the ones who just lead normal lives? Married? They must be. The happily ever after sort, who got married and stayed married. Not the always looking for something better sort (which sadly is the bloody category I fall in to), who put themsleves first and then suddenly thought shit, I might die sad and lonely. Great. I well and truly fucked that up.
When I started this blog, just over a year ago now, I had just started online dating again. Seems not much has changed for me in the last year. My hair is thinner, I work harder for less reward and never seem to be able to make it to payday without living on toast, but otherwise life is pretty much the same.
On the plus side it hasn’t gotten any worse, so I should be thankful for that at least.
Perhaps I need to try a bit harder, be a bit more serious about the whole dating thing. Be nice. That’s always a good start.
I am not giving up on my pipe and slippers yet.
If I am taking it easy in my retirement it will be with my gorgeous hunk of a man beside me… and they say I’m a dreamer.