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Everyday Ageism

Are you "keeping busy?"

(43 Posts)
echt Tue 26-Apr-22 01:03:06

This does my head in. I retired last year (67), and have so frequently been asked this, as a starter question, as if there's a gaping chasm in my life. hmm Always said by a working person, never a retired one.

I now say, with some asperity: I'm not "keeping busy", I have lots of things to do.

Kim19 Tue 26-Apr-22 07:29:27

I take it these people who ask this do not know you very well? That makes them much easier to ignore.

notgran Tue 26-Apr-22 07:33:55

I always say, I am doing exactly what I want to do, when I want to do it. grin

Santana Tue 26-Apr-22 07:48:48

I've had a lot of remarks about how lucky I am to be retired, all from people under retirement age, some the age of my grown up children.
I have worked full time since I left school, with a gap when my children were small, then working the twighlight shift in a supermarket.
I retired at 67. Perhaps I look so much younger than that now I'm so carefree!

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 26-Apr-22 08:07:11

Yes and the ‘ it’s alright for you, you’re retired’ well I am now, but for years I worked and looked after the children whilst MrOops worked away from home, so I think we’ve earned it and we’ve earned our State Pension as well as we’ve paid in a vast amount between us over the 53 years that we’ve both worked.
I don’t ever remember thinking of Pensioners as ‘lucky’ when I was younger, do you?

merlotgran Tue 26-Apr-22 08:07:58

I always have so much to do I often wonder how I ever found time to go to work. ?

Grannybags Tue 26-Apr-22 08:09:11

Its' funny isn't it? The harder we work the 'luckier' we get!

GagaJo Tue 26-Apr-22 09:31:22

As an older person, I do think of the currently retired as lucky. Mainly because, due to the raising of the pension age, that I'll be lucky if I'm ever able to retire.

I appreciate retirees have paid into the system, but so have I and will do for many more years than current retirees.

Of course, none of that is the fault of the elderly. It's the result of the government who want to work us until we die. But when I think of my bloke who retired at my age, while I still have at least 10 more years of work ahead, it is a little galling. I don't begrudge him, but I'd love to have what he has.

Grandmabatty Tue 26-Apr-22 09:35:40

I retired at 60 from teaching. No-one has ever asked if I'm keeping busy over the last four years. I do keep myself busy by various projects but can be incredibly lazy when I want. I've earned that right as I worked hard when teaching and brought up two children.

nanna8 Tue 26-Apr-22 09:35:42

Too busy, I feel as though I need to cut back on activities. This is the life, loving every minute …We are the lucky ones.

Pepper59 Tue 26-Apr-22 09:36:27

Oopsadaisy, I have to say the 'lucky' comments really grate on me. Like many others on these boards, working all the hours both in the home and out of it. Scrimping and scraping, then, just when you think your life may ease a little....well the last two years and now war, shortages. Lucky does not immediately spring to mind. I would not like to be young now though, got to be honest.

Witzend Tue 26-Apr-22 09:53:05

‘As busy as I want to be, thanks,’ would be my reply. After a very busy weekend I had a lovely lazy day yesterday - I enjoy plenty of those now.

One thing I never thought when approaching retirement, over 10 years ago now, was, ‘Oh, good - I’ll have plenty of time for all the cleaning I don’t usually do!’

I’ve always had a bit of an anti-thing for those people who tell you they haven’t sat down all day, as if it was some sort of virtue. I particularly remember one such (a SAHP!) who invariably met me at the door with a duster or damp cloth in her hand, for the endless wiping of surfaces, and a sigh of martyr-ish exhaustion.

grumppa Tue 26-Apr-22 09:56:54

If asked, I would be tempted to say "Bot if I can possibly avoid it".

Glorianny Tue 26-Apr-22 10:00:50

What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?
Apparently not even when you are retired.

Redhead56 Tue 26-Apr-22 10:05:51

It’s been asked a few times the answer I give is I have no timetable and I love it!

M0nica Tue 26-Apr-22 16:42:27

Nobody I know asks me that, they know it is a stupid question to ask me.

Cabbie21 Tue 26-Apr-22 16:58:02

I think it is a question to make conversation. Unless you tell them something, they don’t know what to talk to you about, especially if they are former work colleagues and work was the thing you had in common. Just tell them you are enjoying more time to read, or garden, or have taken up a new hobby or whatever……they don’t really want to know if you are keeping busy. Just give them something else to talk about, to get them off the amount of free time you may or may not have.

The question I hate is about holidays, “Are you going somewhere nice?” I know it is just a starter question, but to me it infers that some places( exotic ones?) are worth going to but others are not.

Elizabeth27 Tue 26-Apr-22 17:01:57

It is just a nice way of asking ‘what are you doing now you are not working? I do not see a problem with it.

eazybee Tue 26-Apr-22 17:20:25

If people ask me anything, it is usually, 'Are you enjoying your retirement?' to which I reply,' Yes!'But I fought to stay on until 65 and was glad that I did.

CanadianGran Tue 26-Apr-22 21:01:13

I wouldn't be bothered by it. As someone who still works but husband is retired, I see both sides. He does get asked that question, and yes he is always busy with something.

People are just curious about the transition.

Mallin Wed 27-Apr-22 11:52:53

A surprised “ Of Course “ is the right answer. Although the truth is I truly enjoy being, like the song, “ Busy doing nothing “

Sipti1983 Wed 27-Apr-22 12:18:45

I get the opposite asked as I am 67 this year and am not ready to retire from my FT job, but am always being asked "why are you still working? you must be mad" I just say that I am not ready to retire yet. I still go to the gym 4 times a week (6am), go out for dinners with friends, and meet up with other friends when I/we want, it just takes some organising sometimes. Different strokes for different folks. Hubby runs his own business and, although he has let it run down (on purpose) he still does a couple of hours a week but also has plenty of time for golf, bike riding and going to watch his beloved football team. One day I will be ready to retire but just not yet smile

Amalegra Wed 27-Apr-22 12:22:14

Generally I like being retired. No strict timetable, no having to be somewhere, to do something (not always to my interest!), no ‘me time’ even at the end of the day! I do miss the ‘ebb and flow’ of life though, the feeling of being in the middle of things! I have fairly busy life; I look after my grandchildren often and my daughter’s dog! I shop, go to groups, am learning Russian (a longheld desire although a bit iffy, I know, given the present situation). I guess my main goal is to keep busy and relevant! My retirement is turning out very differently than I planned; my husband and I parted some years ago and I didn’t foresee a future alone. At 65, I just can’t be bothered now to look for another relationship, so it is a case of pleasing myself which most of the time is fine-I’m lucky my family is near! But I do admit to feeling lonely sometimes and envy a little those who have their partner to make future plans with and enjoy good times.

Nanatoone Wed 27-Apr-22 12:35:55

I’m semi retired I suppose (still do some work from home now and then. I’m very busy, since my husband died I have to do everything, including DIY. I do school runs and look after little ones, clean for my kids now and then and do their ironing. I’m not state pension age yet but was very debilitated after DH illness and death so could not face going back to work outside the home. I do seem to be “keeping busy” somehow!

GrannyLaine Wed 27-Apr-22 12:40:00


If asked, I would be tempted to say "Bot if I can possibly avoid it".

This, just this!! ??