Impending retirement at 46 and a half!

The End - The Doors.

Of our elaborate plans, the end.

Of everything that stands, the end.

No safety or (just) surprise the end.

Wednesday 12th December 2018

So that’s it, 27 years, including teacher training and that is it. No ceremony, no pomp, no warning just fifteen minutes in a small slightly tatty consulting room in South West London. I had gone to the meeting with the Occupational Health Physician knowing that my days were probably numbered since my Parkinsons symptoms had kicked up a notch in the previous six months. But I had presumed (wrongly) that the process would be prolonged and drawn out. Yet in the space of 900 second consultation, I had gone from respected, experienced teacher, to soon to be ex-teacher and therefore irrelevant. I walked out of the shabby office, okay I lied, I stumbled out of the poky office. The short journey back to school on foot, was just a blur of scenarios.

Once back at school I shared the news with my Head that I was unfit for work. My mates had been saying the same for the last two decades but now someone who wasn’t inebriated was saying the same thing with a sincere and disconsolate face. The staff at school all made the appropriate noises and faces. But frankly I was not listening, they could have been singing jingle bells for all I know. I spoke to them hopefully coherently and hopefully in English, but I can’t be certain. I was jerked out of my trance by my Head giving me a hug (I must have been in bad shape), maybe she has more emotional intelligence than I have given her credit for. I bade my farewell to her and my career and drove home, but first I collected my beautiful son from my mother in laws as he was unwell. He could not care less what had happened to me earlier that morning, all he cared about was that Dad was home and he wanted to beat me at NBA 2K18. What a saving grace, I need more people in my life who don’t see me through the lens of PD, but for who I am., for who I have always been.

I had been given the opportunity for a long Christmas break, however a wave of guilt engulfed me, this was so unfair for the colleagues I had left grafting on the Christmas production which had not been going well, some KS leader I am. Who would teach my Year 3 class , who would do the bike to school assembly, who would organise the sporting fixtures, who would do my duty, you get the picture. The future lay ahead of me but for the first time in my adult life I was unsure of what was ahead once the term started. I had been happily and voluntarily institutionalised by education. My life had been split into six chunks (half -terms), with holiday after each chunk. What was I to do now, what did non-teachers do? I was about to find out. Apparently teaching is not everything, even though when you are in the education bubble it seems to be the only thing. As Sue Barker may say, sort of ‘What will happen next?’.

Hi mick
Sorry to hear your news. That sort of change must take some getting used to.
I have noticed that often at work it’s a case of out of sight out of mind with anyone leaving. Work occupies a huge chunk of life BUT what matters most of all is your family and friends. They are the ones who will help you through this, and of course there’s this forum where there’s usually lots of support to be found from people in similar situations. Life with PD is different, no doubt about that, but it’s still good. Good luck Daffy

Hey Mick I went into retirement 3 years ago at 43 so it seems we are the same age.

I found it the best thing it gave me the chance to do what I needed and when I wanted to.

I focused on getting fitter a critical thing for me in the management myself plus I get to walk my daughters to school which is good.

Good luck dude

Hello Mick,

I am 46.5 as well so I can understand your point and. While I am able still to work full-time thanks to a good arrangement with my employer, I do often think that ideally I should not be working but take care about myself and my health. While majority of my colleagues know about my PD, in the end it‘s my problem and I feel under pressure to deliver results, to pretend I am the one who I used to be and that everything is fine. The job environment is sometimes cruel. So I am thinking about the alternatives and quitting job is one of them. By now I am fully aware that nobody will say thank you for the work done, nor I will be missed there…

Maybe you can look at your situation as an opportunity to focus more on your therapy, amd in addition you can find some kind of working activity which is part-time, or temporary, or a charity work? Coaching, private lessons, something to keep your mind fit and to make you feel more involved and useful…

Wish you good luck!

The taking children to school is amazing, much underrated. Thanks for the comment.

Hi Koru,
Its amazing how many opportunities are presenting themselves, run of my feet! Long may it continue.

Thanks for the comment.

Wow your younger than me! I am glad it worked for you and seems to be having a positive effect on me too.

Thanks Fatious12 & good luck.

I’m 49 and now been retired for 3 years now. Initially this process got kick started by being made redundant. This was 6 years into my diagnosis and I felt I was doing fine and began to look for another job. What became apparent was how much BETTER I was for not working. It is a hard thing to get your head round but after awhile you’ll adjust. The only thing is I hate bank holidays now, they used to be special, an extra day off work. I feel like they’ve lost their shine now and become just another day!!!