I am currently off work due to exhaustion related depression, oh and did I mention a possible stomach ulcer, and cancer, and, what is the other thing, oh yes, arthritis.
I am surprised I am alive.
And it is for this very reason I am on a personal mission to get the retirement age for women down to the reasonable age of fifty-five.
I know what you are all thinking: where did she get fifty-five from, thin air?
I have worked all my life to such extreme levels, not least when I toiled in the basements of life's gutter housing with four screaming brats at my ankles, hems, and breasts. There was not a day went by that was spent luxuriating in that wonderful holiday destination of 'nothing to do'. I have never been there, I have no idea what it is like.
Twenty years ago, when I was but a fledgling of thirty-seven, I looked forward to by retirement at sixty. Ah yes, thought I, there would be world travel, a dark prince from another continent, yoga and gin. What was not to look forward to?
My last child is around twenty-six. I cannot be specific, my mind is going as I am now what the kids call quite old.
Theoretically at least, though this did not work in practice, I have been child-free for eight earthling years. This is the period of time I have devoted to trying to be a millionaire, it was catch-up time. I had devoted my life to the fickle foursome, with no financial or physical assistance from two dead beat fathers. Personally, I think they should be paying my pension.
Making a fortune has proved harder than I thought. I went bust and got cancer.
Back to the drawing board.
I am cured of the cancer at least (for now) but here is the thing with getting older, things get worse, not better.
It begins with the skeleton, then the organs, and sometimes the brain. Even your skin gets up after you in the mornings.
I am not complaining about getting old. I plan to be the face of the feisty fifties, until I am sixty, when I will find another clever alliteration. I am still socially vibrant, in touch with current intellectual thought, and most of all, I am wise. There is not much I don't like about getting older, except getting old.
But I am complaining about being put to work in B and Q like some favour, under the banner of 'keep them occupied' when really it is a political drive to get us to pay for our own medication. I do not need to be occupied, I need a bloody rest.
A recent government report has looked into the viability of raising the retirement age to seventy-five.
I can only think of reasons why this is a flawed plan in women over fifty-five.
We are physically falling apart. I personally see the doctor at least once a week.
We know best. Women over fifty have been there, done it and got the tee. This makes us unfit to deal with the public, especially youth, which can be defined as anyone under fifty.
Our country owes us. We created or supported a generation of children, either through our wombs or breasts, or through schools or hospitals; we were your dinner ladies, your ticket collectors, and your cleaners. We mopped your brows and your spew. We listened, we cared, we took action.
You made a promise that we could have a rest and then stole it from us.
I am not suggesting for one moment that women over fifty-five should not work at all. But I am suggesting that we should be allowed to make the choice and that those choices should be acceptable to us. I quite fancy an hour a week in the Chanel concession at Boots, when my arthritis isn't playing up, when my menopausal hot flushes are at bay and when my grief over how I wasted my life in violent unstable relationships is at the back of my elderly and confused mind.
You guys cannot erase the history of our use, or the vibrancy of our current existence, cancel our deployment, and then make us slaves to the market economy. We won't let you.
Pasha du Valentine
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