This is a short piece I have written in response to a think tanks proposal to raise the pension age to 75 by 2035.
I left school, at 16. Started working, paid into my state pension, believed I would work until I was 65 and then retire and be free to do what I wanted. But it didn’t work out like that. I worked and worked all my life, but they the ones in power kept moving my retirement further and further away, 66, 67, 70, 75. It became an unreachable goal, the ultimate carrot and donkey. I went from being the apprentice, the learner to the one taking orders from people young enough to be my grandchildren. The questions never stop going round and round in my head, why? How? Why I am I in this place? How did it come to this? Is this all that life is? One continuous conveyor belt of never-ending work until one day you go to sleep and never wake up? People younger and younger telling you what to do and how to live your life as if you haven’t lived and gained experience? The politicians and business owners claim they work hard and that they deserve their big houses, long holidays, big pensions and early retirement. But it’s you that’s enabled them to be in the position they’re in. You are working every single day until you drop and the ready-made conveyor belt of people waiting to take your place until they follow in your footsteps and work until they die too. In my 50s I realised I would never retire. I would never enjoy days spent chatting with other human beings about the old days in the pub. Instead it’s stolen chats on our breaks before it’s back to work, work, work. They told us work was good for us, for our mental and physical health. But my body and mind are broken, I can’t take anymore. The ones who told us work was good for us retired at 50 on big fat pensions, cut taxes for the rich, increased working lives for the poor. If work is so good, why did they retire as soon as they could? Time moves forward but life goes backwards, retirement is not an option anymore.