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The Sassy Side of Sixty: Retirement

by Aiden

Dolly Koghar gives her generation’s take on this mystical concept.

It’s normal to dream of a day in the near future when the daily rat race will be left behind, and you’ll finally lead a chilled and ‘retired’ life like the oldies in your family. Well, dear youth, it’s time to pull your naïve head out of the sand; your painting of a ‘retired’ life is a mirage, namumkinbakwass; unreal and nonsensical. Life does not give anyone the luxury to ‘retire’, not even on the ‘sassy’ side of sixty.

  • This woman starts her day with yoga or an exercise routine, and does a lot of reading. When out for the occasional kitty or lunch, she rushes home to be in time for her husband returning from Sampheng.
  • This one, too, starts the day with walking and yoga, and the daily call to her widowed mother. The rest of the day is spent seeing to the house and the needs of an aged in-law, with the occasional shopping escapade or outing with friends. But she’s recently challenged herself to learn painting.  
  • Mum of two, she doubles as nanee and dadee for her children’s children.
  • With a part-time maid, this woman takes care of household chores, going to the market, and cooking, and now her husband’s failing health. She combines her evening cuppa with a visit to her bedridden in-law, and very often deals with babysitting requests. Her favourite pastime is the gossip session during the evening promenade with neighbours. 
  • With just two of them at home, this couple’s favourite past time is cards and board games. When she feels she’s about to crack, she escapes to meet up with friends. 
  • To get away from the boredom and the tedious chore of grandkids-sitting, this couple dine out often and travel at every given opportunity.
  • A widow of some years, she’s available to her mother if there’s a need; otherwise, she has a good group of friends for outings, including inexpensive trips within the country. 
  • She was socially active, till her husband’s incapacitation. Despite having enough help, she’s now homebound to supervise his treatments and dietary needs, and to keep him positive.  
  • The COVID years normalised working from home, and even now this gentleman is still stuck to his laptop, with failed attempts at yoga or a quick swim before sitting through the day. 
  • Though long past retirement age, this once-lively man continues to hatt-paer-maro, move hands and feet, to find something, anything, to make ends meet!


  • This never-say-never granny heads off to her place of worship daily, without fail. She’s back for a light lunch, followed by the much-needed siesta. Then it’s time for Ekta Kapoor’s serials with tea and mathee; rounding the day off with an easy evening stroll before family dinner. 
  • A long-time widower, this man is well past the age or the need to brave the heat and traffic to Sampheng, but it’s what gives him a purpose and eases his loneliness somewhat. Occasionally, he’ll invite a friend or two over for drinks and dinner. 
  • As long as she can, this lady wants to be doing her own housework; it occupies both her day and her mind. 
  • Bone and muscle atrophy has made this man bedridden and his day is spent being bathed, fed, getting therapeutic massages and going to the hospital for frequent, much-needed visits. His day’s highlights are his children’s visitations and calls.
  • This woman’s children squabble over whose turn it is for her to come and stay with them; they also take her on outings and trips suitable to their personal budgets. 

My advice for anybody and everybody is to remember that there’s only one prerequisite that’ll make old age liveable, and that is money; without which, even the basic necessities will dry up.  You’ll need it, if you want to be out and about with friends and family, and it’s money that’ll enable you to visit doctors and keep yourself healthy for longer. And God forbid, should your health decline, it’s the same money that’ll see you through. So, be wise and save for the rainiest of days, old age!

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