Your last day before retirement is a relief. Work friends have organised evening drinks at a bar down the road from the office. It’s intended to be a celebration: of you, of your work, of the value you’ve brought to the company in the last decade.

A neon blue sign reading, "Work Harder" unsplash-logo Image by Jordan Whitfield

And this is a time for celebration, just not a celebration of what the company wants. After you’ve said your goodbyes and walked out of the office, you text, I’m sorry! Something’s come up! I won’t be able to make drinks tonight. Enjoy yourselves.

This is your freedom.

Bruises begin as blue stains. Their colour shifts, fades to yellow as they heal and once the red blood that had seeped from your veins and arteries ages and breaks down.

You go home.

Bruises and cuts take a long time to heal. You want them to heal.

But some wounds don’t heal well — scars remain, joints hurt when weighted, mobility is lost. Tiredness seeps in to bones and flesh, pervading all.

It’s been a long life of doing things for others, spending your days making a living. Familiar thoughts surface: what is next for you? What do you want to do, now that you don’t have to spend your waking hours working a job just to survive?

What are you hobbies? There have been many over the years, but they’ve come and gone and been given up to the daily grind of work.

What is important to you? What was important?

You sit and wonder.