The (Shy And) Retiring Type…

A few days ago, I made the decision to retire from my present job.

It is something I have been brooding over for some while, and having a little time and space to think while I walked on Dartmoor last week enabled me to finally accept a decision I had really come to some time before.


For a long time I have instructed groups in an outdoor environment, in activities such as climbing, canoeing, navigation and team building. As I have got older, though, I have naturally found these activities both physically and mentally more demanding. After all, when you are responsible for people’s safety as well as teaching them skills, there is an added pressure on everything you do.

A number of other stresses in my life over the last year or so have not helped, especially as they are still ongoing.


So as well as a sense of regret, there is certainly a great feeling of relief. Regret, because I have had a huge amount of both pleasure and satisfaction from this work, which has carried me through those times when I felt it was becoming all too much, but relief that now it is time to call it a day, as I have reached the point where I know I cannot carry on for much longer.

I love being in an outdoor environment. It is why I choose to go to hills and woods and mountains rather than towns and cities, and this was instrumental in my deciding to teach these activities in the first place. But the obverse of that coin is that so often I am unable to really enjoy being there, since I am entirely focused on my group and the activities – which is how it should be, of course.


One thing I shall look forward to, then, is being able to enjoy that environment every time I am there, without constantly having to check everyone is safe, or ensuring the activities are taking place as they should be.

While I intend to bring a greater focus to my writing, and also to my painting, I will also have to find something to bring in a little money for the next couple of years until I reach the state retirement age. I’ve no idea what that will be, yet.


Essentially, I just feel burnt out. It is a very intensive job, in the way that care work, for example, can be, and I know it is the right time to go. Otherwise, there is the risk I will begin to run sessions that no one will want to take part in.

And that’s not the way I want it to finish. Far better that people should ask why I am going, than they should ask why I have not gone before now.

62 thoughts on “The (Shy And) Retiring Type…

  1. The best of luck with your retirement, Mick. I am sure that you have many happy years of walking in the outdoors to look forward to.

    As for finding something to bring in money, perhaps you could help to sort out Brexit? Or maybe not … Seriously, I wish you all the best in finding something to bring in money.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a huge and brave decision and it sounds to me as though it is the right one. What a wonderful job you have had, bringing so much to many people – I cannot think of anyone with whom I would rather engage in outdoor pursuits! But how lovely that you will be able to enjoy those things without added pressures, as well as pursuing your creative endeavours. I am delighted for you, but also sending hugs for the inevitable grief that such changes bring. Take good care of yourself, you are a proper little treasure. The very best of luck, my dear friend!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. My pleasure, I assure you. Just think of all the new, unknown adventures that lay ahead! And just think, when you retire you can join Sam Catchpole and me in little red van for all sorts of outdoor shenanigans!
        (That sounds far ruder that is intended – it’s more roaming the the countryside and cooking sausages over fires, don’t worry)

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Now I was absolutely not aware of this aspect, Mick. I am delighted to hear that you have enabled many people to enjoy the outdoors and nature. Something I also love, immensely. It is my belief that whatever you have decided is based on your experience and the decision you take today will make you happy in some way. You have mentioned the other issue you will have to confront; I’m sure life will figure out something for you. Good luck, Mick.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Best of luck, Mick. What a wonderful career to look back on. And by leaving now, you can leave with no regrets. Wait and see how busy you will be with more ‘free’ time! I’m sure you will find something fulfilling to do and I’m sending all my best wishes!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Retiring while you’re ahead is a good idea. Maybe you can get some more dosh from writing a guide book or something on how to lead outdoor activity groups? Must be some way to capitalize on your knowledge and experience. It’ll be great, I agree, when you can fully enjoy what you love without the added responsibility for other people’s wellbeing. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Val. I thought of the guide book a couple of years ago, but there are so many of them around, and I think you really need to know an area inside out to make a good job of it. Having said that, though, I don’t entirely rule out some sort of project on those lines.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Your writing and photography are always excellent, and sounds like your reasoning powers are functioning 100%, so just sending best wishes for the next project you decide to tackle. Being out in nature, without the burden of shepherding duties, will be certain to recharge your batteries.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Well done, Mick. A brave and wise decision.

    Because I didn’t have much in the way of retirement savings (I’d pumped all my spare cash into my mortgage) I’d originally planned to keep working 3 years beyond official state pension date, but didn’t – for a variety of reasons.

    And I’m so glad. In fact, I wish I’d thought more about retiring even earlier! Life has never been so good, despite my creaking knees and failing eyesight.

    I do hope you find something that’s not personally draining to help you financially through the next couple of years. And if good wishes floating about in the aether help, then you’re already halfway there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Denise. No, I’ve no savings either, so need to do something. But I understand what you say about retiring earlier, even under the circumstances. It’s all about quality of life, rather than loads of money. Just having time, as long as you just have enough to live on. Thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Sounds like a good decision, Mick—made at the right time for the right reasons. Entering the unknown has some uncertainty, but it’s also a new adventure and you seem like someone very adept at handling adventure. I’m not fond of the word retirement—it has too many old connotations of idle people sitting in rocking chairs. We need a new word that conveys the evolution to new interests, activities, and explorations. Maybe you could work on that?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A new word…hmm…I’m sure there must be one already, although I’ve no idea what it is. Maybe a transformation, or something. But I’ll take a little bit of idleness among the adventures. Can’t be rushing around all the time…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Tough decision to make Mick but it sounds like it’s the right thing for you at the right time. So many people struggle on far too long in jobs they don’t enjoy or that don’t work for them. I’m sure that the next stage of life will fall into place for you as leaving was the big decision. Something will come along when you least expect it. Best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Knowing when to retire is always so hard. But I think if you feel relief about your decision, then clearly it was the right one. You did a great job and now you deserve a bit of a rest, and a chance to simply enjoy the outdoors on your own terms. Congrats on your retirement!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Brenda Fisher

    Hello Mick,
    You will be greatly missed I am sure and if you feel it is time to go and move on to other things then now is the time to do it. You are a multi-talented man and one of the nicest people I have ever met so good luck for the future and I’ll watch for updates. Regards Brenda

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Colin Barrett

    Charlotte will be disappointed.

    Seriously, it sounds like the right decision for you Mick. I wish you health and happiness in your retirement and that you start to enjoy the great outdoors without the worry and strains that accompany looking after groups. I hope you continue writing and painting as I enjoy hearing about Bob and your other stories and have always liked your paintings (I’ve just revisited a few of the Portuguese doorways).

    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Colin. I trust you looked after Charlotte well this last week!
      I hope to find more time for the writing and painting, although I do need to find something work-wise for a while.
      Bob will be back!


  13. Great that you have peace of mind and be able to enjoy without worry. Alas, money is a necessary evil… Just take each day as it comes Mick, well done on making a decision to Live and not just Exist. 😃🌼💐🌻🌺💞🌷🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Congratulations, Mick. There will always be something, I suspect, you’ll be working on and refining, goes with your character and passion for life. Being able to take away the stresses of a job that no longer meshes with your mindset is special. Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Good decision, Mick.
    You’ll find, initially, that you’re busier now than when you worked for a living. But, as you come to terms with your new way of life, your priorities will change and you’ll grow accustomed to the fact that the choices are now yours; yours alone. That’s when the days become much better. Of course, the advnaces of age, the deteriorations of the physical, are unavoidable, but activity and leading an interesting life all help keep you fit and fully alive.
    Enjoy your new role.
    You’re a photographer – indulge in the new opportunities and get more stuff on that useful store at Picfair.
    You’re a writer – indulge in the opportunities to write what you want.
    But, most of all, enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Stuart. All of that is true. I will have to find something for a couple of years, but it will only be for a day or two a week. The main thing is I need a change – I feel both mentally and physically drained by my work, and know it’s time to move on. There will never be any problem with filling time – there’s never enough time, really. But away from whatever work I manage to pick up (and, of course, at our age it’s not a foregone conclusion that I will), there is writing, painting, photography, travel in all its forms…

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.