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Working after retirement: A life on the ocean wave (part 2)


First day nerves

Once I’d boarded the ship, a very helpful lady who was busy putting the finishing touches to my cabin went off to find my joining instructions, which advised me to go to an ‘entertainers’ meeting after the lifeboat drill.
Entertainer? I hadn’t really thought of myself working after retirement as an entertainer, but along I went to a room where there were lots of people, most of whom were crew, including one septuagenarian with a splendid moustache who announced his role was ‘to bring pleasure to single ladies’ – it turned out he was one of the dance partners!
I hadn’t really thought of myself working after retirement as an entertainer.

Awkward introductions

We had to go round the room saying who we were and what we did, and I was last. “Er, I’m David Sanders, a professor of psychology”, I said, and everyone froze, drinks halfway to their mouths.
Perhaps the impending psycho-analysis I was about to carry out on my peers was what caused the stir, or they were shocked that anybody could call psychology ‘entertaining’... either way, I hadn’t expected working after retirement to be this nerve-racking.
The cruise director finally broke the silence with an invitation to put in orders for cheap wine from something called the ‘slop chest’ and asked for volunteers to help with the shore tours. He then told me I was up on the second sea day, first thing in the morning.
I spent the first sea day in my little cabin, rewriting my lectures to suit the audience and reading the rules of my new retired life. I wasn’t allowed to get drunk, gamble in the casino, talk about politics or religion, or entertain passengers in my cabin.
I worried if anyone would turn up to my talk, and I worried if they did, whether they’d like it? The ship was quite small – if I made a mess of it, there was nowhere to hide.

The moment of truth

I ate a hearty breakfast, as I thought condemned men do, and went along to the lounge where the lecture was to take place 10 minutes early so they could plug in my computer and show me the radio microphone.
No passengers were there at all, so I loitered anxiously near the lectern on the stage, pretending to be someone who wasn’t the speaker.
Then, about 150 passengers came in and sat down, the cruise director came onto the stage and introduced me, and they turned all the lights off except a spotlight, glaring down at me…
What experiences do you have of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone? We’d love to hear.
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.


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