Fleeing to single-bum safety

The office chair has a major attraction: there’s only room for a single bum. Supplied by Dauphin, South Africa

The office chair has a major attraction: there’s only room for a single bum. Supplied by Dauphin, South Africa

Published Dec 3, 2023


Durban — Retired hurt. Bloody, bruised and smothered in dog fur.

The human occupant of the couch has been hounded from the couch. The battle had been anticipated, the brutality not so much.

In the build-up to the more permanent occupation of our shared domain, I had observed how my companions sprawled over many cushions, comfy as could be. I figured I could see a small gap where I could fit in with them. Sadly, my grasp outstretched my considerable reach.

Snarling, growling and gnashing teeth culminated in a couple of clashes as the canines fought to claim the closest spot to the now more frequently in-attendance human. I grasped the opportunity to flee to the strictly single-bum office chair. And so here I am – Off The Couch.

The only good things to come out of the brief foray into OAP status was a mental deep-cleanse and detox, a supremely streamlined financial status and a new understanding of who runs the couch.

Being alive is a wondrous thing because you never know what, when or how the next curveball will come at you. What happens next depends on you being nimble, flexible and open to exploring. Even if it’s only on the couch.

The hiatus inspired a thorough fiscal spring clean. Numbers are anathema to me and so I had bumbled along for years, doing my best to keep our little budgets under control.

This little hiccup forced me to gird my loins and whip out a scalpel to slice off everything that didn’t contribute to the health of the whole body, which is now lean and mean. Well, not the physical body, but the budgetary one.

How empowering it is to weigh up what is an important need and what is a nice-to-have which may not be all that nice, just convenient in some small way. Lopping those things off lighten the load on wallets and mental stress. Liberation.

I’m sure my esteemed colleagues in Personal Finance have and will continue to provide sage advice about retiring and the financial planning required for that.

Fortunately for our smart readers, they explain it for financial adults, not like I need it: perhaps the level of a 10-year-old who recoils and runs at the sight of paperwork containing figures.

And there is plenty of that. Mountains of indecipherable words and boxes to tick and decisions to make. And, of course, the omnipresent tax man, unless you are Very Rich or Very Dodgy and know all the tricks to avoid paying him/her.

Sars is richer; you can all thank me later for what surely will contribute enough to the Treasury to put an end to load shedding, potholes and pit latrines at schools.

Retirement is a dream that works for so many who have earned it after years of toil, but here’s what I’ve learnt. It gets real old real fast if you don’t have the physical capacity to do stuff.

I scoffed at a friend who said I would need a new project, but he was right.

There really is only so much TV you can watch, so many games of Solitaire you can play, and so many books you can read until your eyes shut down. I was contemplating an online conservation course before I was allowed to get off the couch and escape the wild dogs.

It’s good to be back.

Independent on Saturday