After seven months since my departure in government service, I finally got a word from GSIS that my application for retirement, in a few weeks, will be processed. By then I will be called a pensioner. By then I will no longer dream of re-entering the labor force to work my butt out. By then I will be receiving, if my computation is correct, an amount almost at par with my previous monthly salary and surprisingly, it is no longer taxable.
I will definitely miss my allowances, some perks and privileges but what the heck, I would gladly exchange it with all the drudgeries, humiliations, stresses, intrigues, indignities and intimidations one gets from working. The agency can have it lock, stock and barrel. No love lost there.
But definitely, I missed the friendship forged in the course of the struggle to achieve something in the organization. Well, several of them have retired anyway while others are contemplating to follow.
As a retiree, I will finally get to see how a part of my salary which was spliced and obligated, even made as investment, delivered back to me in the form of pension.
Accordingly, the pension will be deposited by GSIS in my UMID card and I could regularly withdraw from it on a monthly basis up until I reach thy kingdom come. Fair enough. A friend of mine, formerly head of a national association of government accountants, confided that I, along with several retirees, are lucky at this time to receive a fair share in our pension because it has been increased from the usual 20% of the retirees salary to 80%. He never enjoyed it though because he retired earlier when his recommendation had not yet been considered.
Anyway, while in my estimation my pension could smoothly sustain my routine, the threat of contracting ailments remains a proximate reality. Those who have reached senior citizen level have sensitive physical and psychological predisposition already. Their eye sights are faltering, their body metabolism has slowed down, their stamina has become suspect and their endurance has slackened to a large extent. But of course, moderation in diet and a disciplined restrain on certain physical activities may obviate sudden physiological deterioration.
A number of my fellow retirees have virtually made the hospital their home and their pension as passport for their medical travails. A handful actually is there to enjoy in pristine form their annuities.
Pensioners have achieved a certain degree of recognition with the passage of law on the benefits of senior citizens. In some cities, movies for them are free. They get considerable discounts too in malls, restaurants, pharmacies and groceries. Unlike before when I along with my peers would display generous braggadocio in paying the bills as treat in a restaurant, now we could only wave and present our senior citizen IDs to the cashier and we are granted a handsome cut.
Personally, I felt that it was also some kind of racism as when I would be at the tail end of a cue in the bookstore. Before, I will have to patiently wait for my turn. Now, sales clerks would even carefully accost me to the nearest cashier for instant transaction as if I am the owner of the joint! There is respect everywhere. Well, provided that one must not act or appear as a millennial.
When I look back, I could see my grandfather, my father and all those old people during my youth and I swear, they were all to me so pitiful ageing beings. They stooped a lot. They unbearably smelled like the soil also. Now, the ball is in my hands but boy! I have a complete line of lotions which the youth today may find it competitive to deal with me at close range. Half of my pension, I intend to devote on vanity.
The struggle to look fresh and clean is always there, something my ancestors forgot.