My Retirement Day
My employer is playing God with me. They have already chosen the day when I am finally going to retire. Guess what, that would be the 3rd of September, 2036. My 60th birthday.
When I was forced to sign this agreement a few months earlier, I felt like my life was all set and programmed, like an entertaining puppet being controlled by some mysterious hands.
Knowing that my days have already been numbered, I couldn’t help imagining what it would be like on that day when I finally retire. What would I be doing?
I would probably be sitting down in a comfortable chair in my big glassy office room, surrounded by shiny trophies on the table and huge photos framed nicely on the wall.
I would gaze proudly at the awards, thinking of the many accomplishments in phonetics research, of the many publications in international conference proceedings and high-impact journals.
I would stare at the photos, smiling nostalgically at the faces of beloved students, colleagues, friends and family members, cherishing the moments of pride and glory.
Ah, I would laugh again when I look at my silly poses at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, at the Statue of Liberty in America, snow-capped mountains in Switzerland… gosh, I have been everywhere.
Knock! Knock! I would jump out of my seat. My secretary would enter the room, smile and say, “I’m sorry. Everyone is waiting for you in the meeting room.”
Oh, as usual, I would forget again. Actually, there would be a farewell party for me that day to celebrate my retirement day. Would that be really necessary?
I would walk out of my room very slowly and head to the meeting room, thinking of how fast time has gone by. Have I followed my dreams? I would ask again for the umpteenth time.
I would step into the room and hear the mumbling noise. “Oh, here he is,” says one of my colleagues. “Everyone… we give you now – Professor Datuk Dr. Hilmi Hamzah!”
I would grin cheekily and say, “Thank you, my dear friends. I am very honoured to be standing here as an old grumpy man who is finally going to retire and have the time of his life.”
Some of them would laugh nervously. I would look around, inhale the air deeply and continue, “This might sound spooky, but honestly, I have lived this very moment a long long long time ago.
You see, human being are the only ones who are aware that their days are numbered, that the things in this life don’t last very long, that nothing in this life endures.
For that, we always regard our lives as a battlefield that is worthy of an immortal being. We have children, we leave behind great works and legacy so we wouldn’t be forgotten, right?
That, for me, is the highest expression of human dignity. That, for me, goes beyond our retirement days. That, for me, will motivate us to do the best things in our lives.
No, I’m not sure whether I have done enough. But, I do know that I have been daring enough, that I have gone much further in my conquests, because I have nothing to lose. For today is inevitable.”
I would hear some cheering, but I wouldn’t care much. I would just walk out of the room soon, feeling content and looking forward to a luxurious retirement. A personal limo would be nice.