The Tai Chi class didn’t start on time. What’s the point of running? This Friday morning the sky is spring blue and in the middle of the week there is no risk of seeing hordes of workers with children crouching on the lawns of Longchamp Park, in the city center of Marseille, on weekends. In Gérard’s group, the instructor, the students, all retired for a few years, have time. While the first to arrive stretches, Françoise, 74, does not drop her jacket. “It’s the strong group, I’ll wait for the next one”smiles the former psychologist who officiated until 2008 in a children’s center.
She quit her job at the age of 60, thanks to her three children and her student jobs, which earned her some income. In excellent shape, Françoise has filled her schedule with dance, philosophy and languages classes at university, free time, volunteering and being with her elderly mother and her grandchildren. “Physically yes, I could have continued. But when we have decided to leave, it is difficult to go backhe admits, almost feeling guilty. I am incredibly lucky to have stopped working so young, my children tell me. Bringing her initial age back to 65, she sees it as one “injustice” : “That would mean we wouldn’t all be the same when it comes to retirement. There is no reason why we shouldn’t try to find other systems.
“Will there be work for young people?”
The day before, he hesitated to join other pensioners who were walking the pavement in Marseille, as elsewhere in France, to ask for an increase in their pension, beyond the question of the starting age. “Basically we consume, we enrich society”notes Paul, who will soon be 73 and now attends tai chi classes regularly. For the former employee of a dental distributor he left at 60, postponing retirement age, as long as he is in good shape, is not the problem. “But if we stay, will there be work for the young?” Unemployment, he experienced it at 53. Fired, he spent five years fighting at the Pôle Emploi before finding a small job, the time to do it. “Getting old”. “I’m more concerned about job seekers than future retirees. Let them take care of them before us ”.
What bothers Claude, 72, is “Especially this uniformity” : “I am in favor of retirement at 60, leaving the choice. We can’t put the same rules for those who have spent their lives in the factory just for me”, summarizes the former university professor. It is with death in the soul that he left his place at the age of 67. “The first two years I had to cry … And then I took a step back.” In addition to tai chi, Claude now devotes himself to pilates and feeds his passion for photography, between two cultural outings. “The problem with retirement is that you are old, jokes. It may be better to arrange working hours first.
The crunching kidneys
Leon, 77, does not take the tai chi class, it would not even have occurred to him. He is waiting for the green light to take home his teenage nephew who, for now, is still chatting with his friends. He retired at the age of 60, after twenty-six years spent under the bodywork. “I’ve had enough”, summarizes. The creaking kidneys, the paint fumes that sometimes make you spit blood, the glasses that have become indispensable and that fog up because of the work mask … «But it is above all morally that it has become complicatedsupports the pensioner. The customers are more and more annoying, the cars are more and more electronic… In fact it is the job that has changed, not me. In his profession, “we rarely exceed 60 years”, He explains. So 65 … “Maybe I could have continued for two years, but no more.”
Tai chi enthusiasts have finished the first session, the new recruits are taking their places, opposite Master Gérard, on the lawn. Practical case of the day: performing the “flower movement”. Patricia, 71, throws in the towel. “With my prosthesis it is too difficultit justifies itself. And then I do it as an amateur, it’s our retirement privilege! Privileged, too, he lists, because she is the owner, her retirement as a family court judge is comfortable and her health is satisfactory. “Otherwise it’s not the sameshe insists. Last year, at tai chi, there was a worker for whom the contribution of five euros was a real sacrifice. Patrizia is still in “young retiree” : ended his career at 67 and a half to accumulate enough quarters. “The last six months of business have been terribleshe says. We no longer have the same mental availability, we begin to stiffen in our certainties. I wouldn’t say I’ve been less effective, I’ve had a professional and personal experience that added value. But we can no longer project ourselves ”. Retirement at 65, why not: “We must hope that if we postpone the departure, the pensions will be revalued.” But on condition of not decreeing “A universal era” regardless of pain. The desire for reform does not worry him: “You have to trust collective common sense, you can never go back completely. We must remain confident in the future, otherwise this is the case without a future. “