What’s it all about?

This blog is about transition, that time between the world of needing to work and not. Not necessarily not working but doing so at that time of life when the necessity to do so has passed. The step up to ‘Act 3’ after Act 1 – education and Act 2 – work.

Essentially the Time Of Your Life to have the Time Of Your Life – a TOYLer’s life for me!

Work that we have previously done may well continue, however we may choose more quality and less quantity – that is more of what we like and less of what we don’t. Some jobs may be better suited to this than others, some might be ended but returned to in a part-time or consultancy role and others may well be left for good and another career pursued, or not.

Seldom these days does one pack up the desk, collect the gold watch and drive off into the sunset for a life of full-time leisure, imminent decline and death having collected the pension for only a short time. Not only because we are living longer but also because most of us still need some purpose in our lives and a passion or two to follow.

‘Work’ can of course be paid or unpaid, employed or voluntary and might well be doing that ‘stuff’ we’ve put off for years until we retire. Learning something new, a language, an instrument or just how to relax and be comfortable about doing nothing much but being in the moment and hopefully living the TOYL.

This is not a ‘how-to’ or a ‘do it this way’ space, it’s a lot about me and my insecurities about the transition and who will I be when my job and profession do not define me. But also, hopefully a place to share ideas, concerns and expectations as well as the experiences of others – what worked well and what didn’t so as to ease the transition to TOYL!

 Moving on from TOIL to TOYL – the journey of discovery can be exciting as well as daunting!

If you are able to lock up the shop and walk away for good and pursue a life of leisure, R&R 24/7 or if you have your future life planned and the execution of this is going smoothly then your TOYL is sorted I and others are somewhat envious!



This TOYL blog is for those ‘others’, those facing the ‘unknown unknowns’ as well as the ‘known unknowns’ and ‘unknown knowns’ with hopefully few ‘known knowns’ thrown in for good measure too. Those like me who want to step back from the world of work, excited but with some trepidation, uncertain what the future holds and under confident that this new life will live up to expectations.


Planning to retire is not just about reaching the destination and since a goal without a plan is just a wish by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail, let the journey begin

Well I guess, people like me and my contemporaries… Who am I aiming this blog at?


Carolyn is 56 and a partner in a global financial services firm but became very ill and re-evaluated what work was doing for and to her. Although still working part time and with a significantly lower income she is able to do more of what she enjoys and travel less. This allows her to spend more time with her children and explore her new-found passion – research and writing.  WE can learn from Carolyn’s story that one doesn’t have to give up work completely to begin TOYLing – It’s not about stopping what you enjoy but rather more about doing less of what drains you!

John 52 – Graduated in with a vocational science degree but the career this had mapped out for him didn’t tick his particular boxes and through a series of twists and turns that life can throw at us found himself the owner of a childrens nursery. John comes from a family used to hard work but valuing socialising and family time. For several generations John’s family has resisted the pressure to work harder for longer and when it became clear that his lifestyle could be maintained from the rent on the nursery building alone he stopped working and now is a full time TOYLer. We can learn a lot from John about when enough is enough and thus when one can begin TOYLing earlier rather than later in life. 

Veronica 55 – is a surgeon with a passion for performance story telling. She wrote to me: What I want to do is jack it all in and start up an entirely different career. But I can’t afford that, or rather my dependants can’t afford for me to do that. So, I am quietly building up marketable skills for a portfolio career sometime, and have made myself a promise that I will give up something clinical every year. Actually, this process started 3y ago at. 52, with dropping my on-call, then a session drop, then medico-legal reports, then NHS work in the private sector, soon all work in private sector, and next year another session down, and so forth as we gradually adjust to a slightly smaller income and until I get to the point that I don’t feel generally hacked off with life all the time. Assuming that day comes….and it will I’m sure. There’s a plan and it’s already started paying off and the light at the end of the tunnel glows just a little brighter. We can learn a lot from Veronica about planning ahead and starting to live the TOYL. Living the dream albeit in small chunks makes it easier to expand these when life allows it.

Graham 58 – Musical Theatre Production was a passion for decades and Graham was very successful. However, he recognised a few years ago that the love had waned and that time was ripe for a new challenge. Living in one of the world’s most expensive cities made the financials a bit trickier. However selling up and buying property in ‘paradise, ’ Spain to be precise gave him and his wife a dream home and a rental income in a beautiful location and none of the pressures of the music business – although no doubt there are others! We can learn a lot from Graham about just getting on and taking the plunge, not overthinking things but giving enough thought to get a plan to fruition. Procrastination can kill a dream!

Some friends are happier than others and I can see absolutely NO relationship to income or wealth. Multi-millionaires crave just a few more million just to be safe whilst others take the plunge with a mere fraction but with a heart full of daring do!

Who are the players in our world of TOYL?

Like a good meal – The players are like a fancy meal. What tastes good? What went down well and what was an acquired taste? Would I have that again? Was the portion size too big or too small? Could I even live on nothing but that, do I prefer simple pleasures or am I just not hungry enough just now?

  1. Un apéritif – setting the scene, building up an appetite, perusing the menu and planning the future.
  2. Un amuse-bouche – snack (just one or two bites) – Now that’s an interesting flavour but not 24/7?
  3. Une entrée – appetizer – That’s more like it and possibly worthy of a main course in bigger portions.
  4. Le plat principal – main course – Getting stuck into this transition thing and really chewing it over.
  5. Le fromage – cheese – strong flavours, small quantities, variety – possibilities of a portfolio here?
  6. Le dessert –  Oh the sweetness of it all when a plan comes good!
  7. Le café – Back to earth – a little bitterness to balance the sweat – this is the real world after all!
  8. Un digestif – transition truly done and dusted – fully savouring the TOYL!

…and don’t forget the champagne!