Retired… what now?

images (9)

Today was the final gathering of a small group I have been leading each Monday morning for the last six weeks. It was titled, Transitioning to Retirement and part of U3A – University of the Third Age. Feedback from participants suggested I should change the title of the group – hence “Retired…what now?” was suggested as an alternative.

We looked at all most of the issues that we face during retirement such as seeking a new direction, finding new ways to fill our time, setting goals for the future etc. Here is a link to the website of our local U3A.

As part of the course I put together a document for the group (based on some information I found online plus some from my solicitor). It is a document that could be used to collect a lot of information in one place. It is probably Australian centric but I can email copies if anyone wants it in Word. I will post a link below to a PDF copy for you to download if you would like to.

combined personal profile and estate plan

I hope that you might find it of some value :). Please note I have no legal training and this is just an administrative document.

Advertisements

100 Reasons To Stay Alive

Today I was looking for information about having a life purpose and there are many lofty ideas out there. I like this post by cheskablogs.wordpress.com as it is something we can all relate to :-).

Transitioning to Retirement

My old workplace

My old workplace

I will be facilitating  a course through the local branch of the University of the Third Age starting in February. The topic of my six-week course (2 hours a week) is Transitioning to Retirement.

I am fascinated with this topic following my own experience in adapting to life post full-time employment (at age 55). When I was working I used to see people in cafes as I rushed past them on my way to the office. I really envied others’ freedom to enjoy a coffee and to read the paper during the morning rush hour. I knew I wanted to do that one day!

That was about the extent of my retirement planning!

Since then I have tried out seven different voluntary roles, five different paid jobs (including casual positions), explored self-employment,  studied professional, creative, and feature writing. I also studied philosophy and dabbled in a few other things as well.

My research recently led me to a book by Nancy K. Schlossberg called Revitalizing Retirement: Reshaping Your Identity, Relationships, and Purpose, published by the American Psychological Association. It is an interesting read!

Nancy talks about having a Psychological Portfolio for retirement made up of IDENTITY, RELATIONSHIPS AND PURPOSE. She suggests that we need to address each of these areas to make the most of the retirement years.

Having moved location at the same time as leaving my long-term career means I have work to do on all three of these areas. I am hoping that my experience and research may help others who are in a similar situation.

Now I think I will have a coffee and read the paper and watch all those workers scurrying to and fro!

Step toward achieving that goal

I am an ideas person! I love coming up with new ideas, however, putting them into practice is another matter. Sometimes I let my ideas go because when I think them through they are not practical or I am not really committed to developing them.

I find this happening a lot more since I am semi-retired but accept that it is OK to carefully explore a range of options before putting energy into achieving them.

On the other hand, I sometimes doubt myself and my abilities to meet my goals. I do like to partner with other people and share ideas and concepts and find it a bit hard to go it alone. Not sure if I am a wimp or if it is just my personality type :-).

Anyway, I found this quote to be encouraging and decided to adopt it as one of my own.

Goals

The passionate idealism of youth

Hope

How can I recapture the enthusiasm I once had to make a difference in the world? Have I changed and become complacent with my good fortune. I remember times when I was younger when I really believed in something – I put all my energies towards making a difference. Perhaps I was idealistic.

Today I have the time and the resources to do something worthwhile but cannot seem to capture the passion I used to have. I seem to have an excuse for every idea I come up with. A lot of it has to do with my lack of trust that my effort will meet its desired outcome.

There is no less need in the world today than when I was younger. I find it hard to trust charities and fear that my contributions may evaporate in keeping the Western administration afloat.

I have a strong belief that literacy is important in achieving equality in our society. I have trained as a tutor however there hasn’t been any demand of late for my tutoring.

I am supportive of the rights of Indigenous Australians but what can I do there to make a difference? The issues are very complex and I risk being a white ‘do-gooder’.

The current refugee crisis calls out for our help. How can we be of help without just contributing financially? (and considering my lack of trust in charities …). I can sign online petitions and I do that when I can.

I also see many people in our community at, or around retirement age, with many skills and lifetime experience who would welcome the opportunity to do something constructive with their time and skills. How can we harness this resource for the better of our community?

Lots of questions but not many answers. Maybe I kid myself and just think of these issues but am really complacent in my comfortable space. If only I could reignite some passion to make a difference in our world!

A clumsy jump into retirement

My old workplace

My old workplace

The post below was written for an exercise in my creative writing class.

I can’t do it any longer. It will kill me if I keep going. After all, it is only a job and there must be more to life than going through the motions and playing the games. The pay and conditions are good but they don’t make up for the emptiness of the soul in doing something that no-one cares about.

The games – well they aren’t much fun. They are word games mostly. The government agrees to being a party to a strategy or initiative. Each year some lonely public servant checks what promises were made and provides some affirmative words to demonstrate that, yes, we, the government have really done something about it. It is written down in black and white weasel words, so it must be accountable. If it is not written down, there may be hell to pay.

I worked for the Office for Women’s Policy – in fact I was the last of the team to resign – I don’t think it is called that anymore. The issues considered were important but they got lost in the midst of political battles and point scoring. Either that or they got stuck in the mud of bureaucracy. For six months I worked on a cabinet submission to encourage greater participation of women on government boards. There was no appetite for this. The public cry was that women shouldn’t be supported to get on boards. After all, men don’t get support – they get appointed on merit. What – are you suggesting that every man on a board has more skills, knowledge and experience than the average female applicant? No, that doesn’t hold water.

Working full-time meant I left home at 7.30am each morning and got home at around 5.30pm each evening. I had little energy to enjoy my leisure time. Work consumed me. Some people can switch off after a day at the office but to me it was personal. The quality of my life was questionable.

We got away for weekends down south as often as we could. I couldn’t wait to get hold of the local papers and check out the real estate pages. We looked at houses and drove down the streets of Busselton and wondered what it would be like to live there. We dined out and pretended we were locals – could we make it a reality?

Unbeknown to me, Tom had done some research online about Busselton. I found a brochure in the mail one day about a Lifestyle Village in Broadwater, close to the beach. I didn’t pay much attention to it but suggested that we could have a look at it next time we were in Busselton. On our next visit we met with the sales rep and looked at a few houses on the Saturday. We decided to have a second look on the Sunday and took away a package of information to consider.

In no time at all, we signed the contract for our new home. We had three months to sell our Perth property. We put it on the market and it sold after thirteen days. Crunch time came at work – it wasn’t difficult to leave as I mentioned earlier, I was the last of the team to abandon ship. I was lucky to be able to keep a tenuous link to my job in case the experiment didn’t work out – this was six months leave without pay.

I haven’t looked back. I didn’t decide to retire – I just jumped out of the workforce when the opportunity presented itself. Now, five years later, I am still considering what my next act will be.

What do you do when you are bored?

boredomSo, boredom – what is it? I rarely say that I am bored as there are so many options of what to do. But there are some days that I don’t feel inclined towards any of my options.

Recently I have brought together a small group of people around my age who are no longer working full-time. Last week we talked about what we hoped to do in retirement or semi-retirement and then reflected on what it is REALLY like. Most people expressed at least some of the following concerns:

  • Fear of not keeping up with what is happening in the workplace eg technology
  • Running out of ideas on how to fill the day (after doing the house and garden until it is perfect)
  • Loss of interaction with other people
  • Loss of identity now that we cannot be defined by our jobs
  • Feeling guilty that we should be happier not working
  • How long does the money have to last?
  • Too much time for contemplation
  • Lack of boundaries that we forced on us when we were working

I am aware that there seems to be little support or training to prepare people for retirement. There is always a big emphasis about the financial side but not as much about the social aspects.

There is the good side as well – I haven’t focused on that in this post. I think we would all agree that not having to set the alarm to get up early for work is the number ONE bonus of not working full-time 🙂

Four years old today

I am talking about this blog – allaboutwordswa that I started four years ago today. I did a Google search on “how do I start a blog” and took it from there to here!

I received a Happy Fourth Anniversary from WordPress today. When I first started the blog I tried to write a post everyday and averaged about five times a week but lately I don’t write as often – not sure why.

I started other blogs during that time and my most recent It’s a Small World  is focused on photos taken by my microscope (Supereyes) and I am having lots of fun with it.

I learned a few things from blogging during this time. Some thoughts follow …

  • I have met so many amazing people  from all over the world and developed some online friendships.
  • My blog provides an avenue where I can think out loud – express my opinions or ask for input from others. It also reminds me of our common humanity.
  • The skills I gained in using WordPress were really useful when I was studying online and using online tools earlier this year.
  • My blog is evidence that I can string a few words together – I include it on my resume (sometimes) so that  potential employers can see that I am computer literate and they can get a bit of an idea about who I am from my writing.
  • I have another blog, Naturaliste Enterprises with my resume and work experience included.
  • When I get really interested in a particular topic – this year it has been about Baby Boomers and retirement related issues – there is an opportunity to put all my thoughts in one place – yes – another blog! This one is called Encore Australia. I saw a lot about Encore Careers in the US and it motivated me to set up an Australian website in relation to these issues. I hope to do more work on this in 2015.

Along the way I have gratefully received over 3,000 comments from readers, had nearly 30,000 views and a total of 600+ have subscribed to read my blog. It is encouraging to get followers and to have people read my posts but I don’t allow that to drive my writing and input.

This is my opportunity to say thank you for reading my posts and I love it when you leave a comment that leads to a discussion and the ‘likes’ are much appreciated as well :-).

IMG_0604 (Copy)

 

I am not making it up …

about ageI recently had my sixtieth birthday and that means I have done a range of things in those six decades. Sometimes I surprise people when I mention some of those things. I guess we all travel our own journeys and we can never be sure where they will take us. A list of some of my adventures follows:

  • I left home in country Victoria at 17 years old to live in Melbourne and I was a bit into the hippie culture at the time
  • I met my first husband in Melbourne and we married when I was 18
  • My three sons were born in my twenties
  • I lived and worked in several remote communities with high Indigenous populations within Australia including Numbulwar in the Northern Territory, Fitzroy Crossing, Derby, Geraldton and Esperance in Western Australia
  • I was the Newman correspondent for the North West Telegraph when I was living in the Pilbara
  • I didn’t complete high school but went on to gain university entrance as an adult and have since achieved separate qualifications in management and professional writing
  • Twice divorced meant some time as a single mother of my three sons
  • I started studying theology at one stage but didn’t see it through plus I was a Church Warden, Synod representative and Pastoral Assistant in the Anglican Church
  • I was a Shire Councillor and Deputy Shire President with the East Pilbara Shire and ran as a candidate for the State Government in 1993
  • During my time working for the government I spent time in Education and Training, Culture and the Arts, Communities and Disability Services
  • I am really interested in computers and social media and love WordPress 🙂

What I find interesting is the diversity of some of my activities but I guess there is some consistency in the overall story. There are a few adventures held back – I don’t want to give everything away!