Retirement 101 and Beyond

by Margaret
(Johannesburg, South Africa)

I retired at the end of April 2017 at the age of 66. Although I was asked to stay on, the culture of the organisation had changed and I saw that the new regime would end in tears, so I took the gap.

Knowing what I was going to do, I made up my mind I was not going to find myself regretting the move to retirement, so I put myself through a self-designed course "Retirement 101."

I read quite widely, (and that is where I found this website) and two books were particularly helpful - "Retirement, the Psychology of re-invention" by Prof Kenneth S Schultz (a DK publication)and Julia Cameron's "It's Never too Late to Begin Again."

My husband's sudden onset (and recovery from) septicaemia, a trip to Scotland to honour the memory of my late mother, and other illnesses served to remind me that Death is inevitable at some stage.

We may not have THEN, we only have NOW, and I was more determined to live a worthwhile life while I still can.

I decided that for day-to-day living, I would get up and be ready to start the day by 09h00. No slouching around in pyjamas after that.

I also took the opportunity to do whatever part-time work came my way, and have been given to opportunity to invigilate exams at those times of the year. Boring work, and not well paid, but it's great to be with young people. The pennies I earn give me a little bit of spoil-space.

Overall, I took on three aims - to grow in mind, body and spirit.

For MIND, I have resurrected my old recorder, found a teacher and will be doing an exam later this year - and boy, is my memory capacity rusty! The Universe pointed me in the direction of a hobby recorder ensemble, and we meet once a fortnight and play lovely pieces in different parts. Fun!

BODY - I have arthritis in both my knees, but I found a wonderful biokineticist who is giving me exercises, and I go (fairly) regularly to the gym in an effort to stave off knee-replacements for as long as possible. I managed to go all the way to top of two Scottish castles as a result, although I'm sure the tour-guides were very nervous.

SPIRIT - social - I felt I needed to give back to society, and after the experience of my job, I wanted to avoid people just for a while. I discovered three women who have opened a wildlife Veterinary practice. They work either for nothing or for a pittance, but any sick snake or injured hedgehog or wild bird can be taken to them any time over 24 hours, they will heal it, rehabilitate it, and release it back to the wild. They have monthly expenses which I am able to do a bit for (and I am dragging my friends into it too), and I am going to try my hand at find-raising to get them a new X-ray machine.

SPIRIT - creative- I have re-joined an embroidery group and dug out the old stuff kept in the back of forgotten cupboards, and enjoy a wonderful group of women who create beautiful things, and being who they are, there is also opportunity to knit clothes and blankets for the many homeless we have in our city.

So far, so good. There ARE times of blue moods, when I realise how easily I have been forgotten. Reading this website has taught me that children and grandchildren are too busy to bother much with us other than obligatory birthdays and Christmas and school concerts.

My contemporaries have health issues, some have died, and "over the hill" is no longer a joke.

Money is limited and must be watched But I do have NOW, and I'm making the most of it. Please God I am independent for a long time, and can continue enjoying my lovely life.

And when I reach the next stage, I hope "Retirement 202" will help me to deal with that graciously and with good humour.

Comments for Retirement 101 and Beyond

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Thank you
by: Linda/FL

Your post was well received reminding me of the power of the mind. I like how you "coached" yourself and how you covered each area with some goals that will make your retirement a positive one.

Mind, Body & Spirit
by: Joe W.

Margaret, I congratulate you and I think that you have discovered the mother-lode in finding different ways for yourself to enjoy and yet have a meaningful and purposeful retirement life i.e. Retirement 101 and beyond.

Your own Mind, Body & Spirit is a great framework to begin understanding how you fit personally into a retirement lifestyle that is right for you.

In the end retirement means health & wellness, the the courage to take on risks, and the passion and desire to learn something new everyday; and like you say, out of your PJ's by 9:00 am everyday.Good Luck with all of your future retirement activities.

You have definitely been an inspiration to myself and many others in this retirement community. I was starting to get pretty discouraged with this group because they were not looking for the light (Retirement 101) but they were buried deep in their own mostly bad circumstances with little or no hope for success.

Retirement success does not come easy for most people. Be prepared to work for it just as hard or maybe even harder then what you experienced before retirement. God Bless!

Joe W.

to Margaret
by: Anonymous

Wonderful post, thank you.

Wisdom in Aging
by: Anonymous

Can’t wait until you write more. Beautifully done.

Thank you for the balance

Margaret, Thank you so much for your solid, balanced positive post!

This is a great piece, for me anyway, to read and reread. It sounds like you really "did your homework before making a sound decision and moving on at the right time to intentionally create something new, more than just leaving behind something old.

It always helps to remember the value of "Now".

May you keep enjoying "101" and do as well with "102"!

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