Retirement Planning

Missing a Sense of Purpose

It is now five years since I left my fabulous government job assisting businesses with their growth and development. 

I took early retirement as a package was available and I saw my retirement as time with my daughter as she started her family as well as an opportunity to operate a micro business.

In those 5 years I have become a nana to two beautiful grand daughters and spent many hours caring for them. Many more hours than I anticipated due to baby sleep issues and suddenly finding myself in a carer role of my elderly mother.  My eldest grand daughter started school this year, so I only really see her at school pick up – three times a week. But no longer for regular full days. The youngest who is 3, we care for each Thursday.

So early in the year and with the reduction of need for caring, I have found myself struggling. I am missing a sense of purpose. A sense of feeling belonging.  A sense of feeling fulfilled and making a difference.

I have started the year determined to improve my health after 3 weeks of physio on my back. I attend a community centre and attend stretching and Pilate classes. I plan to book time with a personal trainer to help me keep on track. I have booked sessions with a psychologist/hypnotherapist to assist overcome some childhood issues.

On the wellbeing side – I have joined a women’s group choir.  The group sits or stands in a circle and harmonises. I found out it is a form of cappella singing. I loved it. It made me feel grounded, relaxed and uplifted at the same time.

I love to of the ‘songs’ Bella Mama’ and The River Flowing. Below are some links to some You Tube of these songs and type of singing.

After much research, I joined  a local VIEW Club – which is a group for women that raises money for The Smith Family who in turn provide financial support to disadvantaged children. Not long after joining I volunteered for the committee and as assistant secretary am the guest speaker organiser.

Sigh……I just feel brain dead. I feel a lack of stimulation. A lack of purpose.  I am still busy assisting and providing care for my elderly mum. The hours of care depend on her health.  I have just come out of two months of intensive care hours after she had had a fall.

As a celebrant I have conducted a few weddings.

But  I am over being involved in all the stress of brides and weddings. Well at least the very big weddings. I still enjoy the small weddings of 2 – 20 guests. Especially when held on a property or backyard of a home. Just so much more relaxed and intimate.

However I am seriously considering retiring and handing in my celebrant registration.

So, now what to do.  I looked at University of the Third Age, but nothing I am interested in is available on my pockets of available time. That is of course part of my dilemma .  I have pockets of availability in between when I help mum, take her out, take her shopping etc, the day I mind my grand daughter, being at the school by 2.30pm to get a car park close enough for pick up of the eldest grand daughter – then minding them both until 5pm. I also set aside time for the hubby – he is at golf 3 times a week.

Soooooooooo!  What can I do to stimulate my mind. What can I do that will give me a sense of purpose. I just feel the days and weeks are passing so quickly.

What do I want to do with my life? I don’t want to ‘just fill in the hours’, with gym, lunches, bowls – oh I did try some bowls but then it go SO HOT! – I will look at that in the cooler months. I learnt crochet. Loved that but made everything I really want to make. Will look at making some items to donate.

My thoughts are join and volunteer with another charity. Maybe some volunteer office work. Perhaps use my event management background and stage an event of some sort.

My needs are – new friendships in my age bracket for now until………..well …until death us to part! As well as brain stimulation and a sense of purpose.

Well it is now time to think about dinner – gawd……I am after nearly 43 years of marriage over coming up with ideas for dinner. Thank goodness for the good old basics of spag bolg, sausages, roast chicken!  I love baking – but everything I love to bake my daughter tells me has too much sugar! And hubby has asked when I am going to diet and lose weight! ARGH! 

Oh look, it is wine o’clock…………..must go!


Tips for Coping with Retired Hubby

RetiredHoney….I’m home for good – 24/7

About 2 and a half years ago after I left my corporate job and was in a routine of my own and helping my daughter with her baby, hubby retired at 60 years of age.

At first, everything was fine….it was summer – and lovely and hot, so we spent much of our time, swimming, relaxing at home and caring for grand-daughters.

At that stage my micro business as a celebrant was growing , I was working as a business coach …..and I was just very busy with work.  Hubby was happy, pottering around the house and the garden completing projects.  In between he played golf, helped look after the grand children and going out to lunch with me, reading, watching the share market and footy panels on TV, watching the footy replays, and also some travel.

36300530_sThere were times however when I woke and thought…..OMG….he has retired.

This living together is 24/7 forever!

Especially on days when he would ask me in the morning at breakfast…

“would I be home for lunch”….

“what time would I be home”….from where ever I was going

if I was going down to the shops…… “oh….I might come too”

and what’s for tea?  EKKKK!!!

Oh….and there is nothing on the calendar, so you mustn’t be doing anything today!

Now for the past 2 years in particular, I provide a very high level care and support for members of my family, which has had a huge impact on my time and therefore on business activities.  Hubby has been fabulous…when he is not at golf….he is a fabulous dad and Poppy.  A Poppy who has not problems playing dolls,  with 2 and 4 year old granddaughters, and no issues changing dirty nappies for putting the girls to bed. In fact he just loves his time with the girls and is a highlight of his retirement.

However, so many women I have spoken to struggle with the 24/7 living with the hubby who says “Honey…I’m home for good”!

Comments I have heard include:

Hubby puts me down.  I don’t feel relaxed anymore…there is tension in the home

Hubby is critical of the things I do and say now that he is home 24/7

Hubby won’t do anything.

Hubby is so controlling.

Hubby won’t belong to anything.

Hubby only wants to go out with me all of the time.

Interestingly these are statements that I have heard by a number of semi or fully retired women. They are struggling with the hubby being at home all day every day.  The relationship is under strain, particularly where the retired hubby is not involved in anything.

Living with a retired hubby can be a huge new stress and re-adjustment in life.

Now I am not saying all husband and wives have issues. I know and see many many happy retired couples. And no doubt there are some retired hubby’s who might write a blog on their retired wife….but this is my point of view, experiences and observations.

So I reflected on what my now 88 year old mum did with her retirement time – as she lived with an often grumpy old hubby who had not many interests and didn’t like to go out – except for lunch – dad liked a good feed – once he turned about …oh…probably around his late 60’s.

Tips on Living and Coping with a retired hubby

My Mum – Role Model

Take up a sport

Lawn Bowls Match

Lawn Bowls Match

My 88 year old mum always kept busy in her retirement.  She is a great role model to me in regard to what she did to cope with my dad who was a non joiner and as he aged was more and more reluctant to go out anywhere.  Mum joined many organisations over the years after she retired. Initially she joined a bowling club….and dad soon followed her….and they had a year of two playing bowls together before he didn’t want to play any more….but mum continued and made lots of friends.  Other than that……dad really just pottered around the house and went travelling wherever mum organised oh and started to go to church a few times a week and prayed a lot.

Later when she had given up bowls, mum took up table tennis and played until she was around 80 year old.

Now whilst my hubby plays golf 3 times a week… much as I have tried…..I am absolutely hopeless at golf.

GolfI would love to share a sport interest with hubby…..and I know he would love for me to…..but honestly…..

I have really really tried…….

but I’m just no good with little balls,  they just won’t go where I want them to…..soaring up in the air or in that bloody little hole.

Joining a local gym and attending fitness classes and crochet in a creative crafting diva’s group, is more my current interest oh of course and coffee and chats with my girlfriends.  I observe with interest that many of the girls when they have completed the stretching or Pilates class (majority of participants are over 60) , go to the gym café for coffee and chats….and stay there until nearly lunchtime.  Not sure why they are not hurrying home!

Belong and Attend Club/Organisation Meetings

My mum joined Probus and ended up the activity officer.  She would organise the day trips and longer trips for the women.  It kept her busy in a coordination role, committee meetings, general meetings as well as going away for the day or for longer.  She did this for many years.

Mum also was a member of the local Garden Club, took up playing cards (which now in her late 80’s she plays 5 to 6 days a week), joined a patchwork craft group, was a member of the Red Cross and at one stage a volunteer for a local historical house….which dad occasionally helped out with.

Women meetingCurrently I attend at number of women only business and networking meetings. I love getting out to listen to a speaker (particularly if the talk is relevant) and catching up with friends and meeting new people.  I am considering starting my own Retiree Women’s group, as I do find it difficult – to find meetings where I connect with the speaker or the topic….rather than ”been there done that”….so I am seeking women 55 plus who have stepped away from the corporate world and re-defined themselves.


Book clubs –mum attended the VIEW Club, and used to go to meetings, outings and the book club. I have joined one that meets on a Tuesday night for dinner. Not too much chat about the actual books we have ‘read’.


Man shoppingI have a great system….hubby takes Miss four and a half grocery shopping on a Thursday morning. Occasionally I go with them, but generally I stay behind with the 2 year old. Hubby doesn’t like me going….he says that he spends more on the groceries.  He always takes a list. Problem is that I haven’t always remembered what I really need. What I am cooking. So each week, I top up anyway.

But yes, I am very lucky I have a hubby that likes grocery shopping.

Men’s Sheds

These are growing in popularity.  I would love hubby to go. However he and some of his mates, found out that we women, behind their back, were trying to leverage each other off the other, pretending that they WERE interested in a Men’s Shed. Damm…we got found out!  A very powerful statement though was made: “Why do we HAVE TO DO ANYTHING?”  ‘I’ve worked hard all my life, for decades….now it is finally my time to just relax and do whatever I want to do, if and when I want to do anything.” GULP!!!!

How foreign an idea is that to me and many semi or fully retired high profile, corporate leadership type of women.

Things to fix

I always seem to have a list of things to fix inside and outside of the home.  Bunnings is a favourite place for hubby…and thankfully he happily fixes things.


One woman I know plans multiple holidays each year, both international and domestic holidays. Staying with friends, travelling with friends, making new friends who can come and visit, travelling to see family………. So the mostly stay at home hubby….at least he is out and about… a travelling partner and hopefully absorbing and enjoying all the he is experiencing and always has something to talk about.

My mum also initiated all of their travel – mostly around Australia.

River CruiseHubby and I have taken two overseas holidays…a European River Cruise and also a Mediterranean cruise.

Loved these and we are likely to take more overseas travel and look forward to more domestic travel.



GrandchildrenHubby and I spend a huge amount of time with our little grand daughters. Sometimes it is very tiring – exhausting – but it is also wonderful to mind and care for them as we are contributing towards their development. Yes, I know some grand parents live a long way from their grand children – we are lucky and blessed to have ours live so close to us.

See a Counsellor

On a really serious note.  Honestly…..don’t hesitate to seek some counselling – either alone or with your hubby. At the very least….if they won’t join anything, then take my elderly mum’s advice….get out yourself every day….live and enjoy your life.

two seniors having dinner on patio.

two seniors having dinner on patio.

Initially and from time to time, I have had counselling. Yes adjustments and compromises are required…..and I am not saying it is easy. We have our days – and sometimes days of days……or days of weeks – when we irritate each other….but when you have a balance then this stage of life can be fantastic…..some of the best years of your life.

Must go….hubby is going through the fridge and cupboards and letting me know of items out of date, and that the left over pumpkin I didn’t use up has gone off.  Sherry time!

Note:  All images used are personal photos or purchased.

Add a spice and zing to improve your life and health

31944363_sAdd a spice and zing to improve your life and health

I felt like I had flat lined this year.  Actually it has been a year of mostly caring. And to do that I have just had to go with each day as it came.  Minding and caring for grand daughters, helping an anxious, stressed daughter and an increasingly obviously aging elderly mum.

Good intentions of going to the gym classes on a regular basis…didn’t happen. And I just wasn’t able to shake my addition to cappuccino sachets for morning tea with a slice of cake.  Adding spice and zing to improve my life and health – hey, I was so so tired….I was happy just to make it through the day….to wine o’clock.  Glass of wine, couple of nibbles….and bed at 7.30 or 8.00pm – alone with a book!  No, not a 50 Shades of Grey book….yes I did have a squiz at a copy. Really??? Hmmm, did a bloke write that?

Well said the doctor….your thyroid has deteriorated. Yes you will have to take tablets for the rest of your life. No there is no cure. It will just get worse.

A bit of research…and well I don’t want it to get worse.  Hey healthy lifestyle, eating  exercise, less stress….that will help. Mind you, gawd, the things you should not eat when you have Hashimoto!

So whilst little grand daughters have been asleep and I have been unable to leave the house, I started doing some research.  I have also attended a number of cooking classes as my stable food is Spag Bol, hamburgers, salmon or tuna hamburgers and chicken curry of some sort using a packet mix.  Oh and small quiches, which my daughter devours….so they are a regular bake….along with cakes. Well I am a nannie, and need to pass on my great baking skills to the 2 year old, who loves baking cakes (and enjoys eating them as much as her nannie) !

I have no chocolate in the house. I ate it all.  If someone brings chocolate home and leaves it here, I do the a favour and it to save them calories, and to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

OK, so where does the zing and spice come in?  If I write the topic heading  I think the search engines like it. Ha ha…so here it is: Add a spice and zing to improve your life and health.

yes there is an oil for thatEssential Oils.

Citrus – Lemon or Lime – I have started to add that not only to some water I drink during the day. Orange Essential Oil, gives me a lift of energy when I have it in a diffuser.

I have Lavender Oil on a piece of felt, which I have placed inside a special oil jewellery diffuser. I have a sniff of that, to keep me calm and minimise my anxiousness. I also have that in a diffuser.  –

I have just ordered the cinnamon essential oil.  I have found a receipe for apples and the cinnamon essential oil.  Another thing I am addicted to and use in all my cake baking – far exceeding the receipe amount.

I bought the Doterra Physician kit as it comes with a range of fabulous oils.

So my spice and zing is definitely from using a range of essential oils – straight or blended.  I find they give me more energy, or help to calm me down. I sleep so much better.  So yes both spectrums – of energy and calm.

Doterra Essential Oils.  Love them. And they also donate huge amounts to third world countries. 

The zing is also the interest in not only learning but also:

  • developing a passive income
  • attending seminars and meetings
  • arranging presentations
  • meeting and chatting with the person I signed with
  • deeper friendships and support with those who signed with me

Yep multi level marketing I think you would call it.  Never ever been tempted to do this before. Would run a mile.

But this time, I love the products. I understand the potential health benefits of the products.  I understand the business opportunity. I love the learning.

Finally, I am at that intersection in life. It is the right time.

So are you ready to add a spice and zing to improve your life and health?

If you would like to start ordering beautiful essential oils and natural skin products you can order direct from my page:

In the meantime I am off…..Maddy wants to play fairies. So time to put on my fairy costume and sprinkle some fairy dust!

Choosing a River Cruise Ship Cabin

imagesChoosing a River Cruise Ship Cabin

It can be difficult to decide and choose a River Cruise Ship Cabin.  Ultimately the level of the cabin will come down to personal budget which will influence then the level and location

After asking around and reviewing the cruise ship cabin layout, we finally decided to go for level 2.

Storage Space in a River Cruise Ship Cabin

WOW – so much storage space!  So much, that we had no clutter around our cabin – more storage space than many many hotel rooms. So don’t worry about space. We put our suitcases under our bed – and there was so much cupboard space as well as drawers!

River Cruise Ship Cabin with Port Hole

On Travel Marvel Diamond, these cabins are on level 1 – the size of the cabin is the same, but you just have a port window.  So yes, your trip may be a trip of a lifetime and you might think, well we will spend most of our time on the sundeck and in the lounge!  Sorry but the sundeck will be closed for most of three days – and therefore the lounge may be crowded.  Also whilst the sundeck is closed or whilst cruising you are feeling tired, you won’t have the opportunity to just chill out in your own personal space, lie on your bed and watch the view pass by.

10418145_10152219958698034_5485072401951861357_nRiver Cruise Ship Cabin with Ceiling to Floor Window

On Travel Marvel Diamond these cabins were available on level 2 and 3.  We chose Level 2 and were very happy.  I get travel and motion sick very very quickly and didn’t feel sick one.  The boat was stable even when large barges past us and cause large river waves.  The boat didn’t have personal balconies – and having completed the tour – if I was to do it again….and I could afford it, yes I would book a cabin with a balcony. However, I was very happy with our cabin.  Loved lying on the bed and watching the scenery glide past.

The bed in the Travelmarvel Diamond does not face the window however. Check before you book, as to have been able to lie on the bed actually facing the window would have been much better.

Location of your River Cruise Ship Cabin

We chose mid ship and were very happy with that. Our cabin was around the 6th cabin from the reception. Just far enough away from the reception which can be noisy and busy due to people making enquiries, picking up their boarding passes, sitting in the chairs talking, gathering in large numbers ready to disembark or purchasing from the ship’s shop.

Also if we forgot something, it was not far from the dining room or lounge to go back to the cabin – or if we had to quickly go back for something we needed to take on the tour that was about to leave!!!

We overhead a couple of people who had cabins at the very end, complaining about the smell and now I think of it, we did at times get smells from the kitchen (Cabin 210)  however our friends directly opposite us in Cabin 209 did not have this problem.

With the sundeck closed for long periods – smokers were very limited in where they could smoke.  Someone on level 3 one cabin above and down from us, did stand at their ceiling to floor window and I could smell the smoke, but this was not a regular occurrence.

Level 3 is obviously great – that bit higher, however again go for a mid ship cabin – as the tour director had her desk on this level as well as there are chairs for people to sit on and chat –AND any noise from the lounge.  There was also a computer station on level 3 – with two computers.

WiFi in Your River Cruise Cabin

The satellite went up and down due to low bridges, then many times you are cruising it would seem out of range and so the wifi connection was very unreliable. Unfortunately during the 3 days when the sundeck was mostly closed – and one had time on one’s hands…there was very little internet connection for updating social media or Skype connection to family.

Tip for Choosing your River Cruise Cabin

If you can afford it – go for level 3 mid ship.  Otherwise level 2 mid ship.

Semi Retired and living like a Gourmet Sandwich

sandwich-311262_640Semi Retired and living like a Gourmet Sandwich

ARGH!! Huge big bite…MUNCH,MUNCH,MUNCH……..hmmmmm thanks Mum says my daughterKathryn…… ARGH….a smaller bit, taken a little longer to MUNCH in….bit slower…..that’s my elderly mum. Nibble Nibble trying to find a spot not yet chewed….that’s the retired hubby. Nannie, Nannie, poo poo….calls out nearly 2 year old grand daughter! Wah, wah…that’s the baby Chloe.

My semi  retirement is such a mix of ingredients – diverse like a gourmet sandwich. Family needs and demands, a retired hubby, a couple of hours a week (2 if I am lucky) for myself, and in my role as a celebrant, working on wedding, ceremonies– each ceremony takes up to 15 hours from the first contact of a bridal couple – – yes I know, many think an hour or two to write a ceremony and rock up on the day…WRONG!!!!

I feel like a gourmet sandwich….you know the type….delicious soft bread with a hard crust with yummy grain seeds – that’s me – soft in the middle and hard around the edges.  My softness is family – giving of my time for family – an elderly mother who needs increasing support whilst still living an independently in her unit, and support for a married daughter, who has just had another baby – this one by C Section….which means she couldn’t drive for a few weeks or  pick up her very active toddler.

And a recently retired husband who wants to have lunch with me, or ask me if I am going out, when I will be back?  Or at breakfast time…what’s for tea?  Thankfully he is often occupied playing golf….and is happy pottering around the garden and shed with regular visits to the big man shed called Bunnings. And I am blessed that he will clean and prepare dinner !  Occasionally – but only occasionally – but on those occasions it is usually critical emotional help….my 30 something single son, will send out an SOS for help.  Oh and I fit work in between.

So I am soft, gooey like delicious bread – every time I am asked for help I say yes.  The hard crust – I rely on that …that is my backbone, my hardened area of my body that says, suck it up, you can do this, don’t worry about that sore aching back and painful hip and knees.

The inside of the gourmet sandwich – where we are provided with so many options to choose from.  My gourmet sandwich is made up of many options – but most are currently out of my control.  There are all the issues that relate to supporting an elderly parent in my semi-retirement.

Celebrant-150x150Between flinging all this together, stuffing as much as I can into life, I am also a nanapreneur – move over mumpreneurs – you have such an easier life!  So I semi-retired from my corporate government business development career two years ago.  I have a little business consultancy and a very busy celebrant business (weddings, vow renewals, baby namings and the growth industry – funerals)! Of course, I couldn’t stop there, nooooo, something to do with my personality type!  Now I have started facilitation training with 2 Young 2 Retire for my Retiree Matters business concept.

You know I am so busy helping family in my semi-retirement lifestyle….that sometimes I feel tempted to return to full time work.  It is one of the issues we just don’t think about when we plan – ha ha ha – really how few of us, I now realise actually plan and visualise an accurate semi or full retirement life.

We think, kick back, time for us, shop, garden, follow our passions, run a small business, travel…… We are the first generation, who find that there parents are alive and often well and living for decades. Except that they need support from their children to keep living an independent life…..well there are carers…and other support, but I have found from chatting, that many of baby boomer parents….don’t like strangers, don’t like to ask, ‘can do it themselves’ in some respects whilst ringing and asking an adult child for help at the drop of a hat.

Hmmm makes me wish now, that my parents had more than two children….and wish that my older brother had married, as there would be a sister in law, perhaps to help out also.

But of course helping is rewarding…..except there is also some feelings at times of frustration, resentment and wishing one could say no…..but family ties, heart strings…and thinking that these will always be wonderful memories to cherish and look back on, keep me going.

eating pancakeMum can ring at any second, needing help for that latest issue of a tradesperson, something that she desperately needs, emotional support as she is depressed and in pain, medical appointments, needing to be dropped off or picked up to go to and from cards (thank goodness mum still plays cards four days a week), to take her out – just out for lunch and her favourite berry pancakes, shopping for clothes – I now help dress me, squashed in together in the changing room along with her wheeler, as I tug and push her body and dangly bits, say into bathers…….oh my… mind does sometimes race forward to a time, when I will need my daughter to do the same!  Gotta get out and do some more exercise to be as fit as possible.  Oh and I fit work in between.

I mind my grand daughter one day a week – which is wonderful as playing tea parties, lying down pretending to be her baby, tickling her and teaching her to sing on the top of her voice (sorry daughter yes she is LOUD – but you had to know I would influence her with seeing and caring for her so much J  ha ha – louder now….let’s out sing the music!!) , and I also pick her up from child care twice a week, and am the fall back carer, when she is too sick for child care. I also do overnight stays.  I have started to show her catalogues….I am teaching her to understand what a bargain buy is!  Oh and I fit work in between.

With another new adorable beautiful grand daughter, I am currently providing a high level of support each week day, all day, until my son in law, stops work for the holiday period.  I get to goo over my tiny grand daughter, delight in her mustard coloured regular poo – she is obviously receiving enough nutrition and hold her to rock and cuddle her to sleep – yes yes, I know that is not in the modern day parenting books. Now I love absolutely love that my daughter and her family live close by and we see them so much.  I absolutely cherish the time.  I love the time when my elderly mum, me, my daughter and her two daughters are together – the generational  females all together That is so special.  It is just that I do get very tired. My osteoarthritic hips and knees ache and my back and sciatica remind me constantly that they are a part of my body.

I do manage at times to get out and network and chatting to many women, guess what they are now caring and supporting or have a sister, aunty in a similar position. Trying to transition to semi retirement, having stepped away for years of learning, developing and achieving in their career. They have considered the financial planning side of their life, but really the rest was oh, it will be nice to have all of this time, to follow my passions….without actually thinking through the emotional demands and needs of adult children and parents becoming more childlike and demanding at times like a petulant toddler.

I know that this very high intense time of assisting my daughter will pass in a matter of a couple of months – and likely I will actually miss seeing her and grand children just about everyday, but I also know that the hard crust of the bread with the grain seeds – that harbours many ideas and activities will germinate.  And one of those ideas, is to begin to assist those women 55 plus who are beginning to think of their idyllic lifestyle in semi retirement .  Thus the idea of Retiree Matters to coach, mentor and facilitate seminars in life planning for the next stage in life!   Join me on my facebook page, as I begin to develop resources and blog posts.

In the meantime, I’m off – to shop and provide some gourmet sandwiches for hubby, daughter and grand daughter for lunch today – before heading of to take 23 month old  Maddy to the park to burn off some energy, prior to having her sleep over for the night.

wine-38263_640I plan to sleep also – a glass of wine or Baileys’s  will help for a good night rest also.

Who are You Without Your Business Card?

Business Card BoxesNearly two years ago, I gave up my corporate government business card. The one that for 15 years, was my professional identify –  to who I was in the business and community world. In the past 22 months, the transition from corporate world to semi retired was and continues to be challenging.

How many hundreds of business cards had I given out – and how many hundreds had I received. Suddenly I was faced with deciding which business cards to keep and which to throw away – and that is hard – it is like throwing some part of your life away.  Even now, there are some that I have kept – although I realise that we have both moved on and I have not seen these people since leaving and have no reason to expect any further interaction. Think aobut how many business cards in your corporate career that you have collected, filed away as you maybe like I was, out and about every week at business breakfast, lunches, dinners, training, forums – always networking, developing business relationships – looking how you might be able to assist another business, refer, or do business with them.

I loved my corporate government work as a business development officer. I was always looking to assist those business owners with a passion and real commitment, to coach and support in the development and growth of their business. My background and high level of government training covered Exporting, Manufacturing (large and small businesses), start up businesses, businesses hit by natural disasters, global downturns, Innovative IT businesses and everything in between.  My business card – my title on my business card, the years of relationship development, my credibility and trust in government departments at all levesl, throughout the business community enabled me to network successfully with the business card providing an immediate impression of what I do, who I am.

Then suddenly, with a first grandchild on the way, and always thinking I would retire at aged 55, I accepted a government package, and resigned to spend time with my daughter on maternity leave and enjoy time with my first grandchild.

Did I give any thought to what else I might do?

Well yes, of course. I just could not walk away from business development work. And after all, who was I without a business card?

So I set up My Business Doctor – as a way to satisfy my need and passion to continue to assist business people – whilst at the same time, I continued – actually I ramped up, with a new website and some marketing, my other micro business as a Celebrant.

As time went past rapidly, I found myself providing far more support, far more hours, days to seeing, helping my daughter and minding my grand daughter. Beautiful, fun, memorable times. And then add to the mix my elderly mum. I will always remember fondly, the time the four generational females, had coffee and cake, lunch or shopped together. I also found myself providing many hours of care and support for my elderly mother. And then!!! My husband decided to retire – and looked to spend time doing things together.

But what of the businesses? With such limited time, one was bound to fall behind. And it was My Business Doctor that just didn’t receive the time for marketing and promoting that I had anticipated. Providing so much family care support and with the huge increase in wedding work I didn’t have the time to follow up some amazing publicity that I received in the media.

Enquiries for my work as a celebrant were so regular (I estimate it takes 12 to 15 hours per ceremony!), that I found myself declining some ceremonies – as I struggled to manage all the family, personal and business demands of my time.

So, who am I without a corporate business card? Without my corporate identity?

What do I say when someone asks – So what do you do?

I am still tied to that high flyer, the high achiever, the woman of influence, the queen of networking – it is still hard to let go, of all that I worked, studied and aimed for in my vocational position within Government.

No longer Celena Ross, Regional Coordinator of Office of Women’s Policy, no longer Celena Ross, Principal Business Development Officer, Department Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, no longer Project Officer of a large infrastructure project, no longer manager, no longer team leader. My government business card provided an impression of seniority, of influence, of knowledge – a professional identity with value and meaning.

I just haven’t been able to let go, of some of those labels which define my background. I do introduce myself as Celena Ross, Celebrant as I start to transition, to let go of My Business Doctor. But my ego just won’t let me do that completely. I am nearly out of my My Business Doctor Business Cards. That leaves me with Celena Ross Celebrant cards. It is interesting to observe body language and facial features of business people I am now introduced to, or introduce myself to….using just the title of Celebrant.

It is a classic lesson, to look beyond the cover! For behind this title lies so much knowledge, experience and yes still strong contacts….but they will diminish. When I attend local businesswomen network meetings, I now observe the next generation of business and corporate women, striving, working hard to make their mark on the world. Juggling work and demands of a family!  So difficult!  Hmmm here I am still doing the same thing, but as a mature aged person, we just don’t have media attention of how difficult it is when you become part of the sandwich generation, providing support to grand children and elderly parents and working or operating a small business. And when you are working from home semi-retired, it is expected that you are available all hours of the day.

Question What shall I do next?

How might I continue to make a difference? I continue to have new ideas…but presently, my daughter has had another baby – and I am again providing huge hours, days to help and support her. I declined many enquiries for December to February ceremonies, so that I would have the time to assist her…and don’t forget my elderly mum – today I spent nearly 2 hours talking to tradesmen, Home Assist and Occupational Therapist – before doing shopping for my daughter. I love the time with my family…..but at night, I think….who am I becoming?  Whilst grappling with where to from here, I enrolled in 2 Young 2 Retire facilitation training.  That was fantastic – every week I would link into a telecast – mostly all participants were from America.  It was fantastic for my brain, for the start of new ideas and how I might in turn assist other women plan for a transition to semi retirement.

Certainly I have transitioned to a semi retirement lifestyle – in that my business takes back seat to family demands and finally some time for me…..but where to as my daughter needs me less? Hmmmm of course my elderly mum will likely need me more. But I have great flexibility in my time. My daughter has many friends and no doubt will soon be busy meeting with friends, and activities with her little daughters. Hmmm my elderly mum and her increasing demands though are a concern. I don’t want to get to 65 years plus and not achieve what I hope and plan to, because I have had to become a full time carer. How often does a woman in particular on transitioning to semi retirement suddenly become a full time carer?  Travel – yes have flexibility for travel and looking forward to a trip soon to Europe and a river cruise. Yes, there are times when hubby and I just go for a walk, go out for lunch.

However, the question remains when you have spent decades building your career, you are a high achiever – who do we become when we let go of our corporate identity? How much time, do we plan when we dream of stepping away and out of the corporate/business world? Research reveals that most of us just thing, I am so sick of this job,career, I am burnt out, I need a change, can’t stand the new boss, have been around so long that in meetings when the younger, new staff come up with an idea I hear myself saying, no won’t work, we’ve tried that a couple of times over the decades!

We dream of travel, of time to just sit and read, to shop, to exercise, go out for lunch at the spur of the moment, to garden, spend time with grand children, to pursue passions and make volunteer…..but we just don’t really stop and plan our semi to full retirement life. How strange, when we have decades of experience and highly developed skills in planning.

Who will you be and how will you cope without your corporate business card? Who will you become?

Transition to Semi or full Retirement is more than financial planning. Retiree Matters is my answer to not only who I become, but also to mentor and assist you with your life planning, your transition to the next Stage of your Life.

What will you do without your corporate identity?  Will you semi or fully retire?

What will you do if your health fails?  How will you manage living 24/7 with your partner in retirement?  How will you fill your hours? How will you use your well developed skills, your education?

How do you let go of your high visibility, status and influence?

Will you start a small business – in redefining your next stage in life, you don’t have to let go of everything, but you do need to really stop and plan. What do you hope for as you transition to retirement?  Can you see it?  what issues might arise that might derail your plans?  How will you cope moving away from decades of experience, high powered meetings, leading teams and projects?

2 Young 2 Retire

2 Young 2 Retire

2 Young 2 retire has provided me with facilitation accreditation but my real life experience provides me with the extra to assist support and guide corporate women in their transition.

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