Transition to Retirement

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.

http://www.mamalisa.com/blog/belle-mama-a-song-from-the-torres-strait-islands/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sB2AaVVjF-0

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!

 

South Australian holiday with Glenelg accommodation

The Oaks Pier Apartments Glenelg

The Oaks Pier Apartments Glenelg

For our South Australian holiday I chose Glenelg accommodation as our base for the first three days of travel. Of all the places in the whole world that we could have chosen to go to….we chose to fly to South Australia for a pleasant Spring time holiday. Unfortunately, they had just had massive rain causing a state wide black out and major flooding in the areas we were to visit. We arrived two days after a huge destructive weather event and headed directly to our booked accommodation in Glenelg knowing we probably had a couple of hours of sun before the heavy rain and wind was predicted to start again.

I chose Glenelg after much research on Adelaide city hotels…..and hubby and I living near the beach and love the beach…..decided on Glenelg at The Oaks Pier Resort Apartments.

http://www.oakshotelsresorts.com/oaks-plaza-pier/

img_4893The apartment was a one bedroom and we were thankful that we chose overlooking the park rather than the beach as it was so windy and the wind was coming right off the water.  Glenelg is only around 15 minutes drive from the airport and there is a free tram that you can catch directly into the city.

The shops at Glenelg – it is a long strip shopping centre.  You will never go hungry and there are so many cafes, restaurants. And lots of lovely dress and gift shops. Loved Glenelg…..except for the weather.  It was sooooooooooo freezing cold (for us Queenslanders), light to torrential rain and at times gale force winds. The locals all told us the weather was most unusual for this time of the year – early October.

Inside drinks and nibbles whilst it rains outside

Inside drinks and nibbles whilst it rains outside

We did I think drink more wine and sit with biscuits and cheese – as we watched the rain fall.

And my waist line tells me that this was indeed a food and wine indulgent holiday.

Just to one side of the apartments is a huge indoor entertainment centre that looked fantastic for kids.

https://www.thebeachouse.com.au/

 

Just near the long pier there is a fabulous outdoor interactive playground –

Glenelg Playground

that well as grandparents who regularly look after our little ones, we rated it very highly.

http://playandgo.com.au/index.php/glenelg-foreshore-playspace-glenelg-review/

Hubby had bought is found down fishing rod, but when we walked to the end of the pier we just wanted to turn back immediately with the freezing cold wind biting into us.  Very hard after used to living with so much warmth even in winter months, of the Sunshine Coast Queensland. So retired or family fantastic spot – preferably if the weather is good.  Having said that, we did end up doing most of what we wanted to do….but after the initial sunny warmish few hours when we first arrived, it was often an going battle with the elements during most days.

However, we did have breaks in the weather and we walked over the bridge to the marina where there are a range of restaurants.  I was surprised to find though how many restaurants were closed on a Sunday. One of the staff said ‘well this is Adelaide – sleepy town”.  All the restaurants looked great with fabulous ocean and sunset views.

http://www.marinapier.com.au

We settled on a favourite and ordered shared platter. We find we often will choose a shared platter – they are often the chef’s choices and always delicious and a good variety and value for money.

The apartment was really comfortable. The only let down was one that so many resorts just don’t do well, and that is heat and indoor (or outdoor) pool to a warm temperature. The heated pool was too chilly to go into. A big disappointment.

Glenelg as a Base for first three nights

Wet rainy afternoonWe booked 3 nights at Glenelg (and also our last night) and used it as a base for the first 3 days of exploring. On the Monday even with very heavy rainfall predicted, we picked up a hire car and drove to Hahndorf.

It was grey, raining on and off from light to very heavy and of course windy.

 

img_4902Hahndorf

We stopped at a café selling cheese and had coffee and cake there until the rain eased. We predicted very heavy rain, there were very few people in the shops or the area.

We then went in and out of shops between the rain.Hahndorf

It was nice but really it was so cold and wet, that we didn’t enjoy it or explore as much as we would have if it had been fine.

Hahndorf CafeWe found  a lovely café with an open fire and settled there with homemade soup and bread

until the rain eased. The owner asked us to let all our friends know to come. In chatting lots of the businesses were really hurting financially from the lengthy rain and floods.

Yes it is worth going to Hahndorf – a lovely village feel – if the sun is out. And unfortunately there was very little spring flowers due to the weather.

Carrick Hill Historic House

Carrick Hill Historic House

Carrick Hill Historic House

We then drove to Carrick Hill Historic House.  WOW.

Fantastic Historic House

http://www.carrickhill.sa.gov.au/

If you love to go in historic homes, then this one was a highly recommend!  With huge gardens with lots of roses and flowers in bloom, the inside was fully furnished with lots of information around.

There was at the time also an art display.

Inside Carrick House

Inside Carrick House

Loved this magnificent house and it’s history.

If you are hungry there is also a lovely café there that provides lunch and coffee and cake.

Fortunately, the skies had cleared and we were able to enjoy the sunshine with a

Carrick Hill House Garden

Carrick Hill House Garden

Carrick Hill House garden entrance

leisurely walk around the gardens.

 

Adelaide Central Market

We caught the tram into Adelaide and wandered around the large market out of the cold wind. One of the stallholders where I purchased a coffee – asked if I would like to be dated. Ha ha…he then offered me a Turkish date.  Lots of fun characters in the market. We then wandered the shops before heading to Avery House.

Ayers House Museum

http://www.ayershousemuseum.org.au/ the Dressmaker Display

Whilst all the furniture had been taken out of the house, theyThe Dressmaker Movie Costumes

You could dress up in hats and gloves

You could dress up in hats and gloves

had on display all the cosumtes worn in the Australian Movie, The Dressmaker.

We then in-between rain, wandered the lovely botanic gardens across the road, before heading back to the warmth of our apartment.

We packed that night and headed the next day to the Barossa Valley to sample wine and visit Maggie Beer’s Farm Enterprise.

De-cluttering – what to do with The Sexy Toys and Lingerie

DeclutteringAre you thinking of downsizing from the family home?  Or just de-cluttering I readiness for that one day in a few years move?  I have been motivated to de-clutter after some health scares and near misses that made me think life can suddenly be very short.

So whilst from time to time, I have gone through cupboards, drawers and the accumulation of stuff on the floor in the indoor garage that we use for storage of ‘stuff’, I have not really had a huge de-clutter clear out.  This week, I started in earnest.

I have actually de-cluttered huge amounts and other than the fact that I do have a little extra space in kitchen cupboards….you can hardly see any difference. I have a long way to go still – lots of little things lurking in stuffed and over flowing drawers.

Now there is one drawer that presents a problem.

I know we all have them.  The after dark drawer.

Sexy underwear The sexy nightie, the undercut bra, the skimpy clothing that my bulging muffin top wobbly tummy just won’t fit into anymore.  The suspender belt that would cut off my circulation if I wore it….well if I could get it up over my two thighs anyway.  The saucy outfit, the fluffy handcuffs and then….well…..you know……  Well I didn’t think the Op shop would really appreciate these donations and I couldn’t see taking other stuff… to the electronics area at the tip.

And  I can hardly ask my daughter,  “darling, I have a few things in my bottom drawer and hidden in the top of my wardrobe, that you might like to look through and see if there is anything you would like”.

So I was wondering how do women downsizing and de-cluttering dispose of their sex paraphernalia — and any all those items you have hidden out of sight.

I was thinking, if something was to suddenly happen to me, I don’t really want the children consumed in grief and clearing out your house, to find any sex items .  What would they think?  Oh my god, my mother had sex?  Oh my god, I don’t want to touch this – where are the rubber gloves?  Actually there might be some rubber gloves in ‘that’ drawer.

You may be thinking, “Who cares what my friends or children find in the house? I will be will be dead anyway.”

And of course, there is suitable timing.  Maybe you might need these sex toys and clothes into your 70 or 80’s.  But what does one do in the meantime?  Where do we keep these articles and when is the right timing to dispose – when we work out how to dispose – of our intimate behind closed doors life.

Perhaps we might ask a close friend let’s call them ‘Personal Item Eradicators’, to come over and clear the house after we die (or if critically ill in hospital/hospice).  Your Personal Eradicator could be given a list of items to be destroyed and their hiding places — you don’t want to be in intensive care screaming, “Top of the wardrobe in a black box!” You may find yourself been given a calming injection.

9324387_sWell back to my de-cluttering and wondering what to do with the skimpy clothing that I doubt my muffin top will be reduced anytime soon, to wear again.

So then, how will you dispose and when do you think is the right time to dispose of your sex toys and items of clothing?

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…..as 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’.

Shopping

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.

Travel

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…..as 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.

 

GrandChildren

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.

Culling the Corporate clothes after Retirement.

Wardrobe of clothes Culling the Corporate clothes after Retirement.

What will I do when I no longer need the corporate business clothes?

So you have left the corporate business world, and are perhaps working from home in a micro business or perhaps fully retired.  Suddenly you find that you might wear the same top two days in a row, or a couple of times during the week, you walk around the house barefoot, or if it’s cold, maybe in your slippers!

Rummaging in my wardrobes – yes my clothes are spread out over a couple of wardrobes!   I found it difficult to find something to wear.

Yes I know astounding that I could find nothing much to wear – not so much astounding that I took up some much space with my clothes.  I am sure many females would identify with the following; fat clothes, slim clothes and the clothes that currently fit.  So, the thinking goes, well I will keep these as I am going to lose weight, oh I will keep these as they are so comfortable when I have put on a little weight (mind you this category is not very large, as really, I am never going to put on weight again).

Then there are the clothes that actually fit – and they are sub divided into; summer, winter and in between weather type clothing – and I store them accordingly in their own drawers, shelves most in Bedroom 2.  At the start of each season – well mostly warm or cold here in Queensland, I will move clothes from the 2nd Bedroom, into my bedroom.  I have read about placing the clothes hangers one  way with the clothes that you wear, and this helps to identify the extra clothes, that you love, but somehow never get around to wearing. I have about 6 different types of light black tops to wear over a sleeveless dress or top – you  know to cover the wobbly upper arm area!.

There I am, now working from home and struggling to not only find something to wear, but when I go out and purchase a top, struggle to squeeze it into the wardrobe.

So reality began to hit me.  All those lovely varied clothes, suitable for wearing in a corporate boardroom, no longer had a use for me, as I padded around the house without going out further than the letterbox or the shop down the road. Sometimes I would be housebound – no reason to go out – other than for a walk – and somehow a bling top and stiletto shoes just weren’t suitable!

Culling the corporate wardrobe.  WOW – this is a really difficult one.  I think it might be like when you go to clear out an elderly mum’s wardrobe after she has died (thankfully my mum is still here, but I am thinking it must be similar).  It is so hard.  In fact, it took me four attempts to make a huge impact on my clothes – over a timeframe of 12 months!!!

The first attempt was more the corporate/business clothes that I didn’t really like or no longer fitted me. There was one top I remember had a matching long skirt. Very sophisticated – I felt so in charge, powerful and attractive when I wore this. However I only had the top, the long skirt was no longer in fashion to wear during the day – but I hesitated, will I keep it or give it away? Did you get that! Keep it or GIVE it away!

Oh………..yes, these were the two alternatives. Keep or give it away to an op shop.  I just don’t have time, to take photos and sit and list the clothing on Ebay or some social media for sale site. Besides I would check and monitor some of these sites for a time and I could see that 2nd hand clothing, there were very few people actually purchasing or typing eagerly nil (that is next in line).

I went to a local up market 2nd hand shop but the proprietor told me that most of her clients were similar to me. They no longer wanted the corporate clothes – they were wanting attractive casual clothes – that could take them from lunch with the girls, off to the movies, holidays on a cruise boat or even just  a walk along the beach.

Wardrobe of clothesI could suggest to you to get up now and go and have a peep in your WARDROBES – but then I know what happens, along the way you see things that you need to do around the house, oh I will pick that up and put that way, and  oh I must pay that bill, and an hour or more…. Later –  you might return to the computer thinking now where was I up to, oh I haven’t time to read this blog post and anyway, I’m not ready to cull my wardrobe of my lovely corporate business clothes….you never know….I might go back to work full time!

Yes I thought that, as I missed my busy corporate life – oh I would love to go back and work part time in project management, business consultant again……but it ain’t going to happen!

So the culling proceeded.  Not to many clothes the first time around.  Besides, with my micro businesses as a business consultant and work as a celebrant, I still did need some good clothes as I was still attending many business networking functions.  Clothes for a celebrant are a bit of a specialized area, and I mostly wear some perfect celebrant jackets that I purchased and a pair of black pants with floating chiffon – wonderful for covering up the curves when I was between fat and slim.  You know when I am what I always am…a bit over weight – wearing clothes size 12 – but with elastic waists to hoodwink me to believe that I am actually a size 12.

The second culling attempt took place around a year and a half, after I had left my government position!  This cull was the real first cull of some lovely clothes and when I went to the 2nd hand shop only to be turned away. I took a few bags down to St Vinnies –dumped them into the clothes bin and quickly drove away – and bought a mocca cappuccino and chocolate brownie – comfort food.

But I still had more clothes including some absolutely beautiful wool jackets and coats. In immaculate condition – even though most were nearly 20 years old from when I lived in Victoria (Australia) and some I bought to wear for the occasional very cold snap here in Queensland. Not that I wore them often as I observed all the younger women would rock up in their beautiful evening attire with perhaps a light shawl, but not a wool coat/jacket – preferring to look glamorous and pretend not to be cold.

So over two days in the one week – I was ruthless in my culling. Oh my goodness, ruthless but oh…so many outfits bought back memories. There was one lovely pale gold one, I wore and wore and it was still in excellent condition. It was when I was slim and felt young, very attractive and knew that I attracted the odd male stare. Hmmm that reminds me, gosh it is decades since I was  regularly the recipient of a wolf whistle – oh dear and a bit of a feminist at that time, I would be indignant and pretend not to hear or acknowledge the whistler,  but now….oh a wolf whistle – how cool would that be! Ha ha!

I stuffed bag after bag, filled my little car to the brim and set off. Both times I choose local organisations that raised money for women with breast cancer. I would often visit these shops in nannie mode, seeking clothes or toys for my grand daughter.  However after donating so much of my clothing, I determined not to go there for fear of buying back some of my most favourite outfits – and I just couldn’t bear to see them on sale.

So there you have it. Yet one issues to confront when you transition to semi or full retirement that you honestly just don’t think about.  To me although I was very busy in my new life as an unretired retiree – I found the culling very hard.  I have learnt that in Brisbane and maybe other capital cities you can donate clothing to an organisation who then passes it to women seeking employment and needing interview and working clothes. I did think of starting one here on the Sunshine Coast, but I am squished with time and frankly, I know then I would never have moved the clothes on and more than likely be squashing donations from other retiring businesswomen into hmmm well the gararge is the only space left with a little bit of space for storage.

In fact the indoor garage ie tiled and leads directly off the kitchen, is a daily reminder that I still have a huge stash of fashion beads and everything you need to make fashion jewellery – all still in their boxes, or colour sorted and stored.  It is about 8 years since I was making and selling my beautifully wire created designs, but somehow, I just haven’t gotten around to part with all of this yet.  My thinking is well, maybe I might offer jewellery making classes and I still do make the odd matching earrings, or fix a broken piece for a friend.

The transition to semi or full retirement – letting go – letting go of your clothes, of your business card, redefining yourself, who you are, what you do, your new life.  So many issues beyond just financial issues. Maybe easy for some, but for me very challenging, and yes I even sought counselling to help me through the transition. And now, using my decades of mentoring and coaching, I am offering assistance for women facing similar transition issues.

Until the next blog post…..I promised my elderly mum I would take her out for lunch today. Oh and guess what – at 85 she will from time to time cull (to make it easier for me when she flutter off with the butterflies, she says) and offers me, some of her clothing (mum is sized 18 – fair dinkum – she must need glasses – can’t she see I am a svelte size 12)!!!

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…..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.  https://www.facebook.com/Retireematters

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 http://retireematters.com.au 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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