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.

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!


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… 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?

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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