Television Producer & Photojournalist with a passion for sharing adventures in and around Melbourne, Australia. See my www.youtube.com/user/tmztvaustralia for other adventures. Subscribe to me so I can tell you of upcoming fab things not to miss.
Published August 5th 2020
Retirement doesn't mean stop living, it means start living
We all look forward to retirement. We are finally leaving the busy rat race of go, go, go and we are so looking forward to 'me time'. This includes an easier pace, time to get caught up on things on the list. You can travel out of peak hours and avoid constant traffic and driving stress. You can take those long walks you never have been able to squeeze in. For me, it was getting back to the pool several times a week to water aerobics or swimming.
But then you start to miss the people. You start to miss getting out and about to hear about new things and meet new faces. You start to feel like you are becoming more and more isolated and then just downright bored. Well, there are fabulous people and places that are out there, just waiting to be discovered and looking for new faces to join in. And I am going to try to highlight just a few of them, which I started to find when I moved towards retirement.
They do say give a busy person any task to do because it will get done. I am one of those people. I just naturally love to help, not for glory, not for notice, I just like to help. There are people who are just natural helpers. So I started looking for places I could help.
The first thing I did was get a Seniors Card. As a senior, you get all the best meals in most pubs for a big discount. In Victoria, you can get your Seniors Card at age 60. I was so excited when my first pub meal of mushroom risotto was almost one third off the cost. And this is only fair as the income is minimal at this time of your life. It is a great initiative of the government. To get a seniors card, go to: www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au/seniors-card/manage-your-card/apply-for-a-card
Next, as you want to get out and about, find some of the Senior Groups you can join. There are free walking and cycling groups at almost every community centre across the state. I joined a walking group locally, but be warned, you may not click with your first group. Just find the next closest group and join another till you find a match of minds, humour, and fitness. I had played basketball and netball since I was very young, but my knees, hip and back finally gave out, so I can no longer run, but I certainly enjoy a walk.
These walking groups go to so many innovative places you would never have known about. There are groups that love being goats, but I found the flatlanders. I even found a "Walking Basketball" group to join in the Cardinia Shire. So get on the internet and get to nosing around, and if you are not that competent on the internet, visit your local library and they will assist you.
Many of the community centers around Australia also give free classes to seniors, so you can skill up on computing skills, craft skills. Community centres are the best way to connect quickly to a crowd. Also, there are U3A groups all over the place that for a minimum membership fee per year (around $30), you can take any class you like for free. And they have hundreds of courses to choose from. Most of these centres run Zoom courses to keep in contact and for the courses. And they run and Introduction to Zoom, so that you can learn to Zoom. Very friendly indeed.
You can get access to many health and well-being courses via Zoom where you meet and greet like-minded people and share life's journey. There are hundreds of groups across Australia, that love and look for volunteers to run support the community.
If your business-minded, join your local rotary and learn to love sausage sizzles and the social interaction and fun of helping people and business around the country. And if you think the Country Women's Authority is about farmer's wives, think again. They held a fabulous French festival a few years back, at their headquarters in Toorak, Melbourne, and run regular pop-up shops, high teas, and sock festivals. Their fingers are in many fun pies, so join the fun.
Lions Club and Rotary Club are always looking for volunteers to go to fairs, fetes, markets, and help fundraise. I had one family who rented out a fish pond for lots of fetes to help with their fundraising events. Kids love catching the magnetic fish.
There is also a group called the Red Hatters, who love getting together just for fun. I am trying to find my local group right now. They run around in Red Hats socialising and just being together. They say many elderly women start to feel invisible in their lives, and they want these ladies out and about enjoying their lives, not being at home alone. Go girls, go.
There is a free horticulture or gardening group around just about every corner or associated with a community house. Or find a bonsai group and create bonsai. And don't think this for sissies. Brian Sampson, one of our AFL greats who played for Essenden during the grand finals, was a world-renowned bonsai artist and trainer.
Also, get organised. Clean your soul and your house. Get rid of the clutter of life. Give those things to the kids that they have always loved and just collect dust. They can dust them. Lovingly, give things to friends, op shops and others. They say it is better to give away your things with a "warm" hand rather than after your death. Which reminds me, make your will. This is a must at this time of your life. Streamline your finances so you are managing fewer accounts, with fewer costs and less things to worry about. Many stockbrokers recommend over 60s get out of stock and invest in more secure things like land. Simplify as much as you can.
There are volunteer groups who write down the "story of your life". Contact them and get your family history recorded and retained for your kids. It could be you finally write that book you said you were always going to write.
Find meaning and purpose, find a passion of yours that you have always said - I always wanted to do this. Go back to it. Travel to every beach in Australia. I am hoping to do that. Learn calligraphy, painting, drawing, watercolour and join an art group. Get a pet. You know you have always wanted one, and they become best friends for life, for walks, cuddles, and company. I adore the cat my dear friends gave me. She is my joy.
Join a local historical society and learn to love where you live. You can also take time to chase your own family tree via genealogy sites. I was looking for an ancestor in Ireland and the local historical society found the grave and took a photo for me. There are "find a grave" helpers all over the world.
Get your health checked from top to bottom, so you can really enjoy the retirement years. This is especially true for men, who feel they are invincible until that fatal heart attack.
The list of things is really endless that can make you wake up happy, eager to go, to enjoy during your day and for the rest of your life. Find that dream and follow it. Some call that "following the call of the heart". But mostly find new friends.
A terrific article Tricia. I retired just over a year ago and belong to the local camera club, writing club and walking club and have made some wonderful friends as a result of that. I also walk regularly in our local wetlands and absolutley love that I can take as much time as I want. I can sit at the lake and watch the birds for ages. For me retirement is a reward for past efforts.
Great article Tricia. I wish I had time to do half of the things you suggest. I have been retired for ten years and the saying of "I don't know how I found time to go work" is true. On a recent cruise we came across many ladies wearing variations of red hats. They were all enjoying themselves. Neil.
Hi Tricia Great article I was Captain oh the Ladies Register for a couple of year and have been a member of the MGCC Melbourne FOR 22 years and it certainly was the best thing I have ever joined. Wonderful fun loving people and places I have never been to before. Let hope we can get out motoring again soon