Note the exclamation mark at the end of the title (the author’s), not a question mark. This is not a blog about me questioning whether we should retire to OZ. My daughter gets married today and so we’re a little bit pre-occupied. I was wondering whether I would have time to write a second blog this week when along came this contribution from a friend in OZ. He retired – sort of – recently and I have been on at him to write me a blog on retirement from a down under perspective. He seems to have tackled it (retirement) with, as he says, a great deal of preparation and a gradual easing into this new lifestyle. He also appears to be doing a lot of different stuff, including a significant amount of travel. And he hasn’t completely let go of his previous work commitments. Something I have tried to do myself but I’m not so sure how successful I am being. Anyway this is his story of early retirement days from an Australian perspective and maybe the question is whether retirement in OZ is any different per se from retirement in the UK. I have to say he sounds rather more contented with retirement than I do. You will see above that I have inserted the Australian flag, just to remind you this is from a different perspective.
Having retired some 10 months ago, what is the key? Not The Key as in Yes Prime Minister but the key from another retired educational psychologists perspective. It’s like any home handyman job, preparation, preparation, preparation. In my case ensuring the body was fit to to enjoy the next phase of life. During the two years prior to retirement I had a knee replacement and a hip replacement, these of course included time to recover, all on full pay, courtesy of accumulated sick leave. All legitimate.
So with a fit body and mind it was time to submit my retirement plan which included unredeemed annual leave and long service leave resulting in a tidy addition to ones superannuation package.
What next? A trip to Eastern Europe ending with a trip to London and of course Peters turf, Yorkshire and the vineyard. The grapes produced more than was evident when we visited last September!
On return to Western Australia a 10 week part time contract followed. A new year, more travel. Firstly to Bali and then the East Coast of Australia to visit my newest granddaughter. Before heading to Canada in August there is another short term contract I’ve been asked to undertake and another one on return. Whilst by the end of this year I will have worked more than intended it does ensure frequent travels in comfortable style can be accommodated.
Beyond work and travel, time is required to maintain my relationships, my house, my body and my mind. With my partner living in Perth and me in Bunbury there is time together at both locations, travel together and some time apart. That’s one way of keeping a relationship fresh! Then there are the children and grandchildren to delight in. With most of my work over the past couple of years having been in Perth the house has been somewhat neglected so time has been spent rejuvenating the garden and catching up with repairs. The body is maintained by regular bike rides(usually a couple of 40 kl rides a week) some weight work and of course golf -usually in club events. Living on the edge of a golf course does make that easy to access for practice and events. The mind is treasured and cared for through reading, crosswords, Lumosity, conversations with friends, and movies along with the occasional meditation session.
Punctuated between events is the pleasure of exploring and following recipes which results in many delightful meals, usually a shared experience with my delightful partner. Of course meals must be accompanied by good wine so that too has to be resourced, the cellar is growing and the taste buds invigorated.
I still maintain a connection with the profession, outside of short term contracts, through my involvement with the Australian Psychological Society. I am currently Chair of the State Committee which is a vehicle to link the WA Branches into the Societies priorities and programmes.
So, how does one rate retirement? Life is a pleasure to be enjoyed and is being enjoyed.