All Posts by Sue Scarlett

Simple guide to keeping our marbles

Book Review: Don’t miss the bus!

Author: Reg Lipman

This simple book creeps up on you. It packs a punch using everyday language, cartoons and easy-to-read tables to get the message across – there are things you can do to avoid ‘missing the bus’.

In “Don’t miss the bus” Reg Lipman takes us through scientific discoveries about the mind/body connection and brain plasticity, to demonstrate that by changing our habits we can reduce the likelihood of loosing our marbles or at the least delay it.

I’m amazed this book has not made more impact. Self-published, it does  not have the promotion machine of a publishing house behind it – a surprise, as it warrants it. Reg Lipman, who passed away in 2015, had great credentials to write this book. He had succeeded in many fields including the military, banking, writing, breeding horses and establishing a travel company. He must have been onto something!

The book, recommended by Alzheimer’s Australia, steps through the consequences of our daily decisions and provides straightforward ideas of how to tweak what we eat, how we exercise and how we use our brains to help ward off dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

Recommended for those reluctant to be defined by their age, the book can be bought through Alzheimer’s Australia

Download my free Heydays Roadmap to Retirement where I share my ‘must do’ preparation steps. Soon you’ll be closer to the retirement of your dreams.

It’s ok to fear retirement

Many of us have been working, full time or part time, for 25 to 40 years –  even with a break to raise children or travel. So approaching retirement can generate feelings of excitement and relief, and, for some, trepidation. Retiring is a large life change so it’s not surprising that some of us are actually afraid of retiring.

So much freedom

Planning retirement, at first glance, offers us great freedom. Liberation from the ‘have tos’ and schedules of a working day, week, month and year. Freedom to do our own thing and march to the beat of our own drum.

So why does the prospect of leaving work for the freedom of retirement generate feelings of anxiety? Work is usually known and predictable – there are rules to be followed; there are accepted behaviours, a physical location, a schedule, procedures and priorities. After a while in a job, parts of it can be done effortlessly, even unconsciously. Whether we like our work or not, it becomes known, predictable and even comfortable.

Retiring releases us from those work imposed expectations, structures, imperatives and boundaries. Retired life doesn’t have any rules, there’s no schedule to adhere to and no expectations about what we’ll get done in a day, apart from our own. Now its our turn to shape up the activities of our day, we can determine when in the year key events will occur and we can decide what’s important.

A leap into the unknown

Starting to shape up our retirement days and weeks can feel like a leap into the unknown. It’s not surprising it makes some of us feel apprehensive, even anxious. Concerns and questions bubble up. What will I do with all the hours in the day? Will I be bored? How will I stay current and relevant? Will I start to loose my marbles? How will I deal with being with my partner 24/7? Who will I hang out with? How will I get a sense of accomplishment? Will my health hold up?

Retirement planning – on your terms

Its tempting to ignore these concerns, to turn away from them and hope they resolve themselves. In fact, the opposite is needed –  to turn around and face our concerns head on, for they hold the seeds of the solution. By thinking through our questions and envisaging various retirement scenarios we can start to find our own unique retirement direction and design a future lifestyle that suits us.

For instance, if we think we’ll miss the friendships and interactions at work, can we catch up with those people over lunch? Can we join an interest group and start new friendships? Thinking through how to address concerns now, before we retire, will give us a chance to shape up our individual retirement and make sure we are doing what is important to us, with the people we want to be with, at times that suit us.

By planning retirement, shaping our own lifestyle, rather than avoiding concerns about retirement that are bubbling up, we can contemplate what we really want and make well-informed decisions in our own time. And then leap into retirement and have the time of our lives!

Download my free Heydays Roadmap to Retirement where I share my ‘must do’ preparation steps. Soon you’ll be closer to the retirement of your dreams.

Retirement by design

There’s a quiet movement afoot to recreate what it means to be ‘retired’. We have more time to play with than previous generations since we are (on average) living longer. A lot more time. At 60-65 some of us have another third of our lives to come. So what are we going to call it and what are we going to do with it?

Retirement – the third act

Reshaping our thinking about what’s to come is essential – now we have the possibility of 30+ years ahead. It’s useful to think of this time like the third act of a play. This is when we can resolve the loose ends and the tensions of the first two acts – and answer the riddles of life. We went to school, grew up, and established ourselves as adults – act one. We grew our friendships and intimate relationships, some had families. We worked, had careers. We gathered possessions and created a home – act two. The third act (retirement) then, offers time to complete things. Time to re-assess what’s important. To re-balance: have more time, give back in some way, and return to our personal interests.

Re-wire, re-fire

Fewer obligations provides the opportunity to ‘re-wire’. To rebalance priorities and re-shape the mix of daily activities. There’s more time for relationships. There’s space to explore interests, take up new opportunities. There’s time to allow a new sense of purpose to emerge.
For some people this might be intimidating. It’s daunting to think about leaving behind the structured workday. How will we get enough ‘people action’ when the myriad of work interactions has gone?
It can be hard. Some who have not considered their retirement lifestyle feel at a loose end. That they are loosing their mental sharpness. This can create tension in relationships. Rather than address the issue, some even return to work.
To have a plan for the third act, for re-wiring – to sketch out your retirement – offers a fresher way.

Lifters, not leaners

‘So much to do, so little time!’ some retirees say. What are they doing that makes them so busy? Using work experience to mentor students or early career professionals. Supporting a sporting or hobby club. Caring for family members. Starting a second career, sometimes called an encore career. Working in a community group, or a not-for-profit organisation as a volunteer.
Mature aged Australians are ‘lifters not leaners’. We contribute a staggering $65.7 billion per annum to the Australian social and economic fabric. This is through unpaid work: volunteering and caring for family members. (National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre)

New opportunities

There’s also time to pursue interests that have been on the back burner. To become an entrepreneur, to write a book, to tackle an ambitious trek. There’s time to travel. 
At the quieter end of the scale, there is more opportunity to reflect on life. To become aware of the preciousness of each day and each moment. To allow a stillness to develop within us, to experience peace and quiet joy.

Your design

Many different names are being used or retirement – “refire”, “rewire” and “third act”. The real question is not what to call it, but what it will look like for each of us.
Taking time to design a lifestyle to suit your needs means you can go into retirement prepared. And possibly recreate yourself.
Start designing your unique retirement lifestyle using the free Heydays Roadmap to Retirement. It provides tips on how to design different lifestyle aspects and indicates what to consider, and when.  

The best is yet to come

Welcome to the Heydays blog. This is where I’ll explore my approaching retirement. I’ll share my experiences as my partner, Gary and I, design a unique lifestyle, tailored to our needs.

With good fortune we could retire and have 25+ years – a third of our lives ahead of us! That’s around 1,300 weeks and 9,100 days to shape up. So it makes sense to get ready; to consider how we can make the rest of our lives, the best of our lives.

It’s not about the money

This blog is about the lifestyle aspects of retiring, not the financial side.
It’s about making these years fun, worthwhile and fulfilling. About travel, entertainment and hobbies. Not forgetting our emotional, mental and physical wellness of course! I’m interested in our health and our relationships with each other and nature. And in developing a sense of quiet purpose.

It’s about…

… sharing ideas and challenging our thinking about what being 55+ means to each of us.