Retirement came early for me. I had a child care business and ran it from my home. My husband and I arranged for a builder — who we thought reliable — to build a deck on our house coming off the upstairs living areas. However, on the night of our deck warming, surrounded by family and friends, it collapsed. The deck had not been attached to the house properly and with a few people walking on it and sitting on it, it came down taking everyone with it.
The council and an engineer had issued certificates of compliance. With so many people close to me injured, it hastened my retirement. The house was no longer suitable for me to keep working.
Ten years after I was forced into retirement, my husband retired. We were enjoying our grandchildren and helping out as much as we could. We bought a motorhome and decided we would start seeing Australia, not full-time, but a long winter trip and shorter summer ones. We were home during school holidays to have the grandchildren stay and enjoyed every minute as they were growing before our eyes. Some of our trips were planned to visit our other grandchildren interstate.
We knew heath issues would come and prevent us from taking some trips. Actually, this happened more times than we thought possible; we even had to cancel a cruise one year that we rebooked for the following year.
We both agreed not to stay home for family birthdays as we would never get away. In this tech age, FaceTime and Facebook kept us connected from the far flung regions of Australia.
Some friends and family have died during our trips away. One death was my father, while another was a good friend who had been battling cancer. My brother died six weeks before one of our winter trips and while I admit it was a hard time, nothing was going to be achieved by staying home. My family had done a lot of grieving over the two years that he was sick. Life was meant to be lived to the fullest. Now I’m in my 70s the long trips are over, but the bug for travel hasn’t dissipated yet.
We have helped the family out financially over the years as we have sold assets and, more recently, the motorhome. We like to give them a little help to make life a bit easier. We have enough to see us into advancing old age. Both my husband and I had known hard times, I was widowed twice before I met him. That gave me the strength to appreciate whatever has been thrown at me over the years, because not everyone makes it to enjoy retirement.
I’m recovering slowly from foot surgery at present and have a bit of cabin fever. Being stuck at home makes me appreciate life even more. My husband, family and friends are wonderful. I tell my family all the time I love them, that’s number one on my list, I need them to know how I feel.