‘Finally I’m retired! Time to put my needs and wants first’

Sep 08, 2021
After years of putting the needs of others first, Julie as retired and is making time for herself. Source: Stock Photo/Getty Images

Finally, I have retired! This new stage of my life happened some months ago. I had been looking after a geriatric for many a year, as his caregiver. Due to his failing mobility, his eldest daughter had to choose his nursing home. It is a 100 kilometres away, nearer to her.

We all accepted this is part of his ageing, and turned a page in the book of life. I  stayed  in touch, being a good cheer squad for him. Now, he has sadly passed away.

What’s next?  First, my new stage of retirement life began with a massive spring clean. I took on Cupboard-A-Geddon. Then I sorted my craft stash into containers. I deduced that I have enough supplies to create for at least the next 15,000 years.

Don’t tell me there’s nothing to do when we retire. I have finished with caregiving duties, such as dishing up endless medications and preparing special meals, drowning his teabags. I no longer have to worry about someone’s health or potential to collapse. I did so much, all with a cheerful heart and a kind smile.

As well as that, I used to visit my aged mother and take her to medical appointments. I used to be a babysitter at holiday time for assorted grandkids, managing sing-along entertainment fun times. I looked after all the fur friends along the way; I cleaned up pet poops, fed them, groomed them, took them to the vet and administered their meds.

I even took care of a foul-mouthed cockatoo, slightly wild in his cage. He had a cathartic approach to greeting each dawn. The neighbours were thrilled! Now I have retired from all that.

Maybe I was born to be kind. I guess that is no bad thing. While I was on a roll, I reached further retirement. I used to tutor the youth of Australia, face-to-face, or online. I quit!

At my age, I can leave the educational system to the young and energetic schools on wheels. It was my grey liberation when I deposited my creative Maths games of Fraction Bingo, Silly Spelling Snakes and Ladders, and Rat Lotto in the bin. That livened me up!

This little caregiver has retired, have you? At first, it was a bit hard not to put the kettle on all the time. That was a force of habit, saying, “Do you want a cup of tea?” But I allocated my leisure time differently.

After looking after everyone else, these days I can nurture my own wellbeing, aiming for inner peace and contentment. I do enjoy my own company. I have time to read quietly, with a pile of good books. No book is a waste of time.  I have more happy times ahead, crafting for charity, and writing. I try and write on a daily basis, with a brain full of ideas.

Now, when not in lockdown, it is time for a decent coffee with my ‘girl’ friends, old and new. It is always good to stay in touch, so we do. Good company is for free, only a smile away.

Anyone’s path in life can change, depending on health. The world now revolves around the pandemic. My health can be my priority, after all these years. I see things through to the end, and persevere in life, doing my best for others. We have to take care of our necessary stuff, but inner peace can be letting the future take care of itself.

We over-60s have a lot to offer, at any stage. Retirement is a time to focus on our strengths. I have retired! But wait, a student wants me to assist him with his English for his Master’s degree in 2022. Do we ever retire? We must turn the page. Life goes on. Who knows where my next path will lead?

When did you know it was time to 'retire'?

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