Today we have some great news – we are really pleased to welcome a new member to our (growing) editorial team, Janelle Ward. And what better way to introduce her to our 250,000 members than to share her reflection on her (brief) foray into retirement – and out of it again! Read on to learn about Janelle’s discovery of the importance of smelling those roses …
It’s been three months since I left my office for the last time after a busy Sunday night in the newsroom.
I’d worked 21 years straight. Work had dominated – as it does for most of us. Other aspects of life were a juggle. Family first, the dusting not even on the radar! It was hard to do many things properly – 80 per cent was usually good enough.
But more than that, work had defined me. “Hello, nice to meet you. What do I do? I’m a sports editor. What do you do?” I felt proud, but it glossed over the ‘me’ underneath. I was undervaluing myself. And yes, no doubt my fault, but how many of us lean on that crutch? Then struggle when it’s removed.
It’s been a learning curve, a learning curve that confronts most people as they head into their 60s.
What have I learnt?
I’m learning that it’s okay to just be me. A mother, a grandmother, a gardener, a runner, an explorer …
I’ve weaned myself off the habit of checking and responding to emails 10 times a day.
Some days I tune the radio to something that’s not sports radio station SEN.
I’m slowly adjusting my social media accounts, which have a skewed sporting bent.
I still read sports sections and websites and assess – not always favourably – their accuracy in terms of grammar and story construction.
I’m learning to do things differently.
I go for a morning walk and tell myself it’s okay to go further. There’s no time limit.
I tell myself to stop and take in the view; look out over the bay and see if there are any dolphins – as there regularly are, I’m told.
I’m loving cooking again. It’s a pleasure when you have the time.
I’ve planted a veggie garden – as I usually do – but now I have time to water and feed the plants.
I’ve had time for lazy mornings with my partner, to babysit my grandchildren – take them to the beach, lie down with them and read books.
I’ve had time for a coffee or glass of wine with neighbours and not just a quick chat.
I’ve visited family interstate, camped by a billabong.
I’ve lobbied the local MP to support the assisted dying bill, backed the ‘ban the bag’ lobby, the ‘do not narrow Beach Road’ group.
I’ve checked on my energy provider, my health insurer, my phone plan, the Foxtel account, to try to make sure I’m not being ripped off.
I’ve been to information sessions about superannuation and pensions and income streams. Perhaps way too late but better late than never.
I’ve brushed the dog.
I haven’t grated my fingers. Or burnt the pine nuts.
I haven’t had a frustration dream. You know the ones? Where you can’t drag yourself off the train track or the keyboard won’t work and your deadline is looming or your fingers are too fat to hit the right numbers on the mobile?
I stepped off the treadmill.
I’m about to get back on – for financial reasons and because I want to – but I’m determined to keep a watchful eye on the speed. Sorry boss.
Retirement? It can wait for now but it was nice having a practice run.