My intention for this blog was to be a reflection about retiring ‘gracefully’, by that I meant without anguish, with ease and with pleasure. Lately it’s been more like a travelogue because we visited Ingrid in England. I haven’t wanted to publish just for the sake of it but rather when I felt I had something worthwhile to say.
So now I’m back to reflecting on retirement and also on our trip. Retirement has been so much better and easier than I could possibly have imagined. I highly recommend it to others who have reached the requisite age. I had always thought that I largely defined myself through my work and that I would miss that identity and the personal feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction that my work has always given me. Yes, it was always rewarding and worthwhile and satisfying, but strangely and unexpectedly I don’t miss it, I don’t feel less of a person and I certainly wouldn’t go back.
It’s true that I lead quite a busy life babysitting two days a week and trying to learn more about setting up blogs and websites. As well I’m determined to spend more time with family and good friends rather than always being exhausted and resting for the next week’s work. I’ve enjoyed meeting some great women in my new book club, which has also introduced me to new authors and genres (like crime thrillers) I might not otherwise have read.
As for the trip to England, we seem to have packed a lot into three weeks. It was great to spend so much time in the north of England as I’m a southerner, a Londoner at heart. There is always so much to see in England, such glorious countryside and history going back centuries or even millenia. English spring is particularly glorious, carpets of wild flowers along the roadside, tiny soft buds magically turning into lush green leaves, days lengthening and glorious sunny spells.
Australia looks and feels so very different from England – the light, the colours of the landscape, sounds of birdsong, smell of the bush. England seems somehow often, gentler, tamer and a more obviously ‘settled’ landscape. Australia has a proud Aboriginal heritage, to date inadequately recognised. I wish it were otherwise. And my ancestry is not entwined with either country but rather with continental Europe, the Netherlands.
I think I’m beginning to understand my parents’ wish to return to Holland as they grew older despite spending some 35 years in England. Much as I love Australia, I did feel so ‘at home’ in England. (to be continued)….
I ended up reflecting on this post for over a month before publishing….