Taken From My Diary

At the beginning of Covid I found myself at a loose end so started to write in an online diary. I have always written my thoughts down as it seems to help me put them in perspective and I worry a little less once I have gone through the process of making sense of my thoughts. I have decided here in my blog I would start a section where I could go back over my ramblings and share some with you. The first one is what I wrote on my first day.

Friday 28th February 2020

This morning I woke and felt like writing so I started this journal. I have no agenda, no ideas’s but why not. I am 67years old. I forget a lot these days and thought to myself, if I live till a ripe old age this may help me to remember some things.

It is 7am and I am sitting at my computer looking out the window and marvelling at the beauty. We moved here around 4 years ago and have not regretted a day. We have had some tumultuous weather in recent months, massive bushfires, extreme winds, scary thunderstorms with heavy continuous rain. This is Australia and we are in the Blue Mountains.Today the sun is creeping above the trees and the magpies  are chortling their morning greetings. The red wattle bird is flittering from bush to bush and the white cockatoos are standing watch. Our grass is a vibrant green, the fruit trees are pushing toward the sun and the neighbours are quietly stirring. This time is mine to plan the busy day ahead. Who said retirement would be boring. Not on my watch.

Today my daughter moves to her new flat at Blaxland (Lower Blue Mountains) She has been here living with us for some time now. Leaving her place in the city because of ill health. She struggles with life constantly and today is no different. Living with your parents as an adult is not easy for either party. Everyone’s routine is out of pace and tensions are strained.  Today though she is a little excited together with a little apprehension.  Her health is still not good but it is important for her to be independent. Hopefully with some help she will find some joy in life.

Recently Ken and I have discovered a peaceful pastime in doing jigsaw puzzles. We have discovered we can become a little obsessive about them. We start out putting restrictions on the time we spend, it does not last long as the desire to complete it takes over. We have done several in the past few months and I know my interest is not diminishing. I find them very relaxing in a mindful way. We as a couple do not have a lot in common however we find this is something we can do together. I find it Improves one’s patience and ones concentration, minimising the use of technology, and they can be quite challenging.  Our most recent was a flock of colourful birds. One of the more difficult that we have done.

Reflections on the past

Looking through my photo’s just now has reminded me of some wonderful things from the past 4 years.  Building our new house, travelling to USA. Neighbourhood gatherings, constructing Kens observatory, Trip to South America .Visitors from Queensland and from England. Local drives finding coffee shops and lunches out.  Finding new hobbies, Watching our gardens transform and making our house comfortable. I know I will refer to all of these things again in my diary and will elaborate on them as I go.

The simple art of taking photos must be one of the most important discoveries ever. Our whole lives are reflected in them.

Not the best picture but it was spontaneous and I managed to capture just one of our many cockatoos.

Our Backyard – The Blue Mountains

In 2020/2021, Covid, vaccinations, masks, stay at home orders are all that we hear on a daily basis. It is easy to become preoccupied with the enormity of this situation. I know for some it can be quite distressing. We are super lucky as our local government area is huge and is filled with lookouts, walks, flowers, mountains and waterways. I would like to share a few ventures we have had since moving here 5 years ago. I hope this will encourage people to look around and see what is there. If you are in a area that is more heavily restricted and unable to find beauty close by I hope the photos will help to brighten your day. (I am not a photographer by any means though)

This was a walk I particularly enjoyed. Ken and I went there in July 2018 during the week. It was like a little secret world of enchantment. It is quite close to the main highway and being so close to civilisation its beauty is very unexpected. It is also surprisingly very accessible. We spent maybe and hour or two just taking the 2.6km walk slowly enjoying what was on offer. On the way down the ground is carpeted with ferns, fungi, huge grass trees and native flora. At the bottom of the walk you will come across a sparkling creek with rocks jutting out, caves, bridges and waterfalls. It is a natural little piece of paradise. The path is primarily quite easy but can be a little rocky and a little steep on the way out but it is certainly worth the effort. I would highly recommend it to families as the children would love it.

Changes over the years

Technology and we as Seniors

Technology and I are not good friends. I can operate a laptop, an iphone, and ipad. I managed to get a google home set up. We have a smart TV, an alarm and camera monitoring home system and a few other smart devices. However they are working but to their minimum ability, except the Iphone which I am reasonably good with. The rest is dumbfounding and the technological terminology constantly confounds. I am a qualified accountant and have seen many changes over the years with office technology. I came from manual systems, using my hands and my head. We moved through the ages of computers taking up a whole room with special heating and flooring, to now working on a small laptop from home or anywhere for that matter. I have had to embrace a multitude of software changes, system differences. inadequate programs, obnoxious educators with no patience and much more. I am pretty proud of how I have coped over the years. I cannot say the same for current times. I have to admit I am tired of having to google every product I buy to find out how it works. If I could avoid them I would but that is becoming increasingly difficult.

Of course there are positives to this world we live in. The Internet has provided us all with accessible information at our fingertips. Not always good information but readily available and a multitude of differing options. It now assists to entertain us on a daily basis. It corrects us, calculates and deciphers for us. We now have technology sending us reminders for everything, appointments, duties, when to sleep, when to exercise, when to weigh in and how when and why to eat. We can order in, order out, and return without question. Social media keeps us in contact, helps us travel the world from an armchair. gives us recipes, pet care information, restaurant information, gossip, gossip and more gossip. The list is endless and sometimes hilarious but also sometimes frightening.

I really don’t want people to think I am negative to the changes. I am not as I believe change is good and it primarily improves us as humans. Change is inevitable and I want to embrace it but I am tired and confused. I sometimes think back and laugh as I have worked since I was 14 yrs old with the expectation that retirement would eventually come and my life would be simple once again. No decision making, less worrying, less brainwork. Now I know life will never be that simple again.

How has technology affected your life?

I would love to know how other seniors have coped throughout their lives.

Who I am and why I blog

My husband Ken and I (Lesley) live in the beautiful Blue Mountains in NSW Australia. We have 2 adult daughters and one son In law. We retired, downsized and moved from the western suburbs to our current location 2016. I say retired however we both still work part-time. My husband and I were married in 1968 and are proud of the fact we are still together today. We are average people who have experienced good and bad in our life times and can say we have learnt a lot over the years.

We are in love with our current situation as we have each other and are surrounded by the natural wonders found in the mountains. We have great neighbours, our girls live within a half hour drive. We own our home and we have some part-time income to supplement our part pension. Our lives are busy and interesting. We both have hobbies and we both like living together. Ive heard this is not always the case when partners retire. We did both work together in our own business for approx 18 years prior to retirement so I guess we were pretty used to each other by then.

We have a meaningful group of friends who fill our lives with fun, interest and drama of course.

Why I chose to blog

I like to write down my thoughts, I like to have an opinion, I like to learn from others. I like to keep my mind active.

These are the reasons I chose to start this blog. I am not particularly profound in any one subject, I am certainly not highly educated nor am I specifically interested in any one thing. My childhood was not fantastic but not horrific. I married at age 16 which is usually intriguing to others. I have dealt with and been surrounded by illness including mental illness from a young age. I have worked continuously from age 14 and have experienced many highs and many lows. I have seen a lot of changes in the world during my 69 years. I have to say I am quite interested in human behaviour on a basic level. I have no education in this area and therefore no expertise but I have experience and I am happy to talk about it. I also find talking or writing in this way very healing and a good way of putting things into perspective. I do fear loneliness and isolation in my aging person and I am hoping that blogging will keep me in touch with the world if and when I do end up alone. I hope to engage with others via my blog and look forward to reading other blogs, hearing other opinions and hopefully providing and receiving some laughs through the process.

Retirement and the change it brings

I would like to talk about a few of the changes in both mine and my husbands life since we moved to live in our home in the bush. Before retirement my husband and I had our own retail shop for around 18years. It was relatively good business, with one full time and several casual workers. It was a huge undertaking at the start, many years without income or any free time but we managed to build the business into a success. So work was the focus of our life as we remember it. Very little time for holidays and certainly not enough time for relaxing or life in general.

We had no big plans for when we retired except to downsize so we would be able to be comfortable in our retirement. Therefore we put our house, in the suburbs, on the market and commenced building our new home in the mountains. Sold our business and changed our lifestyle. This all sounds easy but it wasn’t and it was not without a lot of difficult decision making and not without a lot of doubt and trepidation. There are decisions to make which affect not only yourself and your partner but your children and also your lifestyle, your friendships and other family. We had lived in our home at Kellyville for approx 15 yrs and our previous home at Seven Hills for 25 yrs. We were familiar with our neighbours, our area in general, shopping, entertainment, our friends who lived nearby, our doctors, the hospitals and specialists.and many other facets of daily living. One daughter lived in the city and the other was in the Lower Blue Mountains. We had no specific requirements but I always maintained that I wanted to be close to major hospital, and within walking distance of transport.I also did not want to be isolated. My husband ‘s main requirement was a flat block of land without many trees. This is funny when you consider we settled on The Blue Mountains. A haven for trees and not many flat blocks of land. So the looking started and took us 2 years to find the block we wanted and to start building. We did achieve what we wanted, close to the shops and station and a relatively flat block. Possibly more trees than we wanted but we settled on it and commenced the move. Financially we were not able to simply retire in full. Selling the business took time and what we made from there went in to boost our superannuation. Unfortunately we did not consider retirement enough in the earlier years when we should have committed more to our future. Both of us are fortunate enough to have the ability to continue working part time and to date it helps us to live comfortably. As it was we could build a nice new home, fill it with new furniture and a few other luxuries to see us through hopefully till the end.

Moving into a new area, we did not know our neighbours, or anyone else in the area. We continued with our friendships from previously. That meant travelling a lot up and down the Great Western Highway pretty much every other day. Once the shop was finished we started to settle a little more into the area. Commuting down from the mountain has diminished somewhat. We go to know our new neighbours who turned out fantastic. They look out for us and are very friendly and also entertaining. We discovered another couple of friends who actually lived quite close so that was a bonus we were not expecting. Our lifestyle slowly changed. We began to sleep longer in the morning without feeling guilty, we started to explore the area we now lived in and discovered many places to walk and enjoy. We realised this could be done during the working week when there were less people, better parking and less noise. My husband was in his element as he had been coming to this area with his parents since he was a child. He knew it well and was ready to familiarise himself with every secret hide-way he had found as a child. I was not into the bush or walking as much as he was so I had to find myself some hobbies. I will talk more about those things in other blogs. For now it is sufficient to say I had to do some thinking.

There are not many negatives that come to mind. We see less of some long term relationships that had developed. Simply because the distance is greater. We have to work harder at keeping in contact. We have less choices for shopping, restaurants, activities. Our doctors and specialists are further away. In the beginning our eldest daughter was at least an hour and half away. She has now moved to lower mountains which has made things easier. It is a little colder up here and a there are a lot more windy days in our particular spot. These are very minor things when we compare with what we have gained.

We love it here now, have settled into a routine and relishing in our choices every day. I will elaborate on the area and how we spend our time in further posts. See a few photos below of our transition.

Reflection

Planning earlier in our life would have made things easier. We let work get in the way too much.

Who out there has undergone a large change on retirement. How did you deal with the emotions that go with that?