The following is a submission from a Prime Women subscriber on how she’s learned to embrace retirement by getting out of her comfort zone.
The 1st of January 2011 was my freedom date. After working for about 40 years, I suddenly had the opportunity to follow my dreams. Maybe follow my dreams isn’t quite accurate. It’s been more of a journey of self-discovery and awareness. However, after I turned 60, I decided to get my act together.
Three years ago, I joined a new Bounceback to Netball group. BBN is a Netball Scotland initiative to encourage women to get into sports and be more active. I’m the oldest in the group, but it’s a very supportive and inclusive group and the sessions are great fun. I should mention that previous to joining the BBN group, I last played netball in 1967. Despite my time away from the sport, I was asked a couple of years ago, as part of Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week, to write a few paragraphs on what netball means to me and this is what I wrote:
Back in the day when I was in Primary School I was ‘selected’ for the new netball team because I was tall and because I could run pretty fast. Absolutely loved it! I remember we were all given an orange when we won our first (and only) game. So, that was back in the day. 1967. The Summer of Love when we all wore flowers in our hair. Two years before Woodstock and two years before the first moon landing.
Fast forward to January 2016, and a few months after my 60th birthday. I was feeling old, bored, unfit and wondering what on earth I’d do with my life. Surely there had to be more to my retirement than this? Then, out of the blue I got an email telling me that a BBN Group was being started up in Livingston.
So, I dusted off my trainers, donned my pretty much unused ‘activewear‘ and, with some trepidation, I walked into the gym hall to join what was to become the best, most encouraging, supportive, inclusive and amazing group of which I’ve ever been a part.
It matters not that I’m now a lot slower, not so tall nowadays, miss the ball, score a goal in the basketball net rather than the netball net (but still get a loud cheer!). I’m playing a game that I absolutely love and get a real buzz from. It’s great fun, we all have a good laugh and it’s just such a crazy, crazy fun environment and I absolutely love it.
It’s a fabulous start to the weekend, and I’m planning on still playing netball when I’m in my next decade.
My netball journey continues and it’s the highlight of my week.
I’ve meditated and have loved meditation since my early twenties. It’s helped me through several troubled times, and I’ve benefited so much from this practice. However, throughout all these years of regular meditation practice, I’ve always dreamed of becoming a meditation teacher.
Last year I decided that I really would follow my dream. I started studying a meditation teacher training course, passed my final assessment in early January of this year and am now awaiting receipt of my certificate of qualification. Exciting times!
In December last year I joined a local Sing in the City choir. Similar ethos to BBN, SitC is to encourage people into singing and to get the therapeutic benefits of singing and expression. I can’t sing for toffee, but it’s a fabulous group and I sing my heart out at each session. I’d definitely recommend singing with a group if you need a boost to your self-confidence.
During my whole life I’ve never, ever had good skin, and have had bad acne for all of my teenage years and adult life. Last year met a wonderful lady who introduced me to Tropic Skincare products.
Tropic products are vegan, ethically sourced skincare products and for the very first time in my life I have beautiful blemish free skin. I love the products so much that I’m now a Tropic Ambassador selling their beautiful fresh products. My little business is still in its infancy and doing well, but who knows where it will go from here?
A couple of other exciting things that have happened since I retired. I won a colour consultation with Colour Me Beautiful and the advice I received during that consultation has helped with my confidence because now I’m aware of which colours suit me (I also now know how to check if a colour suits me by noticing how the colour reflects against my skin). It’s surprising the confidence you have when you know you look good. That same year, I also won an aura consultation. An interesting experience.
I’ve started having my white hair coloured and I feel good about that. I’ve resisted colouring my hair because I always wanted to embrace my ageing experience and grow older and more mature with grace and dignity and by embracing my changing hair colour, but as my hair has turned very, very white I found that I started to not only feel older but I was acting older than my years.
So I’m now embracing colour to enhance my natural white hair. It took quite a while before I decided that colour was the way forward, for me.
Another benefit of being retired is being able to help with grandchildren babysitting duties and also going to their various school Christmas shows, etc.
My confidence since I retired has certainly increased and I’m finding retirement life is pretty darn good. I’m happy to take new challenges and try (almost) anything. Although I draw the line at bungee jumping!
Regards, Isobel Lyman