About Garrulous Gwendoline – The Reluctant Retiree

Gowned Up and Proud

Gowned Up and Proud

Update, May 2015. Two years since I first wrote here of my aspirations to write, and the great news is that my memoir, I Belong to No One, was taken on by Hachette Australia, and will be available from June 30th 2015. Simultaneous Paperback and eBook release and widely available.

Novice Blogger, aspiring published writer, reluctant retiree, mature-aged uni graduate, occasional job-seeker, traveller, baby boomer.

If a baby boomer is defined by those born between 1946 and 1964, then I definitely qualify. Born in 1955, that puts me slap bang in the midpoint. So I can be sure, at least, of that part of my identity.

I am also certain that I am a reluctant retiree. My husband* decided to retire in 2008, and the plan was for me to work on for several more years. We sold our apartment in Sydney and moved to Wollongong – to an over-55s ‘Lifestyle Resort’. We live on a golf course, beside the beach, and our apartment is all about the view. We are privileged to live here in the bosom of a vibrant community and in modern surroundings. All the same I tease my husband about the decision.

“I don’t play golf, I am not a strong swimmer, and I was only fifty-three when we moved here . . . What part of this move was about my needs?”

My appeal falls on deaf ears – he has heard the joke many times before.

Of course, the move was not intended to put me into retirement. I gave myself a month or so to relax, then threw myself into looking for work. Now I have a fine collection of job applications, ranging from full-time management roles to part-time receptionist, but it seems that those who scrutinise resumes have decided on my behalf that I really am retired. I have had a nibble here and there, temporary work for a few weeks, but nothing that endures.

So ever since the beginning of 2009 I have been on one adventure or another to re-invent myself. Mostly I am making it up as I go along. It is an ongoing project with many twists and turns along the way, including going to University for the first time in my life.

My working career was in business administration, international trade and customer service in the shipping and logistics industry. I was able to use that background as a launching pad to study at post-graduate level. I graduated in July 2012, aged fifty-seven. I now have a Masters in Electronic Commerce.

Do I hear you ask – “Why would you do that?”  I don’t really know the answer – except to say that it was on the bucket list; and that I suffer from a lifetime love of learning.

Apart from writing university essays and reports, I have been writing a memoir for years now, so ‘aspiring’ writer is probably a misnomer – unless the distinction between a writer who is emerging, and one who is aspiring, is that the first has been published and the other is only dreaming of the day. After typing thousands and thousands of words without a set plan, eventually the manuscript has found its central theme. My challenge now is to become ‘as one’ with the delete key on my laptop.

This is my first foray into the world of blogging. For years I have hounded friends with a Christmas letter longer than the average magazine article; and whenever I go on short trips I observe and document the world I see, intending to share these insights as well. Those words end up living on the laptop, never seeing the light of day. It is so frustrating.  So I have decided to reach out to a wider audience. With your support, I may even be able to drop the ‘novice’ tag one day.

I hope you enjoy my day to day stories.  Perhaps those of you who are also in your second adulthood – the one that comes after kids and career – may identify with my journey to re-invent the rest of my life.

There will be much to write about in coming months – we are about to jet off to Europe, for the next adventure in my life.

Gwen Wilson, Wollongong, April 2013

* A word (or many) about my wonderful hubbie.
I imagined that I should give him a pseudonym. After all, I cannot guarantee where my stories involving him may lead, and I cannot be sure I will not make jokes at his expense. I was tempted to call him ‘Always‘ – as in “When I married MR RIGHT, I didn’t know his first name was Always.” I ran the idea past him, and his sole input was that there is no such christian name as Always. See what I have on my hands?

So he has given me permission to use his real name. It is not one of those unusual names that are so popular these days. It wasn’t even unusual when he was born in 1949. Keep your eye out for any mention of BILL.  No doubt he will pop up here and there.

(That’s with two “L”s – just in case you were hoping it had an unusual spelling).