Why The Reluctant Retiree?

gwen_wilson_banner_bolindaTo cut a long story short, I was accidentally thrown into retirement in my early fifties, and I was none too happy about that. Now it’s been eight years since my last “real” – i.e. ‘paid good money’ – job. It’s almost four years since I started blogging. What a transformation in that time! Perhaps I shouldn’t continue to call this blog The Reluctant Retiree. On the other hand, if I changed now, I might start to feel that I have mastered retirement. And I don’t think there is any such thing. The road to re-invention is a continuous path – at least that is my experience.

So here you will find my day to day stories – some documenting exhilarating adventures, others simply philosophical musings.  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.

The story so far . . .

  • Studying at university for the first time, graduating in July 2012, aged fifty-seven, with a Masters of Electronic Commerce (which does not a WordPress expert make).
  • Publication of my memoir I Belong to No One. Published by Hachette Australia in June 2015; Orion UK in December 2015 and Bolinda Audio in August 2016, narrated by me. Available worldwide in trade and mass Paperback, Kindle, eBook, CD and MP3. MY MEMOIR.
  • A volunteer role as Co-Host of The Good Life, Australia’s first dedicated YouTube channel for over 55s TV CO-HOST.
  • When all one’s effort to find another permanent job comes to nought, then there is nothing for it but to spend the kid’s inheritance on overseas travel, right? Read the  Travel Stories of an Aussie Abroad, starting with “Random Thoughts While Locked in a Tin Can” under TRAVEL ELSEWHERE – click on the drop-down menu to choose a country of interest.
  • Retirement means being able to jump in the car and hit the road whenever we like, or tick off those bucket list trips such as the Indian Pacific or Ghan train journeys. It’s all there under AUSTRALIAN TRAVEL.
  • What started as a daily writing exercise has turned into a gripping, yet-to-be completed serial story of what happens when a bored housewife meets a Dostoevsky-quoting builder . . . meet Liz Thurlow under FICTION STORIES.

One of the great things about retirement is having the time to exercise an enquiring mind and indulge in passions, in my case, family, history, research, and flying boats. Okay, that last one doesn’t occupy my every waking moment, but I do have a ‘thing’ for Catalinas.

Gowned Up and Proud

Gowned Up and Proud

So that’s me, author, blogger, presenter, traveller, amateur historian, philosopher, wife, grandmother, oh, and mature-aged uni graduate , with the photo to prove it . . .

 

For more information on I Belong to No One, please visit my website at www.gwenwilson.com.au                Goodreads and Amazon reviews are always welcome!

 

84 thoughts on “Why The Reluctant Retiree?

  1. I am glad I happened upon your blog today. So far I find it fun and full of insight. Don’t we really keep changing all our lives…retirement is just a date set for leaving employed occupation.😊 .
    Continue to have fun
    Miriam

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    • Thank you Miriam, and I appreciate the follow. I agree with your thoughts on retirement. It is like a second adulthood in a sense. I note you hail from Sweden. I visited a few times. My husband and I have warm memories of staying in a little seaside hideaway north of Uppsala. A magical place in the summer.

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      • I am that glad to hear you actually holidayed in Sweden. Uppsala has one of the oldest and best universities in the world. Founded in 1477. The coast is gorgeous. I hail from the coast outside Gothenburg on the West side of the country.
        Miriam

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        • I first went as an Australian “backpacker” in 1978 with a group. Then, independently. I ended up in a small town called Falkoping for a week, staying with a family. Lovely! Later, I had a friend who worked for many, many years for the Chamber of Commerce in Uppsala. It is when we stayed with her that my husband and I went to the holiday place. She was very cultured and loved to attend functions at the university and in the concert hall. Usually, I would cross over into Sweden on the train from Copenhagen (because I had another friend on the island of Fyn). But I have never stayed in Gothenburg or its environs. Another friend (Swedish born) is just about to return to live. She and her two children leave Australia next week and her husband to follow. She is very excited and nervous! The children are going into an international school. I can’t remember the name of the town.

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  2. Hi Gwendoline. It was nice to see you found our site and allowing us to explore yours. Yes, isn’t retirement awesome. Mine was planned after 39 years and God definitely showed me that it was time to move on to other adventures. It’s gonna be fun following your travels and hearing your thoughts. It is always joy seeing and hearing through the eyes and words from others in different parts of the world.

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  3. Thanks for dropping into my film review blogsite. I’m impressed with what you do here, and am copying my comments here so your chronicle of life can proceed unbroken: . “Lovely to hear from you Garrulous Gwendoline; its amazing how diverse paths cross in the blogosphere. Who would have thought anyone read the Seniors Newsletter (!). You have a great blogsite that I will follow. We seem to have similar life trajectories and I love meeting people who are locked in constant self-reinvention mode. We are all film directors shaping the story of our lives so if we dont get in and do it then film runs out and we go up in a puff of pixel dust.”

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  4. Hi, I just found your blog, it looks great. You sound like an interesting person, we have some things in common, mostly travel, and writing. One day I will write my life story, but at the moment I’ll stick to magazine writing. I took early retirement too, my husband and I bought a yacht and sailed it to Greece…….

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    • Thank you Hilary. The uni experience came to me very late, I was already in my mid-fifties on enrolment, and yes, switching between academic and novel writing style was a challenge. Even worse though, was my thirty or so years in the shipping industry – where “less” is definitely “more” in communication. Where do you want it? When? And what are the dimensions? I would send my colleagues mad whenever I embellished with what I considered necessary facts and they just saw as too much detail. Consequently my writing often has short sentences. Something good has come out of the process though, as my first book will be in store June 30th. More nervous than excited at this point. You no doubt remember the feeling, even though you have several under your belt now!

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      • I know exactly what you mean. Short sentences are good. In academic writing it is a case of getting to B from A swiftly, precisely and without errors. In fiction you need to take people for a stroll around the garden, while distracting their attention, so they only spot the fountain in the middle at the last minute. Good luck with the publishing process. I understand the nervousness, if I could I would hand the finished book to an alter ego to deal with the publication and I would just start writing the next one.

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        • This publishing process is a long journey, and although I have an idea for another book, I find I cannot begin while I am still so involved in the run-up to book release. And I don’t suppose it gets much better straight after while the publisher is still actively pushing the promotion.

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          • I’m afraid you’re right, I’m struggling to find time to finish work on the non-fiction book that was already drafted before I published Border line and my new novel, started a year ago, has lain untouched for a year…

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  5. Gwen, I found you through a re-blog! Your story in “sort of retirement” was eye-opening. We share a similar love of learning background, and a similar approach to writing & blogging! Nice to find a fellow blogger to relate to. I’m a lot older than you, and found younger bloggers are following me. I love supporting them in their lives and careers. Just some quick stats – my last advanced degree, MSN & Nurse Practitioner was at the age of 60. I retired last year at the age of 74. Writing is my life now. My blog site was created in May 2014, from an online Beginners Blogging course. It was a very high learning curve. I’m following you and look forward to reading more of your writing. Happy Writing! Christine

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    • So glad you found me Christine. Isn’t it great to keep ourselves involved and active in life and learning? When I was at Uni, I told all my very much younger classmates that for me, relating to the subject material was not the problem, but retention sure was! I will check out your blog shortly, I have just set aside a couple of hours to catch up on all the comments that came through after Pacific Paratrooper re-blogged my Catalina article. He has an amazing reach! Gwen

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      • Gwen, thank you for your thoughtful comment. Lifelong learning seems to go on and on. Yep, agree about the retention issue! I was in my 40s when I went to university (with my sons). All the advanced degree learning started at age 50! I love Pacific Paratrooper’s blog. He’s so supportive and yes has a lot of followers. Glad you’ll come to visit sometime, even to just rest in the peaceful sunrise and sunset gallery! Christine

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  6. Just visiting your blog quickly Gwen … lots of good stuff there and re hubby’s name BILL – good it’s double l and not one or it might be confused with BIL (Brother in Law)!
    I haven’t blogged since champagne so followers possibly believe I got lost there … could be worse places to get lost I guess…. hopefully will be back on stream soon … watch this space!

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    • Great to hear from you Ingrid. I have not been able to blog recently either. I am deeply buried in the final edit of my manuscript which has been notated by the publisher’s copy editor. I have to return it to them by the end of the month. This is all new territory for me, and a very interesting learning curve.

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  7. It is a pleasure to be following your blog. My blog is mainly covering music news and providing some other musical projects I will put on my website. Please check out the latest posts I have made thus far. By the way, how is Australia? I have always wanted to go there since I am into some of the snakes that live there.

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    • Thank you for coming on board, and many apologies for the delay in commenting. I have been travelling. Your blog sounds really interesting, and I will be sure to take a good look when I am home again. Snakes? Well, that’s a nice hobby . . . but most Aussies I know try to leave them in peace. Unless you know what you are doing, you can come off second best.

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  8. “My challenge now is to become ‘as one’ with the delete key on my laptop.” This made me laugh. I know exactly what you mean. Some book I read a million years ago said that cutting is the most important part of writing.

    Hey, I was born in 1955, too. They keep re-defining the Boomers. It wasn’t long ago that 1955 just barely qualified as a Boomer. I remember reading that definition and feeling disappointed that I was technically one of them. Now we’re right in the middle? And I never even tuned in, turned on and dropped out. I was too busy studying.

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  9. 🙂 I realised when I was younger that I missed my vocation due to life’s circumstance and then after another twenty years stumbled across something that stimulated my brain and emotional intelligence amazingly but not me as a person – life, then once again stepped in the way, eventually shook me out of my head and spurred me into travel for a period of time. Living completely within my own life during this time, but having my family with me, as we nomadically wandered the world suited me down to the ground and was the most amazing gift I have been given and I think that luckily enough I have been given a few (both small and big.) Now I feel like I’m enduring life, rather than living it – travel doesn’t come often enough for me to cherish coming home, and spending time relaxing as a family. Sometimes in my life everything has felt so sorted for it only to slip away again. Like the elusive genius Elizabeth Gilbert once spoke about. I wonder instead of destiny finding me – I need to keep trying different things to connect with my destiny out there. I just know travelling gives me a huge amount of stimulation: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual and my writing then just tumble out into form on the page. Ascribing to the whimsical or maybe shouting out a big Hullah to the divine might be in order here – as my perception seems a bit off as I have become stuck in the trees! 🙂

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  10. A thought popped in – the environment you are living in does not seem right for you. The mentality of the people surrounding you, does not seem to fit with what you have shared about yourself – so sorry If I’m speaking out of turn. Where is your life?

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    • That’s a complicated one, and you are not speaking out of turn. We are living in the lap of luxury, on the golf course and coast, in a modern apartment, and most of the neighbours are young at heart and open-minded. My comments were more about the shock of transitioning into unexpected retirement, something that I wrote about when I first started blogging last May (2013). IF I knew where else I wanted to be, then my husband would be prepared to relocate. The problem is that I don’t know, so that suggests the change is waiting within. I am going to Paris in October, to write while starving in an attic – metaphorically speaking. I will be sharing an apartment with someone I am yet to be introduced to. That should be an exciting few weeks!

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    • Re-inventing myself is certainly a “life experience”. I used to have a job where my opinion was valued. Organisations backed that with serious money. Then I moved to an “over 55s”, where my biggest claim to fame was being the youngest “chickie babe” in the place. Thank God I didn’t have a stable upbringing. The only thing you can guarantee in life is nothing will stay the same . . .

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  11. Hi Sandra, here I am, apologies for the delay, I have been on a travel memoir writing course. I am very honoured to review the anthology. You do know I have never done that before, don’t you? I am not a professional writer, and my blog only has around 200 followers. However, if you have faith in my opinion, then sure, I am up for it. You can send it to me as an e-book as that would be easier for you. However, I will mention that we have an on-site library here, and we have around 250 residents – so if you would like to donate a signed copy for a wider readership, then by all means mail me a hardcopy. (we can do the address off-line). Also, I just engaged an editor, and she will start working on my manuscript at the end of March, so I am marching forward with my own work too (couldn’t resist that little pun). BTW, Gwen is okay, showing my full name on the blog is me poking fun at myself.

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  12. Hi Gwendoline,
    I’ve just had two of my short stories published in an anthology and wondered if you would review the book on your blog?
    It’s called ‘The Milk of Female Kindness’ and includes short fiction, poetry, art, memoir and medical writing on the theme of honest motherhood. Some of the writers have recently given birth, others are grandmothers. Some, like me, are childless; my writing is inspired by memories of my own mother. Some of the pieces will make you smile, others are heartbreaking.

    I’d be very happy to send you an e-book or hard copy, or some sample stories.
    Best wishes and thanks,
    Sandra @ http://www.sandradanby.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for sharing Gwendoline. Like you, I’ve started a new career and now my travel blog has also morphed into a travel and expat adventure blog. Good luck with whatever you decide on. Maybe you can do it all! Cheers, Wooly

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    • Thanks for the encouragement Wooly. I just had a look around your site and it seems as if you have the perfect partner to get out and try new stuff! I think about doing the TEFL training every so often, then going off to teach overseas, but so far cannot see how it would fit into the current life. I just read your post on the Santiago / Valparaiso adventure. Sounded a very interesting time. Cheers GG

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  14. Thanks for your visit to my blog! I wanted to drop by and invite you to join in Project O which is a look into how opinions are formed around the world. If this interests you and if you have a social issue you might want to share with people, please consider joining! The post can be found at the top of my blog under Project O – The Original Project Idea and the template is the post next to it. Thanks again for taking the time to visit my blog! –OM

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  15. Really like your Blog, even if I’m not even close to retiring age, we share a lot of the same thoughts. I love that you use the word ‘re-invent’, it is a strong word and one of my favourites. I will enjoy following your posts. 🙂

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    • Thanks so much. Your words mean a lot to me. I have been getting a number of younger followers and wondering what on earth I have to say that could be of interest 🙂 your photos are superb and so poetically described. GG

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