Retirement, Seasons of Life, Transitions, Travel

Enjoying Retirement in Cape Naturalist near Dunsborough, WA

One of the things that many retired people look forward to is to travel, I was no exception, desiring to see the world and re connect with old friends. This trip to Australia was a fulfillment of  those dreams. I was fortunate to have timed my trips just weeks ahead of the COVID 19 epidemic when this would not have been possible. I am truly blessed to have had this opportunity which may never be a possibility for some of you as travel will not be the same again for a long time, so I wanted to share this with you so you can enjoy it with me..

The drive through from Perth to Dunsborough was uneventful as we drove through the Western Australian open bushland with low scrub trees, plants and open fields, quite different vegetation to Queensland’s tropical forests. After driving through Church Mile, an area donated for church and scouting camp sites, we arrived in Dunsborough and went straight to the Sculpture by the Bay Exhibition as it was closing at two o’clock. We wandered through the sculptures, some of which were very inspiring. A large clay snake made by school children with texturing from local natural objects, reminding us to be aware of the environment and bush safety, this was certainly brought back memories of our youth spent in Rhodesia with dodging puffadders and cobras! There were also some pretty poignant pieces, I liked the one of a man sitting quietly looking out to sea, very meditative and part of nature. I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition, a red heart made out of broken pieces of reflective glass from crashed motor vehicles really spoke to my heart. When we had finished at the Sculptures, we went to my host’s apartment where we had lunch and enjoyed a cup of tea in the garden.

Reflective glass heart

There were lots of noisy birds in the garden, magpies, twenty eights (parrot like green birds) and others, attracted by the bird seed my hosts fed them! Later that day we walked around the corner to a student art exhibition at the Gallery on the Hill, to be further inspired by local artists. I watched one lady doing exquisite botanical paintings in water color. In the late afternoon we walked down to the beach which was not more than a hundred meters from the house. It was pretty as a picture mesmerizing us as the sun sparkled on the ripples and the gentle waves lapped at the shore in the late afternoon sunshine, while gulls sorted through debris on the beach. We walked the long way home past the Gallery on the Hill, finishing the day with dinner relaxing on the lawn telling yarns of the good old days. 

Pullman’s Resort

The next day we drove down to Meelup beach (‘up’ in aboriginal language means ‘water’), then onto Point Marchant named after a WA historian who specialized in this area where the first French Explorer, Nicolas Baudin had arrived and mapped the coastline in 1801, this area is called Cape Naturaliste after his second ship. The sea here was a tapestry of extraordinary blue and turquoise strips and patches reflecting the blue sky above. From there we drove to Bunker Bay whose lovely long white beaches stretched into the far distance, and onto Pullman’s Resort where we stopped for coffee. This was a very upmarket place so we only had coffee, which we enjoyed looking out over the forests and the sea. The buildings blended into the scenery with roofs painted the color of the forest so they did not jar the eye. The foyer was decorated with beautiful pastel paintings of the ocean by a local artist, Ann Steer, they were a true representation of the mood of the place, the turquoise seas and tumbling waves of Bunker Bay. After exploring the resort with its luxury cabins situated in the forest around a small pond and walking down to the beach, we drove on to the lighthouse on Cape Naturaliste. From here you can get beautiful views

Point Marchant

across Geographe Bay, named after Nicolas Baudin’s flagship, and the Leeuwin National Park. This was quite expensive to visit and I am not good on heights, so I decided to give this one a miss. We drove onto Eagle Bay where there are very expensive homes, but no water, so everyone is dependent on their rainwater tanks. We returned to the apartment and later in the afternoon walked along the beach again to the parking lot where the Curry and Rice pop-up van was parked.  We ordered our Chicken Corma and poppadum’s and sat at the picnic tables enjoying our meal watching the waves and children jumping into the water from the pier. It was really relaxing to just sit and enjoy my retirement connecting with old friends. 

Divorce, Grief, Retirement, Seasons of Life, Transitions, Travel, Uncategorized, Widowhood

REFLECTIONS ON RETIREMENT

Gazing across the still lake at Claremont Gardens in Surrey, the golden reflection of trees looked up at me mirroring the great oaks and beech trees along the water’s edge. This beautiful sight caused me to reflect on the last two years since my retirement and my first visit back to the UK since I went to live in the USA.  This was a major transition, from working to having time on my hands, from living alone to living with my family and learning yet another culture in new land and dealing with the ubiquitous bureaucracy!

I had spent several years on planning for this move, so adapting to the new culture was not too difficult having visited with family on numerous occasions. On arrival in the USA I was exhausted from the past few years of a strenuous job and the handing over process, of saying goodbye to family and friends and going through the immigration process.  This was probably more emotionally draining than anything else. My body felt very tired and I even wondered if I had some dreaded disease, I felt so bad. This was a time to ‘Be still and know that I am God’.  Quite often we are not even aware of how tired we can become in serving others, we give because we enjoy helping others, we give because we know that is what God has called us to do, but even Jesus grew weary in his earthly body and needed to go aside to rest and pray. It is important to allow your physical and emotional body to recover from a big transition. 

Looking at the tranquil water of the lake, I could feel the rest and calmness in my body, something that I had not been able to experience when I was working, always expecting an emergency phone call or my mind working on a problem that needed to be solved. I had to learn once again to be mindful, to live in the moment, to appreciate my environment and what I could see, I needed to learn to tune into the ‘still small voice’ in contemplative prayer and allow God’s voice just to tell me how much He loved me again.  It is easy to lose the focus of God’s goodness when you are in transitions as there is so much going on.

It was important to hear God’s voice saying, ‘well done, you have added value to my Kingdom, rest here awhile to recharge before your next assignment’. Your value is not determined by the work you do, so when you are no longer working you feel you have no value.  Your value is determined by the fact you are a Child of God, His daughter or son and just because you are, you are valuable. So, taking the time to be still and re-establish the strong foundation of who I was in Christ was very important to me.

Taking time to explore new places, find a new church and a new group of friends and different ways of worshipping, doing art or writing all became part of the journey into my new life. Reflecting on the past and knowing my giftings and strengths, putting them out before God as to what plans He has for me to use them in this new venture of retirement required time.  Two whole years have passed, and I am now ready for the next adventure in what plans God has for me.  I have written an Amazon best-seller in the Christian Liberation category. I have joined the Creative team in my church giving an outlet for some of my gifts, I have created my on-line presence of blogging, art gallery and e-course. I have met and made so many new friends from diverse backgrounds that have made me explore even deeper the meaning of life.

I think most of all I have learned that ‘in quietness and confidence will be your strength’, as God reveals things to me day by day with the people He puts in my life to support and help going through difficult life circumstances. He has given me that compassion and caring for them and some creative solutions that they can use to help themselves through hard days.

One day I asked my son what was the one thing he felt I had given him of value and he told me it was living with me through such a variety of life circumstances, that we had survived and succeeded and he was able to apply that foundation and confidence to his life, and that all three of my children had come out not only survivors but winners in successful careers and family lives.

I think the main take away from my reflections must be that difficult and diverse life circumstances build resilience and faith in Someone who is bigger than you, who cares for you, protects and provides even though you may not see it in the moment. It is with gratitude I embraced all the challenging times to bring me to this place of quiet restfulness and peace.

Seasons of Life, Transitions, Uncategorized

CHANGE OF SEASON

How Do you know when you are entering a new season of your life? 

Traveling to Pennsylvania on the coach, I was left in no doubt that the landscape was transitioning into fall! No longer, fresh green leaves, but leaves in every shade from dark green through yellow, red and bronze. Nature shows us the change of season through the landscape when it is moving into a new season. So, what signs do we look out for when we are changing a season in our life? 

Graduating from school, college or university draws a distinct line on the past childhood. You are now entering the world as an adult where you will find your place in the workforce.  After some years of enjoying the freedom of earning your own livelihood, you desire to settle down and share your life and the search for love and happiness with a life mate and starting a new family begins.  

Waiting for the arrival, a pregnant couple prepares a home and space to receive the child by attending prenatal classes and learning all that they can about parenthood. After years of child rearing and being a family together, one by one, children leave the nest to become independent adults. They leave a void that is sometimes hard to fill, if the children have been the main focus of the family. This can be an unsettling transition as you are no longer needed in your role of nurturing, provider parents. The empty nest syndrome can kick in as there is often a gap of several years as the children settle into their new lives, often too busy to call home. This is a hard transition for parents into the new role of friend or mentor to their offspring, but it is a necessary transition and needs preparation and wisdom from the parents.  

The circle makes a full turn as their children complete their education and become independent working adults and find a mate, marry and settle down. Transitioning into being grandparents is probably the most beautiful of all transitions. It can be expected or unexpected, but the entry into the world of your grandchildren is magical as you hold the precious little bundle of joy for the first time. Again, wisdom and knowing your boundaries is required, leaving the parents to make their own mistakes and learn from them, only giving advice when asked for. 

The signs of the next transition are usually physical. You can see them in the mirror! You can feel them in your energy levels, retirement from the nine to five job is on the horizon. Even if your boss hasn’t told you yet. This is a time you should have been planning for, putting some money aside for retirement, taking up new hobbies and interests, getting involved in the community and your church. 

The transition into retirement will often depend on how much planning you put into it as to how easy it is to change your identity and role in the world. Without adequate planning, some people end up feeling they no longer have any worth, which of course is not true. Effort needs to be made to create a vibrant retirement at the pace you choose.  

During the course of the natural and expected seasons of life, our pathway can sometimes be   completely disrupted by unexpected events like the death of a child, divorce or widowhood or chronic illness, forcing us into a new season. After we have stabilized new growth can begin and we enter a new season. 

One of the transitions that are part of the cycle of life is the death of your parents pushing you to the top of the family tree. This can be quite intimidating as you come to terms with your own mortality. 

As the trees shed their leaves and the bare branches stand in the icy cold, similar are the signs as you enter that final cycle of your life. Often it is your health that strips our independence, and you need to be taken care of by others. It can just be a slow decline of strength and faculties, sight, hearing and taste. Then just as a winter storm can strike and the tree falls, your body switch can turn off and you’re gone from this earth. That final transition to those who believe in Christ as their Savior are promised to be changed into the eternal bodies to live with God forever. This transition requires that you have faith, which you should have been nurturing during your preparation for the latter years. 

Yes, the signs of transition are all about us. Do we recognize them? Do we desire them, plan and expect and prepare for them?  

Divorce, Grief, Retirement, Transitions, Widowhood

YOUR JOURNEY THROUGH TRANSITIONS

cropped-scanfinaltransmap2-e1534282544842.jpgHERO’S JOURNEY MAP

From the day we are born to the day we die we are on a journey called LIFE! We will experience many things on this journey both happy and sad, some things we had a choice in and others that were done to us.  We will have learned many things, intellectually, physically and spiritually which have left an emotional footprint in our hearts.

I have been through the University of Life and have experienced the trauma of divorce and widowhood, I have had to move countries and adapt to different culture four times and now I have retired am moving into the second half of life, I also managed an old age home and learned how the final years of your life’s journey need to be planned.

With all this in mind I have designed a map to chart the pathway through these difficult transitions.  Allow me to hold your hand and guide you through your difficult places. Download the Map and Questionnaire here and feel free to reach out to me.

Your adventurous guide and mentor

Deryn