Unfortunately, my mother became seriously ill in Ireland and so a quick trip to see her was organised. I was fortunate to spend her last few days with her and to attend her funeral before returning home.
We then set about seeing some more of our own back yard. This involved a trip on the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin, with a stop off in Alice Spring so we could visit Uluru. No, we didn't climb the Rock but circled it by foot. This trip inspired us to plan a camping expedition up through the Centre and down the West Coast.
We made a few trips overseas to catch up with family and visit new countries, as well as old favourites such as Paris.
In between we continued living in the quiet rural surrounds, with shopping trips to Benalla and occasional outings to Swanpool Cinema. We were content with our lot, until I got the Volunteer bug and joined the crew at Vinnies.
Unfortunately, we also aged. My arthritic hands made gardening a painful chore and not the pleasure it had been. Thus, we decided to sell our property. We made the decision to move to the coast and ended up in Portarlington. At the time there was only a small permanent population, and we were surrounded by empty houses, which was a gentle introduction to urban living. Of course, over the summer the population swelled, and life became more hectic. With ongoing development increasing in pace, we decided to head back to Benalla. However, this time, we settled in the town.
Now, several years later, we are well settled into retirement. There is time to take up causes, whether by writing to politicians, joining protests or visiting people in detention. Between Volunteering, U3A and ‘life in general’, I often wonder how I managed to fit employment into my schedule. Yes, I do have a garden but on a smaller more manageable scale.
To me retirement has been a wonderful surprise. I had wondered if it would be boring. Instead, each day is a gift to be cherished.