Germaine Greer is a legend in her own time, a leading feminist in the ‘burn the bra,’ era, yet Germaine has something to say about security.
“Security is when everything is settled, when nothing can happen to you; security is the denial of life.”
– Germaine Greer
If we think about those words, to live life we have to face risks. The trick is to balance that risk with practical common sense and find that happy medium between living and managing risk.
Recently I attended an Adventure Climbing Park. At my age, it is an unusual thing to do and I have not done it before. But it was now or never, I thought. Last Chance station. So I gave it a go.
The task was to climb trees, harnessed in for safety about 20 metres up a tall tree, and walk across progressively more difficult and wobbly bridges and ropes from platform to platform suspended high above the ground, with no exit until the end of the course.
I was keen yet I was terrified. Terrified of falling off the bridge and hanging in my harness mid-air 20 metres up, until some 20 something park attendant could rescue me. How he would rescue me, I did not know and that was even more terrifying! This single thought propelled me onwards when I doubted my ability to continue.
This task that I was so keen to undertake was way out of my usual comfort zone and was designed to test your physical strength and mental resilience. After several reasonably easy initial steps climbing nets that gradually took us higher and higher into the trees, I faced walking across a tightrope – still harnessed in.
This was a real challenge balancing and stepping carefully and I balked at it, thinking there was no way I could do it, but as there was no way down, I inched across sideways, little by little, hanging on to the harness for grim life, until I made it safely to the other side.
Often time in comments with other bloggers, we compare our lives in various parts of the world. People approaching retirement seek a lifestyle change. Country folks who have farmed all their lives will often move to the city whilst city dwellers move to the beach or a quiet country areas.
In selecting where we live and thinking about lifestyle benefits, can we really compare our lives given that our demographics are vastly different?
The acutely different rates of population density compared to land area in different countries, is startling and naturally, has far-reaching implications. Nevermore so in the management of social issues, chosen location and perhaps, even more importantly, also in the management of the Covid pandemic.
Consider the differences between a large city in Europe/UK, Australia and India.
Is it useful to compare apples with apples? ie. Two large centres. Let’s pick Shanghai and New York. What does that reveal?
There’s more space in China, but population density remains the same.
Let us also look at a smaller European city compared to the largest city in Australia. Population density appears the same as London, Delhi and New York.
I recently volunteered to assist an animal rescue group. I am retired so would like to contribute more to community not-for-profit organizations.
This group have a private messenger chat so that they can access volunteers quickly when someone has called in an injured animal. I put my hand up and I wanted to help. I was added to the private group chat as advised during my “induction.”
All good so far.
Recently, a message came in via the group chat that help was needed, at a location, less than 1 km away from my place. The main rescuer, it went on to say, has a bad back and needs help lifting a cage. I am new at this task, but okay, I think, sure I can help. I indicate this on the group chat saying I can be there in a jiffy.
There is no response.
Just silence, which seems highly unusual, going by what I have read so far on past chat convos. So after ten minutes or so, I again message the group: “Look I am new at this, it would be my first rescue, but I can definitely help lift the cage and am in walking distance of the location.“
The response is strange: “If you do want to help, you will have to contact Don.”
Me: “Who is Don and how do I contact him?“
After 10 minutes, the response comes: “I don’t give out other people’s phone numbers.”
I mull over this and think how, the devil, am I to help if I am not given the contact details of the person I need to contact.
So I give up. Maybe this group isn’t for me. They are clearly worried about privacy issues. Which frustrates me, well, it really pisses me off. I could discuss this later with the President, to clarify matters but right now I feel unsure if this is the right group for me in my retirement. It all seems a little too hard. Doesn’t it?
What do you think?
How many times have you, as an individual, listed your phone number on a internet sales purchase, delivery form, survey, hotel, tradesmen enquiry, or Covid declaration in a cafe, of late? If you are like me, it is all the darn time. So why are they frightened of giving out a number in a closed group within a private chat amongst volunteers who are all interested in helping animals, I wonder?
The irony is a week or so later, an unrelated email comes out with all and sundry’s email addresses listed. So much for privacy concerns.
Has privacy issues gone so far as to block communication?*
*N.B. I am not advocating advertising your phone number publicly, as no one wants unfettered offers aka spam texts or messages that contain offers of enlargement medications, bitcoin or the opportunity to be the sole beneficiary of an inheritance from a stranger from Sierra Leone, do they? Me neither.
I was announcing to friends that I was to leave my inner-city lifestyle and was moving to a Home by the Sea. A Seachange is the correct word, I believe.
“What. Why?” was the plaintive responses from colleagues and friends.
“Why move further out? That’s a long commute.”
Especially when, they continued to counsel me, a sought-after, inner-city lifestyle offers heady attractions and a swathe of facilities and friends, in close proximity? And my own kids concurred.
At the first whiff of this decision, the adult children refused to be involved. They saw it as a hedonistic move to the region’s boganesque outskirts, better known as, ‘The Peninsula.’
So why did we decide to continue with a Seachange?
Because life in the city cuts both ways.
Inner City Lifestyle is Attractive
Our urban locale of many years was idyllic, or so we thought.
Picture energetic, vegan eateries and sushi trains, interspersed with Craft beer hangouts playing Indie music, to all hours. Streets lined with cafes, punctuated by glamorous shops, awash with white and taupe furnishings, selling those ludicrously expensive cushions that are positioned for looks, rather than comfort, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of my former location. Many would find that attractive.
I have to admit the inner city life was swanky and practical. I had only a short walk to public transport, of all kinds, and a multitude of library and shopping options, as well as bakeries or gourmet restaurants, so close, that I’d never had to worry about squashing the bread or drinking and driving the car home.
So I had to ask myself again, why did I want to leave?
Because, it seemed. there was a niggling discontent in my heart.
I had begun to notice the downsides to urban living and they were becoming more and more bothersome, the closer I got to retirement age. I needed a change.
But wait. I began to hesitate.
Did I really want to give up work and this urban lifestyle right now, given that one’s work and financial contribution to society forms a large part of our identity?
I had to think this through properly and reassess what I’d really miss and what might be a potential deal-breaker. Was I ready for Retirement and a Seachange? It was a big move!
Weighing Up the Pros and Cons of Hipster Life in the City
Point #1 – Endless Facilities
City living is an ongoing adrenaline rush and offers many opportunities, but it also results in an expanding waistline and other First-World Problems that triggers a level of guilt, in me, one I wasn’t entirely happy with.
I had to admit Triple-shot Macchiatos or Banh Mi Market Breakfasts with Almond smoothies, at the local markets, were really fun but also the chief suspects in my increasing girth.
Those lovely market stalls one browses, on Sunday mornings, you know the ones that feature lovely handmade items, or organic Kombucha with a Turmeric and Kale chaser and a pulled pork bun, are very hipster, but as I wasn’t exercising too much, (I dislike aerobic exercise), you can have too much of a good thing. Diet and health concerns were not the only pressure.
Add to this, I felt indulgent. This consumerist lifestyle felt privileged and wasteful, considering how much poverty, need and homelessness exists in the world. There had to be something better that aligned more with my twilight years.
Point #2 (Or should I call it: bothersome fact #2?) – Noise, Busy Roads and Traffic
There were loads of new facilities, medical centres, shops, gyms and pilates studios opening every other week in the inner city districts. However, the incessant noise from the construction was something I wasn’t getting used to. Quite the contrary, my sleep was disturbed more and more with each passing month. Sleep deprivation is the kind of torture that one can’t abide when the childbearing years are far behind you, so the noise did nothing to foster a jolly mood.
Couple this issue with two near-miss incidents with myself and heavy machinery, plus a workman’s vehicle swerving towards me, both happening at pedestrian crossings near home, were other imperatives to move to a quieter area. (Twice in one week, I was nearly run over simply crossing the road to follow the concreted footpath!)
The horse and buggy style of those dated inner-city alleys and streets, that no cat worth his salt would be found swinging in, are all very quaint when you are a pioneer in the early 19th century, but crossing the street after 6am in 2020 was akin to having a death wish.
And, don’t get me started on the lack of on, or off-street, parking. That was Point #3.
Point #4 – Sharing Space with a Growing Population Density
Exercise in the inner city constituted a 30-minute stroll in the morning down a popular shared bike and pedestrian path. Early morning walks here, had recently become a dance with death as teams of hardcore, professional cycling enthusiasts, festooned in their all-too-revealing-bodysuits notoriously rode at that same time, and usually three abreast.
Some would forget to ring their bell as a warning of their impending presence and I’d stumble to maintain my balance and calm my frightened dog, as they swished past in a blur of lycra, shouting, “Move – it’s a bikeway,” in a range of accents, or offer a very defiant ‘finger,’ if I didn’t move to let them pass.
Despite all of this, it was the bruises that finally cemented my decision to sell and move to the Home by the Sea.
Point #5 – Small Rooms
In particular, the bruises incurred when my toe, or shin, connected clumsily with the bed-posts in the small inner-city Townhouse that I had down-sized to, as a potential retirement home. Low maintenance it was, but Townhouse living was going to be problematic.
Every room in my ultra-modern townhouse was so small, so confined, that it meant kicking my toe or shin, on the corner of the bed, vanity or chair, became a daily event. It might have been cute, compact and a breeze to clean, but there’s always a trade-off, isn’t there?
It was clear that I needed somewhere with a tad more space.
Not only that, but the family dog agreed with me.
Point #6 – Limited Yard for Pets
The small courtyard at the Townhouse gave the family dog no place to bury a bone, nor conduct her usual border patrol for illegal animal infiltrators. Her job, she thought, was to protect the premises from the likes of lizards, cats, Ibis or random Scrub Turkeys. The small astro-turfed courtyard just didn’t cut it, for my Princess.
A Home by the Sea
So weighing up the odds, we decided to move.
In complete contrast to Townhouse life, the Schnauzer loves her new home that has a small to medium L-shaped grassy yard. Now she can choose whether to sun herself or roll around in delight on the soft, green grass.
A bit like me really.
Retirement and the Pandemic
The Covid pandemic may have meant I retired a little prematurely, but more importantly, it has given me time to walk the dog, enjoy early mornings on the beach and not have to rush off to work, in busy commuter traffic.
To date, I have not sustained any bruises from the furniture in my new home by the sea!
A seemingly unending blue sky, fresh sea air, a comforting quietness as well as new places and friends to discover, has me feeling relaxed and content with no time constraints and nothing to do, but enjoy the rest of my life.
The feeling that the Moth, (Man of the House), and I are becoming a bit…. old.
I shouldn’t be surprised, as this feeling isn’t really that new.
I first felt like this, when I turned thirty years old. How silly was I then? But of course, 30-year-olds don’t always have any point of reference for what older age really feels like, until now.
We feel our age a little more, every time a milestone passes. You know the sort where we get to celebrate yet another 12 wonderful months of life on this planet? Except you reach a point where you don’t want to celebrate the number, anymore. It is almost a forbidden word once you pass three score years, which I haven’t quite reached yet, but the Moth most certainly has.
Today, however, I did feel extra old, particularly when the Moth asked me a question and the ensuing conversation went like this:
“Have you seen that blue cold pack from the freezer?”
“No, should I?” (have seen it?)
“I just had a look and it isn’t there.”
“Are you sure?”
“You know – the blue one.”
“I’ve never seen a blue cold pack, but I did see an orange one there, last week.”
Change might be disruptive and jolting, a shock to the system but it also heralds new possibilities and opportunities.
I will soon be moving to a new location. A new house, new area, new neighbours. It is exciting but a little daunting.
Some of you know that we have been prepping for this move for over a year and soon it will become reality. Add to that, I will be semi-retired- whatever that means?
Have you some moving tips for me? Last year when I moved to my current townhouse, I become stressed out and exhausted. I used to be an ace at moving house, when I was in my twenties and moving flats every year or so.
Thirty years on, I am older and need some tips on making it less stressful.
As some of you may know, I am preparing for the next stage of my life. Retirement from work. It is a few years off yet, however I do like to be prepared.
To this end, we are building a future home at the beach. A new home means a new blog called A Home By the Sea.
If you wish to follow along on this journey with me, click on the link above and you will be magically transported to my blog: A Home by the Sea.
Just to be clear, Something to Ponder About will continue in its present form. The new blog will have more of a personal journalling function.
At the moment, it is in its infancy, merely following our building projects’ ups and downs. But the challenge of transitioning to retirement will bring loads more stories, commentaries and pictures, so that will come later.
Some people know I’m preparing for a seachange; I’m ‘pulling up stumps,’ as they say, in the suburbs, and have already moved, in the interim, to a trendy townhouse in the inner city’s dress circle. What is it like, you might ask?
Think Gourmet ice cream and Vegan eateries, Sushi Trains on many a corner, craft beer bars playing Indie music and a variety of those glamorous shops that sell ludicrously expensive white and taupe furnishings with cushions that are perfectly positioned for looks, rather than comfort. Yep – in a nutshell – that’s Hipsterville. Right at my doorstep.
Imagine little old suburban me, walking the shared bike way in my daggy joggers, being steamrollered by cyclists festooned in those all too revealing lycra bodysuits. [Yes it did happen- several times]. The little Schnauzer was even caught in the slipstream of these semi-pros, who seemingly insist on riding three abreast and stubbornly refuse to ring their bell when overtaking. Grrr.
Or you might visualize me wandering the lazy Sunday markets where the fare on offer includes Triple shot Machiatos, Green smoothies with Turmeric and Kale or a dose of Banh mi with your breakfast falafel.
No – don’t get me wrong. The food is good and I do like it here. I do. In fact, it is easy to love this hipster lifestyle.
I do have a problem with an all too burgeoning waistline and the incessant noise. It took me well over a month to sleep past 4.20 am in the mornings, due to the parade of ‘tradies in Utes’, (tradesmen in utility vehicles) heading to work.
Seriously, who needs alarm clocks when you have the roar of light commercial engines outside your windows, Monday to Friday? These guys are up at the crack of dawn, speeding down the streets, reveling in being able to drive more recklessly due to the absence of other cars and non-existent bumper to bumper traffic at that earliest of hours.
Neither do I relish nearly being run over – twice in one week.
The narrow, horse and buggy style inner city streets, that no cat worth his salt would be found swinging in, are all very quaint if you are an early pioneer, but the restricted access makes crossing the street after 6am a bit of a death wish. And it is not that I don’t like that cozy European feel. I do, but this isn’t Europe, it’s Australia and it looks and feels like Australia. The land of empty spaces, unless you are in the inner city, of course.
And don’t get me started on the lack of on street parking around here. (Thank goodness for extra visitors park when people come to visit).
Complaints to the council about the aforementioned hazardous intersection fall on deaf ears. Yet the authorities proudly flaunt “Traffic upgrade” leaflets, which were noticeably more prevalent in the run up to elections.
The mooted traffic upgrade did nothing to address the potentially deadly corner, but detailed adding another, to my mind, slightly extravagant, turning lane for cars, 400 metres away from the aforementioned deathly bottleneck. There is no common sense in Hipsterville, it would seem.
And by goodness, neither do I welcome the many bruises appearing on my body. In particular, on my shin when it connects with the bedpost. Our former suburban house had sprawling bedrooms (thanks to the MOTH’s randomized house design from his single days when he built the old house with his father). The Inner city digs are about half the dimensions, yet we have the same number of people living here.
To its credit, the pygmy like size of the Hipster house has its advantages. It’s a dream when it comes to cleaning. Every room is so small, it takes but a jiffy to clean, but of course there is a catch, isn’t there? Not immediately obvious, the downside to this small “castle” is that I kick my toe on the corner of the bed, vanity or chair on an almost daily basis.
Furthermore, my dressing table now doubles as a computer desk, because only one of these things will fit in the bedroom space. By contrast, the new house will have two study areas and embarrassingly, I was supposed to downsize! His and Hers study areas? Works for me. Woohoo!
The Schnauzer concurs with me. In the teency weency townhouse yard, she has no place to bury a bone and must jump into a raised garden, in order to dig up a prized potplant or effect her border patrol for illegal infiltrators, such as lizards or a random Scrub turkey. But she is a little depressed. She protests strongly each morning that we must walk out on the grassy footpath, as the astro turf just doesn’t cut it, when it comes to an appropriate place for Schnauzie wees and poos.
For the minute though, I’ll relish the short walk to the shopping centre and library. I’ll swing by the bakery for freshly baked sourdough and pop around the corner for a Pizza and Peroni with the MOTH, at happy hour, without the worry of who’s driving home or being over the allowed alcohol limit for driving a car.
Running out of bread or forgetting the eggs is now batted away by me, as a minor inconvenience. Despite its shortcomings, the inner city hipster life does have its heady attractions.
Excuse me whilst I go sip some Chai or perhaps it’ll be a triple shot Mocha. Heavens, I might even take up cycling! It is all Something to Ponder About.
Lorelle is relatively new to the WordPress world, and in support of her, I have decided to accept the nomination to participate in the Blue sky challenge.
Now, I hear that slight, almost inaudible inward groan, from the seasoned wordpress veterans, who have completed many such awards/challenges. However, it is my belief that the WordPress community is a supportive one and as such, we do everything we can to encourage new bloggers. This challenge is a way to do that and by doing so, discover new blogs and also for me to highlight other blogs, you have yet to come across.
Having said that, and bearing in mind the time constraints of such challenges/awards. I will highlight other blogs in accordance with the rules, but emphasize that there is not an obligation to complete/pass this on, to others.
So, here are the rules as I was given them:
Thank the person who tagged you – Thank ever so much Lorelle from AMindfulTraveller, whose blog comes with the tag line Explore, Live Love.
Answer their 11 questions
Tag 11 people
Give them 11 questions to answer.
My answers to the questions
1. What is your “dream” holiday destination?
I am so fortunate to have already been there – Scandinavia and Poland, although Greenland/Antarctica would be wonderful, but it is unlikely that I will travel there.
2. The most disliked place you have travelled to?
Unfortunately, I would have to say Bangkok. Too noisy, busy, and Humid!
3. If you could learn a foreign language, which would it be?
Again, I already learn Norwegian, but perhaps I could extend that to Icelandic one day.
4. Do you prefer Summer or Winter?
Always, always a winter person…I simply can’t tolerate heat and humidity. I grow horns in summer!
5. What have you learned from blogging?
There are more similarities between people from diverse cultures than there are differences. We can learn so much from each other if we keep an open mind.
6. What is your favourite food?
Seafood and berries – I could just eat that for the rest of my life and be content
7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?
Definitely a dog obsessed person. Dogs are a treasured gift of unconditional love.
8. What makes you laugh?
Good question, Lorelle. Political Satire mostly, otherwise it could be dry wit.
9. What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you think of the colour red?
Recently, I have been instructing young ones on how to drive power wheelchairs so a red, stop sign,is the first thing, that comes to mind, otherwise the Dannebrod, the Danish flag!
10. One word to describe your partner/ loved one (if there is someone) .
11. What is your greatest fear?
Losing my loved ones
11 Questions I would ask:
1.Your favourite place in the world?
2. What keeps you young?
3. Something you would never ever do again?
4. Favourite book/author?
5. Thing you most remember from school?
6. Most important lesson you have learnt in life?
7. Tidy desk or Messy Desk?
8. Do you prefer forests or the seaside?
9. Style of art you prefer?
10. Favourite food?
11. Have you changed careers since you left school?