boardwalk at the beach
Mental Health

Retiring to a Seachange

I’m ‘pulling up stumps,’ I declared.

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.

A Seachange.

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.

journey

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.

Schnauzer Cam

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 wild Scrub Turkey

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.

happy dog
Schnauzer discovering the yard

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.

rubber thongs

More about my Seachange at the Home by the Sea

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Home by the Sea
den gamle by
Community

Getting Old

It happened quite suddenly.

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.”

“Yeh – the orange one.”

(Sigh). “Yeh, it’s in there.”

“Where?”

“In the freezer?” [Long Pause].

“What’s in the freezer?”

“The Orange Cold Pack.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Have a look.”

“I did. It’s not there.”

“Well, have another look.”

“I did. It isn’t there.

“Check again.”

“Oh – there it is. I’ve found it!”

(sigh)

And there we have it. It is official.

Suddenly we are old.

table overlooking the sea
Community

A Seachange

A Home by the Sea

How does one handle change?

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.

I would love to hear your suggestions.

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Australia

My New Blog – Seachange.home.blog

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.

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My Journal Blog Seachange.home.blog/

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.

Brighton beach

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.

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Australia, Community

The Downside to Hipster Living

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?

Street

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.

But…

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.

Austria

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.

Construction begins

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.

schnauzer animation
Say What?

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.

Next stop – this awaits

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.

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Architecture, Australia

We have the Go Ahead

We have been waiting for the local authorities to approve the building of our retirement home by the sea.

We didn’t want to have any issues with the approvals. So:-

We researched, we planned. We read. We asked Questions.

Plans were drawn. Colour selections made.

After changing my mind a hundred times adding and deleting – we had our final plans ready for submission to the local Authority.

And we waited.

waiting

Did we get approval to go -ahead?

No, Not at first.

  • The steel design had to be altered slightly. This resulted in one bedroom (a spare one), being reduced in width by 15 mm.
  • The Developers wanted the fence posts to be thicker and heavier. After all, we have a secondary lane frontage and heaven forbid someone not have a matching fence post!
  • The worst part – we had to re-site the whole house – moving it towards one boundary 350mm – just over one foot!

No matter how thorough you try to be – there are so many different rules and regulations, some by the Local Authority and some by the Land developer. And they aren’t the same.

Early last week, we were finally granted full approval to go ahead with the build! Yay!

The builders have begun to make their presence known. A temporary fence and Portable Toilet are on site. They are ready to go!

Things will progress fairly quickly. They seem rather keen.

Have you built a house and experienced delays or issues? This is all new to me.

I have started a new blog to chart the building process and progress, which you can find at:

A Home by the Sea

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sweden border
Community

Blue Skies – About Me

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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) .

Loyalty

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?

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Blogging is Something  Great to Ponder About