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Introducing classic woman, Lisa and her transition to retirement. Lisa is having fun experimenting with a range of past times. She has many interests, and is open to exploring more. I hope her story inspires you to be open to all types of post-work avenues.
Lisa and I met through our yoga practice at the local fitness club.
I used to watch how Lisa interacted with other members of our yoga group and soon came to view her as a very empathic and caring person, always ready to listen and to help others. We got chatting. Lisa said that she was working part-time, transitioning to retirement, and exploring the range of recreational and learning opportunities in the local area. I told Lisa I was keen to chat with her about how she thought she would adjust to retirement after a long career in health care. She invited me to her home for a chat, and here is a little of our catch-up in May.
The working Lisa
Lisa, a Taswegian, now lives in the Gold Coast. As a nurse of over 30 years, including work in the intensive care department of a local hospital, she specialised in the care of patients receiving renal dialysis for 14 years. I could see the passion in Lisa as her face softened when she spoke about interacting with the people on dialysis, how they were dealing with their kidney disease, and how debilitating and controlling it can be for a person to be reliant on specialised medical treatment three times a week.
What happens in a dialysis unit?
I asked Lisa to describe her role and she gave me a ‘cook’s tour’ of what happens in a dialysis unit. I had imagined that people visited the unit, were ‘plugged in’, dialysed for a few hours and then unplugged. But as Lisa explained some of the intricacies and complexities of the process, I became aware of my ignorance and I was impressed by the both technicality and the immense responsibility of her role . The process she described is individualised, requiring a full assessment at every visit – an analysis of the person’s weight, their diet, general health, medication regime. These patients, who usually attend dialysis three days a week, are sitting with the machine for up to five hours.
Additional stressors on the dialysis unit
As the population ages, and public expectations shift, dialysis nurses are treating much older people, sometimes in their 90s, and sometimes people living with dementia and kidney disease. Nurses, already squeezing in long days, also have to fit in online professional development into their already pressured schedules.
So about five years ago, Lisa started to reduce her nursing hours. During this period, she did some causal agency nursing work, including two five-week stretches in the bush – at Fitzroy Crossing and Yuendemu – working with indigenous patients.
The transitioning Lisa
Two months ago, Lisa took the plunge and separated from her government position. We talked about how women who have been in the workforce can sometimes feel a bit lost in the post-work years. We have been identified by what-we-do. Lisa says she now tells people, “I am retired, but not from life!” You will be fascinated by the different roads she has travelled, and I hope a little inspired.
Transition idea – wearing the gold and red uniform
Lisa had a go at becoming a lifeguard on one of the Gold Coast’s most beautiful beaches – Tallebudgera. This meant preparing for and passing the Bronze Certificate in swimming. She loved the concept of volunteering at the beach, but felt a bit under-engaged, waiting for someone to need assistance. This is when she realized she is very much a ‘doing’ person and moved on to explore other opportunities.
M Braining, or multiple brain integration technique
Lisa was looking for ways to identify goals in her new phase of life, and attended a presentation run by author and local Master mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Technique) trainer, Bill Lee-Emery.
‘The mBIT process can help people establish deeper more intimate relationships with their 3 brains (head, heart and gut) and that can send ripples throughout their lives, families and communities. The intention is that their lives continually evolve to higher levels of awareness and consciousness.’ http://www.relaxationcentreqld.org/presenters/bill-lee-emery/
Lisa told me, “I think I am now more aware of how I make decisions; instead of leaping in, I am now more likely to step back, sit, and just think about things for a while. It’s a whole wellness principle.”
Transition idea – Reiki practice and meditating
Lisa took up the opportunity to do a one-day introduction to Reiki. She came away really excited about her new experience, saying it aligns well with her focus on wellness for herself and others.
“I ‘ve discovered I’m looking for something in the wellness field rather than the acute health care system.”
She is planning to do a follow-up Reiki workshop. She meditates each morning, using an app on her phone to take her away to a quiet place, saying, “it’s all part of the journey.”
Travel, languages, bike riding
Lisa and her husband enjoy overseas travel . They were totally enthralled by the story of a gentleman who had toured the Moselle region of Germany – “he showed us such enthusiasm that we were inspired to go to Europe.” Before heading off, Lisa took German language lessons from a local lady at the Currumbin Eco Village coffee shop every Sunday morning.
This photo was taken in September 2016, on Lisa and Dennis’s last trip to Europe…where they biked 1200kms along the Danube River from Donaueschingen to Budapest. During the section from Passau to Vienna, they climbed up to this amazing lookout over the Donau, way above the valley floor. “You can tell by my apparel..its not as warm as it looks!” Lisa recalled.
Later this year, Later this year, Lisa and her husband are heading off to Europe where they will participate in a various bike rides through Germany and the Netherlands. Lisa and Dennis are regular cyclists, joining in the Bicycle Queensland 550km rides in the country region. When I asked Lisa how often she cycles, she said ideally three times a week, “but I wouldn’t call myself a lycra lizard!”
Transition idea – Toastmasters
Lisa is an active member of the local Toastmasters group. She invited me to a meeting to see if I might like to join. At that point, I perceived Lisa as a quiet achiever; I couldn’t picture her standing before a group in a formal role. The Lisa I saw at the Toastmaster’s meeting was a confident, smooth and warm presenter. (https://www.facebook.com/PBCToastmasters)
When Lisa first conceived of retiring, she looked around for ways that she could keep active in her community and help others while also bringing in a small income. She had been visiting her mother in a retirement village and noticed that some local villagers struggled to get broken appliances repaired or replaced. Lisa conceived a brilliant idea to help them. So she took her laptop with Internet connectivity to the villagers and assisted them to select and order replacement appliances. Unfortunately for the retirement village residents, she didn’t pursue this enterprise. She was concerned about building the business, and then leaving people high and dry when she and Dennis were overseas.
Lisa conceived another creative idea from looking around the local ‘op shops’ . She had a go at re-purposing some of the donated garments with a bit of creative TLC. Creating this clothing line is still developing, pending a Lisa arranging a dedicated space to set up her sewing machine.
Ride-sharing (aka Uber)
While seeking a way to bring in a little money while allowing her freedom to travel , she decided to find out about Uber ride-sharing and has gone through a long process to become registered as a commercial driver. She will soon embark on this new venture. When I asked Lisa if she feared for her safety, she explained that she had looked into it carefully. This a safer option than taxi driving:
- No cash changes hands.
- Riders and drivers rate each other.
- Uber monitors the time on the road .
- Drivers can refuse a ride if they have concerns about people they are picking up.
Lisa loves to drive and enjoys chatting with people. “Nobody should be taken at face value because we all have something interesting to share.”
Wouldn’t you love to share a ride with Lisa?
When I asked Lisa to sum up her approach to transitioning from working to retirement, she described it as “moving with the flow – being open to new opportunities”.
After years of caring for others, she is finding out more about how to help others be well.
One of the goals of this evolving blog, Classic Women, is to share the stories of how women handle periods of transition in their lives. I believe there is great value in story telling and that we can learn from the experience of others.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE YOUR STORY?
Please contact me by signing up to this blog – below – or via the Classic Women FB page.