Checking my well-wishing email to our beloved editor Dot who has just announced her retirement, I realised that I had misspelled adventure as adventire.
With mouse poised to change it, the weird character who lives in my head said, “hang on Charlie. Isn’t that exactly what you wanted to say?”
I had inadvertently merged adventure and retire into one word. My very own portmanteau. And yes, I was encouraging Dot to enjoy adventure in her retirement.
I have been struggling with the concept of retirement for years and have come to despise the word. All definitions imply stopping, leaving, giving up.
Not on my watch!
People who have worked hard and made sacrifices all their working lives deserve the opportunity to de-stress and follow their passions – write a book, cut a lap, drown worms, or hang over the rail of a cruise ship burleying the marine monsters below.
These are passions worth pursuing for physically fit, financially fortuitous and furloughed adventirees.
I’ll never forget the story told to me over a beer in the Buronga Caravan Park by Rob, a spritely grey nomad in his 80s, who was unashamedly spending his kids’ inheritance while “living the dream”.
He and two mates, Jack and Fred, all started work with the railways at the same age (16), on the same day. They all worked and played hard and stayed fit all their lives by playing sport and chasing their children around the place.
All three mates retired on the same day at age 65, but with different retirement plans.
Rob embraced wanderlust. He purchased and modified an off-road caravan that he and his wife comfortably live in while experiencing the wonders the Australian countryside and the friendships that people offer so generously.
Jack is a keen angler and invested in a cabin cruiser that takes him safely and comfortably to deep water fishing spots only a privileged or brave few dare visit. At the end of the day his bag may not always be full of fish, but it is always brimming with satisfaction and exhilaration.
Fred believed he deserved a well-earned rest, so he downsized to a single bedroom townhouse with no pestilent garden, a giant 80-inch smart TV, and a recliner that fitted like a second, luxuriously-cushioned skin.
Rob and Jack catch up every year and swap stories of their adventures, but Fred is not there. After less than a year, Fred developed kidney illness which he treated with drugs and close to zero exercise. He put on excessive weight and soon his knees gave out and arthritis took over.
Within two years Fred was dead.
Fred’s demise is a uniquely tragic story, but the message is clear. Inactivity and indifference are negative energies for which there should be no place in the golden years of a dynamic, productive adventiree.
Positive energies like optimism, curiosity, daring, courage, enthusiasm, joy, gratitude, inspiration and empowerment are the only way to go.
Fulfilment is achieved by living a free life with a positive attitude and worthwhile goals.
Start with a plan and wing it when necessary or do it just for fun. Be free, be happy, be you. Recognizing how important the Golden Years are means taking control of, dare I say it, Your Time.
So, Dot, have a wonderful adventirement!