Hello, my name is Gilda.
Since reaching a certain “milestone age” I have found myself feeling a great sense of urgency to make changes of lifestyle that would better suit this stage of my life. I have found a greater need to ensure I use my time wisely and follow dreams not yet realised. I have just taken early retirement, from a job I loved to search for adventure. I feel the moment has arrived to explore the world, create new experiences, let curiosity take me away from my comfort zone.
Brian and I climbed Le Morne Brabant Mountain independently in spite of people telling us that we needed a guide to get to the summit. We took our chances and soon realised that no guide was necessary. We were so glad to have kept up our determination to get to the summit on our own in particular because when we arrived at the summit we lucked out and had it to ourselves…although only for a short time. The views were breathtaking and worth every minute of the very steep climb.
The more I researched about the history of Le Morne Brabant Mountain, the more I felt compelled to climb it following in the footsteps of the desperate runaway slaves who made the caves and rocky trails of this awesome Mountain their home. We had been in Mauritius for over a week exploring its many attractions, driving around in our little rental car and all the time keeping an eye on the weather forecast to ensure a dry and sunny day for our Mountain climb.
It was a recent conversation with my son James that has inspired me to write this post. We are having a cup of tea in the garden during the recent British August Bank Holiday weekend, one of the warmest ever recorded in the UK. Our mother-son bonding chat goes towards our love of travelling….. when he hits me with this sentence “I don’t like travelling to popular places”… Me: “Are you serious? What do you mean?” He: “when everyone goes travelling to the same place… it puts me off…” So I argue that popular places are popular for a REASON…usually an amazing land mark, beautiful scenery etc.
I am taking voluntary early retirement from a job I love, but so far have no regrets on my decision. I am now working my “notice” and will finish work by the end of October. A scary thought? Not at all, since I have considered this decision very carefully.
I went back to University to study Dietetics later on in life (after working in a soulless job in a Bank) and from the very start of my course, I knew I had finally found something that I was passionate about. For the past 11 years, I have loved the interactions with patients, the camaraderie of working with other health professionals learning from each other, the feeling of being valued, and the rewards of doing something meaningful that can help improve people’s quality of life.
I first downsized my life almost 30 years ago. The impetus of being young and single, a bit of cash in my pocket, a backpack full of dreams and a taste for adventure was all I needed back then. Fast forward a lifetime lived in a first world country full of the trappings of a capitalist society, how easy is it to downsize my current lifestyle? What are the compromises my husband and I are prepared to make to design the future life we want to live?
We have been pondering these questions for some time now, as the clock ticks on eating into minutes, days, months and years; making us realise that a big chunk of our lives is now over and we are not getting any younger. We most certainly have lived more than fifty percent of our life expectancy and no doubt the most healthy years of our lives. A huge chunk of a life spent working, earning money and accumulating stuff that now feels like a pile of clutter and things we no longer need. It is often so ingrained into our brains to believe that progress is directly related to bigger, better…more is more… that downsizing can feel like going backwards.