I am getting ready to retire officially. I’m excited about being able to explore various paths – which I was not able to do while working. This was mostly for lack of time, though I have to admit that I spent excessive time on the internet. But mainly, it’s a question of one’s frame of mind. Before, I was more focused on the day-to-day tasks that need attention, and I did not feel that I had the time to explore new paths. Now, liberated from work-related chores, I feel free to explore what I want to explore – a discovery trip of the mind!
When you look for retirement advice on the internet and in books, frequently the issue becomes finances. This will not be my focus. There are a lot of issues I want to explore: some related directly to retirement and to aging, but most associated with my other interests.
My background: I was born in Germany, but grew up in Brazil. In 1971, I came to Canada. I told people that I was moving from one country to another that was under some kind of war measures act! I was planning on staying here for a few years, then travelling to Asia, but this did not happen. I found enough of interest to keep me in Canada for the past 40 years – moving from Quebec to British Columbia, and now living Nova Scotia.
I worked for over 45 years, with hardly any longer breaks. After training as a kindergarten teacher in Germany, I started working in 1965 – first in Berlin, then Rio de Janeiro and later in Montreal. There, after working for a while at a children’s convalescent hospital, I made a switch to nursing, and this has been my occupation ever since.
I have been quite involved in environmental activism for quite a long time, particularly since coming to Nova Scotia, mainly trying to explore the link between human and ecosystem health.
Since 1984, I have lived in rural Nova Scotia with my husband and daughter (who has since moved to the U.K.). I love the spot where we live – it’s very quiet and tucked away. There are lots of woods and nature around to hike and explore. The highway is far away and the gravel road on which we live is some distance from the house.
Of course this works best in the summer and when you are not working. In winter it can be quite a hardship. And, our house being some 200 metres (yards) from the road, this means bringing the groceries and other stuff up to the house on a sleigh – quite a slug sometimes!
I trained as a nurse in Montreal and British Columbia, and later got a degree in Halifax. My main areas of work have been the operating room, the recovery room and the emergency department. During the last several years, I have worked on greening the hospital - a lot in my spare time - and succeeded in getting a Green Team set up.
Then, about a year ago, I developed a yet undiagnosed dizziness, and my hospital work and Green Team involvement came to a halt. For a long time, I expected to get better, but this has not been the case. I had been considering when to retire, but the dizziness took that decision from me. Now it’s time for retirement and for exploring what I can still do, at a slower pace.