RETIREMENT. A wonderful concept! A time when we, Australia's retirees can relax after a life time of work, raising children and ensuring the family is well catered for. But in this modern way of life it is also a time when grandparents are on the line to help look after the grandchildren.
Unlike our grandparents or even our parents' generation our families can be spread throughout the country or overseas. This means that keeping in touch with our children and grandchildren is much more difficult and requires extensive amounts of travel.
In Australia retirees are on the move. The term 'grey nomads' is bandied around to describe those of us who have decided that towing a mobile home or a caravan behind the motor vehicle is the way of life. Whilst it is a way of a relaxed way of life it is also a means of seeing the country and visiting the grandchildren at the same time.
At this time of year the migration of greying nomadic people is north from southern states as conveys of vehicles towing caravans and mobile homes head north for the winter. What fascinates me is the difference in shapes and sizes of these travelling homes. You only have to look at the caravan parks to see the amount of cash in the shape of this mobile accommodation that our older population spend on this way of life.
Just listening to their conversation is fascinating as well. They congregate to discuss the road they have travelled, tell stories of adventures they have had and generally socialise. It is like a special club of travellers that has no membership fees or rules. So long as you are a fellow traveller you are part of the club.
While time may be unimportant to this mobile community there is still a certain pattern to their travels. For many they have deadlines to meet at certain parts of the year but after that it is immaterial if they stay in one spot for a week, a month or longer. Whatever takes their fancy is the order of the day.
Talking to people who have followed this dream eventually set down roots back in the community they came from. Once that thirst of the nomadic lifestyle has been quenched it is time to settle down into a more certain way of life, renewing friendships and maybe giving back to the community from which they fled.
Retirement is neither a dirty word nor a death threat. It is something to grasp in both hands and enjoy. It is the time in our lives that we can extract as much of life as is possible without the constraints of family and at the same time still be involved with all aspects of family. It just may take a little planning to manipulate both. But you deserve it.