Absolutely. My husband and I were living in Beijing, China, at the time. He arranged a large party at a local Mexican Restaurant. It was an awesome night. (I still have the banner from that evening.) As I lived and worked in Beijing from my early forties until my mid-fifties, I viewed my 50th as just another birthday (with a really great party). The most significant age for me was 57 when my husband and I retired and moved to Vancouver Island. That took a huge leap of faith. Although I loved my work life, and our time overseas, I am incredibly grateful for this chapter.
How do you stay fit and healthy?
I am far from being an athlete, but I love being active. My husband and I live in a relatively small town, surrounded by stunning hiking trails. This gives us the opportunity to walk daily both for transportation and for pleasure. We have also completed four Camino Trails — three in Spain and our most recent one in Italy. It is so true that once the Camino gets into your blood, it does not easily let go. You can read about our Camino adventures here and here.
In addition to the above, my husband and I try to eat a healthy diet, maintain a balanced lifestyle, surround ourselves with positive people, and explore new things. Currently, I am taking a course on Natural Medicine at Elder College, (part of Vancouver Island University). It’s a great reminder to:
– Stay Active,
– Be Social,
– Have a sense of wonder,
– Eat fresh, unprocessed food.
It also emphasises that you can’t outrun your fork!!
I loved reading about you and your husband walking the 400 km on the Camino trail in Italy, you described it all so well, and the photo’s are stunning.
What are the things that you feel most proud of after turning 50?
I am grateful that I had a fulfilling career that I loved, a family who I adore and a husband who makes me smile every single day. I am thankful for being able to retire young, to live on an island that is often (correctly) referred to as paradise, and to be able to fill my days with people whom I admire and passions that inspire me.
Are there other messages and advice that you would like to give others who are considering retirement?
So often, I have heard people struggling with the concept of retirement because of fears of boredom. Then when they do retire, they wonder how they ever had time to work! I have been retired for four years and cannot imagine being bored. Instead, I constantly find myself trying to juggle my calendar to fit in everything that I want to do. Retirement today offers so many incredible opportunities. The choices can be endless.
You and your husband certainly seem to be living the ‘Retirement Dream’.
Thank you so much for being another inspiring ‘Amazing over 50’s’ guest.
More about Donna
Donna lived in Beijing, China for fourteen years, where she worked as a Middle School Principal/Deputy Director at The Western Academy of Beijing. Leaving international life behind, she and her husband retired to Vancouver Island, Canada, in June 2015. To document this transition, I initiated ‘Retirement Reflections.’
Comments are one of her favourite aspects of blogging. You can connect with her there, or on any of the social media links below.