Your story – Louise

13
To retire or not to retire

am female and was born in 1963. I am widowed and have two adult children, one of whom is employed and lives near me and one is a student a 40-minute plane ride away.

My kids are mostly independent and I love spending time with them and seeing them establish themselves as adults in our society. I’m immensely proud of their achievements and continue to marvel at their zest for life.

As far as retirement is concerned, how do you retire from your hobby? I have always had a love of anything to do with computers and am self-taught in most things IT after high school in the Netherlands, after which I started work at the bottom rung of the ladder as a typist for a well-known multinational. Being a large company with large budgets, the computer age started shortly after my employment and so I was able to witness the birth of computers in the workplace and consequently have the opportunity to further my career with them.

I moved to Australia in 1987, worked in secretarial jobs until moving to Tasmania in 1993. Having privately dappled in what was then called “Desktop Design” (graphic design) in Sydney, I started my own business in web design in 1999 after speaking to an IT friend who told me this Microsoft Frontpage thing was easy and I’d have no trouble working it out.

I don’t think I wish or that I even could, fully retire. As my personal circumstances have changed considerably over the last 2-3 years, I am now re-evaluating what I want to do with the rest of my life. Travel will be a big part of this, but so will continuing to work part-time in some form.

My typical working day starts at around 9 am till 2-3 pm when my dog gets all my attention. I work from home and vary my working hours according to my social schedule, which is not something I want to give up. My work allows me to be flexible whilst still enjoying friends, family, social outings, exercise, my dog, and travel. My job does require continued self-training in order to stay up-to-date with new techniques, rules and algorithms and all things internet.

I’m not sure ageism is a consideration in my work – I think some clients may be surprised at my (advanced!) age when we meet personally. Most of my client contact however is via email/phone.

I’d love to pursue my hobbies more (Yes – this is my work!) – singing in a choir, socialising with friends, amassing a considerable Tasmanian shell collection which I would like to do something with one day and more travel.

On a recent visit to Hawaii, I purchased a ukulele and it is my goal to learn to play this beyond the C, Am, F and G7 chords!

I embrace change and am happy to go with the flow. Keeping an open mind and continuing to grow and learn is something I will never stop doing as long as my health allows it.

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