Changes and Challenges

Accepting the never-ending challenge of aging and celebrating the never-ending opportunities.

As we “mature” Old Father Time’s clock seems to tick faster and faster. We all know that we only have a finite amount of time available to us and we all know, or know of people that have succumbed to illness or accidents well before their time was due.

Lea and I are determined to make the most of that most precious commodity – time.

Are we ever going to be healthier than we are right now? If we continue to work for another 5, 10 or 15 years are we going to be capable, physically and mentally of enjoying the lifestyle we crave?

What does that lifestyle look like for you, have you thought much about it?

We certainly didn’t expect to be retired at this stage of our lives and in reality, we don’t feel like we are retired, it’s more like being on an extended holiday. Perhaps this is because our retirement has taken us overseas and we’ll be travelling for an extended period. Perhaps it’s because we still have our interests to keep us busy, fitness, writing, discovering, immersing ourselves within local communities and meeting interesting people.

One thing is for certain – more “opportunities” have come our way since retirement.

My theory is that this is because in retirement, we are focused more on ourselves instead of the job or the business. We can concentrate on what our plans are, what we want to do and not on how we can work around our jobs to find time for ourselves. Not all of these opportunities are big things, they might be an invitation from someone you met at a function to having a “sundowners” drink on their boat or a home cooked meal but you never know where these can lead to either.

Soon after we announced our retirement, I was asked to give some maritime specific talks aboard a luxury cruise ship sailing from Singapore. We met some wonderful people aboard the beautiful Celebrity Constellation during our four weeks aboard, some whom we will catch up with in the UK, Europe and the Americas. Lea was asked to do some modelling for a Real Estate company and the positive feedback received from this has given her more confidence in her abilities. These “opportunities” have led to more and more and the exciting part is that we don’t know when this will end.

Let the games begin!

Prior to retirement, part of my role for Sunshine Coast Council was to leverage the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast by attracting teams to conduct their pre-games training and acclimatisation on the Sunshine Coast. There are a few reasons for this, one: The economic value of large teams staying for an extended period is incredible, two: The Sunshine Coast is developing a reputation as an ideal training destination for elite sports people and having internationals using local sporting facilities enhances that reputation, and, three: The social and community benefits. I can’t wait to see the faces of locals who will play “friendlies”, warm up games against international teams or receive coaching from elite level coaches. It will inspire more people to get active and involved in sport.

One of these teams is Scotland who will bring almost 300 athletes and officials for a three-week camp prior to the games. Economically this will be worth more than $1 million to the local economy but also create endless opportunities. While it’s wonderful to have 300 athletes and officials, let’s leverage it even more to attract 3,000 mums and dads, brothers and sisters, Uncle Jocks and Auntie Bonnie’s and hundreds of kilt wearing, highland dancing Scottish supporters. A competition will be promoted in Scotland that will see someone win a trip for two to the Sunshine Coast, stay with the team, cuddle a koala at Australia Zoo, learn to surf, attend community functions as a VIP and generally enjoy a money can’t buy experience. Visit Sunshine Coast will then be able to market the coast to competition entrants.

The Scots must have been happy with the support they received because upon retirement they asked if I would like to be involved with the pre-games camp as a volunteer. Their thinking is that while everything is on track and well organised, inevitably something always goes awry and it would be handy for me to be on hand with my contacts to resolve any issues as quickly as possible. I’m so excited, not only do I get to stay involved in some way but Lea and I will have the opportunity to go “home” and see family and friends and get a behind the scenes look at a major international sporting festival.  Who knows what opportunities that will lead to?

The Scots have also invited Lea and I to be their VIP guests on the last night of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on 26 August. Lea and I are both ex-military and the Tattoo has always been a “bucket list” thing for us so I can’t tell you how excited we are.

But we’re also going to “court.”

I met a great bloke whom I worked with to bring Tough Mudder to the Sunshine Coast who also works co-ordinating volunteers at Wimbledon. George is very passionate about his role, so Lea and I were extremely honoured when he asked if we would like to work as volunteers at the All England Championships, aka Wimbledon in June and July. WOW would we!

Change of Plans

Our original plan was to pick up our boat, “Sunshine Coast” in late May and take her across the Channel to France. Well, I was taking it across the Channel. Lea had heard all these horror stories of nautical mayhem on the English Channel, so her plan was to take the ferry and leave me to cruise “Sunshine Coast” across alone. I tried to tell her that people swim across the bloody channel all the time so how bad could it be, but once her mind is made up….

Our new plan is to pick up the boat as planned at the end of May and then take her up along the English coast and into the Thames to London for Wimbledon (anyone know of a good mooring), spend most 2017 in England and Scotland and then perhaps take her across to either Holland or France after the Military Tattoo.  But who knows what other opportunities will come our way between now and then?

Don’t be afraid of change, embrace it because it brings with it opportunities!