Retirement is a phase of life that many look forward to and embrace as an opportunity to do all the things they’ve dreamt about but have been too busy to do; however some people dread the idea as they don’t know what they want to do; they fear they will have little money to fund their lifestyle, become bored and useless and eventually suffer from ill health.

At the beginning it is natural to have mixed emotions about this new venture you are embarking on. The first week for me was strange; for twenty two years the Dinner Dates office had occupied the top floor of my house and it was a hive of activity with my colleagues bustling around and the phone constantly ringing. Every day dramas abounded along with peals of laughter and the impossible was frequently achieved. Suddenly the office was quiet and bare; all the computers, telephones, printers, copiers, desks, chairs and people had gone and the cat and I wandered around feeling lost! I had the feeling that at any minute I would get an urgent call from the new office in Ealing asking for my help; however no calls came. I felt I should do something useful so I decided to clear up the mess and start shredding all my old paper work, bank statements, accounts and receipts dating back to 1989. Very soon my husband had to buy me an industrial shredder and we still haven’t finished!

We started to celebrate with lunches and dinners with friends and it was luxury to enjoy lie-ins. I decided to get super fit; I enjoyed bike rides with my husband and threw myself into classes at the gym which I had always wanted to try – Pilates, yoga, aerobics and Zumba have all been great fun. After the first week, the stress and feelings that I should be doing something began to melt away and realisation that I didn’t in fact have to do anything dawned upon me. I found myself smiling at everyone, taking time to talk to people and euphoria set in.

In this euphoric stage it would be easy to think that now I had all the time in the world to go on shopping sprees I should do so. However it’s important to look carefully at your financial situation at this stage and to meet with a financial adviser to see how much money you have available to spend in future. It’s impossible to make plans without this knowledge.

I find it amusing that everyone keeps asking me what I am going to do; they are convinced I must be bored already and desperate to start a new business. I’ve always been a busy person multi tasking numerous projects at once and it seems incomprehensible to everyone that I’m not missing all the stress and excitement. Well I’m very happy with my situation at present making travel plans and spending more time with friends and family. When one door closes, another opens up and as Mr Micawber would say ‘something will turn up’!

Retirement is an exciting new stage in life and there are different goals to be achieved. Now is the time to fulfill yourself and not to worry about other people’s expectations. The world is full of exciting opportunities; travel, education, hobbies and sports, cultural and purely enjoyable entertainments. The world is your oyster.

Many years ago whilst watching the television, I was inspired by a lady celebrating her 99th birthday who when asked why she was starting a computer course replied ‘one must always strive to improve oneself!’