Friday 20th April 2018

On Retirement. 366/153.

On Retirement. 366/153.

I would have preferred to retire from my long career as a teacher, deputy principal and school principal in a traditional way and on my own terms. This was not to be. This is not a post for today.

However, I have struggled with the concept of being ‘retired’ since I left my other roles, including part-time class teaching, university tutoring and my own business as a consultant.

Why is this so?

I deduce that it is hard for many of us, and I am probably typical, to accept that we no longer have roles and responsibilities for which we were valued and known.

Before I go on, I am grateful to have stopped all paid employment as I was tired and getting over any concept of ‘answering to employers’ BUT…I still have days I where I question  the concept of ‘that’s it’ to justify what kind of life I lead now.

One of my searches has taken me down a somewhat spiritual path and this is good. Via Tara Brach, I read of this person, John O’Donohue, and of his works. He has since died but has left a legacy of wonderful words.

This, is from his book ‘To Bless The Space Between Us’…on Retirement.

For Retirement.

This is where your life has arrived,

After all the years of effort and toil;

Look back with graciousness and thanks

On all your great and quiet achievements.

You stand on the shore of new invitation

To open your life to what is left undone;

Let your heart enjoy a different rhythm

When drawn to the wonder of other horizons.

Have the courage for a new approach to time;

Allow it to slow until you find freedom

To draw alongside the mystery you hold

And befriend your own beauty of soul.

Now is the time to enjoy your heart’s desire,

To live the dreams you’ve waited for,

To awaken the depths beyond your work

And enter into your infinite source.


I feel very comforted reading these lines.

IMG_2398 (3)


I am ready to be retired. From paid work, but not from LIFE!!



Joining my friend Raychael who’s in her prime and getting a new business underway. Read her blog here. 




How Am I Going? 366/125.

How Am I Going? 366/125.

On Wednesdays the topic is “health and mindfulness”.

Today I am reporting to my readers about ‘how I am going’.

For me, changes in my life over the past two years, have been bigger and more challenging emotionally than I ever considered they might be.

With a practical, pragmatic and ‘get on with it’ attitude, once the decisions were made with my loving spouse, I thought things would work out. Indeed, I did foresee some issues but never as significant to my health (emotional mostly) as they proved to be.

So, one year on from one photo to another I am going to answer how I am going now…compared to how I was at the time. This is a most helpful thing for me to do as I do need to keep my current state of health in perspective.

THEN. April 2015.


April 2015. Admittedly I was not smiling as I was blown away from the Poppy Project and its messages.

  • I was 4 months into our ‘new life’ on the Central Coast and doing what I could to make sense of the final decision to settle in a new area as renters. I was not ‘happy’ to be renting but it is what it is.
  • I looked for activities (art) and distractions (meditation) from my sadness. Some worked for a while, others did not. Joining groups did not do much for me at the time.
  • I was surprised that this sadness increased over time. The fact that we had left the familiar (Sydney), our own home (sold),  the close and extended family and I had retired from most paid work was what I thought I had accepted.
  • I felt it hard to ‘let Sydney and what it held for me go’ and ‘accept where we were’. I tried to continue to have regular connections with Sydney and what that meant to me. Some weeks I travelled back and forth 3 times.
  • It turned out, over the next few months, that ‘Sydney’ had nothing much to entice me back there at all once I realised we had ‘moved on’. But it was a hard way to learn it. Again, I was sad. Grief took hold.
  • Luckily I began to see why I was like this, thanks to an excellent counsellor and GP and of course my ever patient husband.
  • I eventually got the fact that ‘feelings take a lot longer to catch up with the results of the ‘practical decision-making’ I thought I was fine about!
  • I became inward looking via anxiety and resultant bouts of irritable bowel diarrhoea which in turn added to the anxiety and stopped many an idea of what might be an enjoyable event – e.g. a small holiday, visiting Sydney and going out for meals.
  • However, I give myself kudos for ‘keeping on keeping on’.


NOW. April 2016.


April 2016. Smiling countenance at the Poppy Project at The Skillion.

  • We chose to move to a cheaper rental place in November last year as one of the factors in the stressors I was feeling was the place we lived in was too expensive, very uncomfortable and the community connection non-existent.
  • Happily for us, we found that the northern end of the Central Coast suits us more and the house (a home now that familiar to us from the sold Sydney house) is great.
  • A significant event occured around this time too when I decided to end all connections with my education work places, including my consultancy. From a career commenced in 1970 to now this was another reason to grieve.
  •  I still ‘struggle’ with aspects of remaining relevant! Who am I if I am not a teacher?
  • Nature continued to beckon in terms of photography, beach walks and I added growing flowers in pots to this mix. Nothing like having ‘something’ to grow.
  • The kitchen at this house is more conducive to cooking and making meals for the freezer and treats has been a good sign I am liking life again!
  • Meditation has been the one consistent event every single day. Yes. 10-15 minutes since end of March!
  • Learning more, much more about what it is to have some anxiety (I have not been diagnosed with anxiety nor depression) and sadness because of the significant effects of Life Transitions for me.
  • Reading more books, still can’t find a fiction one to satisfy, is great as is the range of newspapers I love. It is so good to have time for this!
  • Making sure I am well-nourished. I do find this hard some days as I mostly solo cook and eat because my hub has special food needs. But, looking after me shows I am caring well for me.
  • I’ve been increasing my knowledge of my reasons for anxiety and IBS and using Acceptance Commitment Therapy techniques via a number of sources including my counsellor and various authors who use this for clients.
  • This has meant a shift in my thinking and some movement towards letting my life move forward with whatever issues arise.
  • I remain a ‘wip’ a ‘work-in-progress.

That’s how I am going!

What about you?



Joining with Raychael, who I hope is feeling better,  over at AgentMysteryCase and with Grace on Friday for Flog Your Blog Friday here.





Making Progress Is Not Linear. 366/41.

Making Progress Is Not Linear. 366/41.

I’ve been making progress with my mental health, adjusting to my new (to me) life here on the coast and to the ‘newness’ of being fully retired.

There is no doubt that this has been a challenge for me.

My husband is most understanding of my changing moods which are usually short-lasting for the negative ones and getting much longer for the better ones.

This is what I call progress.

But then something occurs, or I just wake feeling somewhat anxious with no reason and it can be a difficult day spent worrying or actually getting overly stressed about having an episode of Irritable Bowel Syndrome’s diarrhoea.

That’s when I think “I am not improving”.

I also berate myself a bit and wonder why I just cannot get myself right and not go back to the older, anxious me.

Then, when I look through a lens that is not clouded with the views of the past, and I have better perspective I can see the improvements as I note them over time in a journal.

It just takes me some hours, or even a day to regain this confidence and perspective.

I now also acknowledge that grief is playing a part in the sometimes changed mood. I miss much from my past that is true. I do not regret that I have finished my paid working life, nor sold our home and moved…and I have to say, that on balance we are glad to be out of Sydney.

Of course I miss my family and ‘old way of life’. But that too is part of the past. The family is growing and changing and we, the 2 of us, are making our way in our new life together.

Just as I am unsure sometimes about the now and the future, I am also more than sure that everything will work out for us.

I just wish that progress was more linear instead of this up and down..down and up journey called LIFE.

Do you ever feel like this in some way?

Tell me more so I know I am not alone!



Joining with Raychael over here at WorthCasing Wednesday.


Settling In. 355/365.

Settling In. 355/365.

Three hundred and fifty three posts ago…..I wrote this.

Then about 50 days into the journey of US

….from Sydney and working life and family life…to the Central Coast, with no more work (by choice) and leaving those we love….I wrote this post

Regular readers, who do not all comment (I know, that’s cool too) will recall that I have found the moving and more very stressful on some days and it’s affected my general well-being for days at a time. It’s not been helped by some IBS at times which has complicated my goals to be independent and drive to Sydney and other places more….

Yes, I wrote about this from time to time too…here.

But today, 355 days into this year of blogging every day, and just about 3 weeks away from the anniversary of the physical move to the coast, I am starting to feel I am settling in.

How do I know?

It’s a feeling of greater physical connection to what we always thought we would like about the coast…the waterways, the temperate climate (not always) and the slower pace of life.

I am also becoming more at ease with the no-working, no easy family connection thing too. I have had to ‘adjust’ to what is my new (very!) normal.

So, I am settling in.

Have you made major life changes?

What were they?

How did you go?

Take care, everyone!

Denyse xx



You Know When It’s The Right Time. 233/365.

You Know When It’s The Right Time. 233/365.

The right time…for:


I’m joining Australian Cricket Captain Michael Clark in announcing my retirement…

Ok…I have put myself up there with one of the big guys in the news, yeah?

But it’s the same principle applied.

It is ‘better’ if you know when to stop work/finish up a role/ move on for yourself.

A decision made by others on your behalf doesn’t always sit well and it can be quite damaging over a long time.

This was what happened for me with my decision not to return to work as a principal in 2003.

It was due to ill-health brought on by the over-load of the role, and my employer gave me no option other than to resign or go back into the role or similar in another school. NO! said my treating health professionals.

No dignified exit, no farewell, no real thank you… because of government employment policies at the time and the superannuation I had…too long to re-tell…but I cite this as I know the difference between THAT…and


Finally, since winding down from my years as a classroom teacher (caring farewell at end of 2009) and then as a university tutor (lovely farewell at the end of 2014) I have said goodbye to working as an independent education consultant and received appreciation via words and flowers, and the similar kind words for my role within BOSTES as an external observer.

I felt valued.

I am ready to move on.

How about you?

Have you ever been ‘made to move on’ but you have not been ready?

Tell me your story!

Denyse xx

education icon

Year 5 Classroom where I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Balgowlah Hts PS.


Hard work and many rewards thanks to these.


Richmond PS…my office as principal 1999-2003 ..bottom right.

Time for joining Grace over here

With Some Grace

And for the rewind here over the weekend.
Weekend Rewind


Breaking Away. 2/365.

Breaking Away. 2/365.

Today we are on our way to our new rental place on the Coast. We don’t move in for a few days yet.

In our cars we have the boxes, the clothes, the memories in physical form of a life shared for 44 years.

Yep. married in January 1971.

When we decided to sell our house, it was initially borne out of helping me…to stop work!

In my mid 60s, I had found working two days a week at Uni, marking, supervising students in the practicum schools was quite a load considering the responsibilities I carried. In fairness, I am a very hard-working, policy oriented person (that’s why schools suited me I guess) and as a result at times I  found myself at odds with the ways in which I needed to work in a culture different to a school. It is quite hard to explain, but suffice to say whilst I loved the one to one relationships and some of the group interactions I was not ‘made for academic culture’… Yet it took some courage on my behalf to admit I wasn’t cut out for this after the 4 semesters and it was time to ‘retire.’

It took from late July until December for this to finally occur and it is something I will always look back on and be proud of the work I did and the way in which I connected with schools and the students from the University but it was time to go.

Breaking away from a life I’d known as a professional teacher (education K-6) and finally as principal has been hard.

What do I do with myself? Who am I if I can’t say ‘teacher?’

This is one lesson I am learning slowly and I am sure I won’t be able to really appreciate it until we have fully settled into a new environment.

The one role I will continue to have is with the Early Childhood Group, Kindalin, where I am their K-6 School Education Consultant and I assist the centres’ directors, room leaders and families. I will be interested to see how this role works when it will involve more travel. But I am looking forward to it.

Taking Life One Day at a’s a bit hard sometimes! 

How about you, have you had to ‘break away’ from the familiar to go to the unknown as I am? Tell me about it.

Denyse xx 

PS a photo from my ‘life working with kids and schools.’