What do you do now that you’re…….

It’s coming up to 5 years since that awful time when I lost my way

I was made redundant from my rewarding, but challenging job, as the manager of Education programs in a Men’s Minimum Security Correctional Centre, back in December 2016 – the official finish date was 23/12/2016 and I had just turned 56 years old. How was that for a great combined Christmas and birthday present? I hate combined birthday and Christmas presents by the way!

My official job title was Senior Correctional Education Officer (SCEO). I was important, valued, strong, feisty, brave, determined, decisive, bold, confident and a force to be reckoned with at times.

I was also scared sometimes; I managed a wonderful team of teachers in an unusual environment; I felt included but also an outsider; I worked in a ‘boy’s club’ of misogyny where gaslighting was the norm (lets not go there), and yet it was a rewarding and important part of my working life. I am, to this day, immensely proud of what we did as a team.

Although I have spouted the old adage, It’s your job that was made redundant not you, multiple times over the years, and offered it as advice to others, it’s still the same awful feeling of not being ‘enough’.

You have been thrown out on the scrap heap, you aren’t wanted anymore, you are past your use-by date, they can manage more effectively and cheaply without you (it usually comes down to costs as to why redundancies happen) and life goes on without you in that workplace. You may be missed for a few minutes but move on, nothing more to see here!

Me – on being made redundant

Bitter and twisted!!??

As I said it’s coming up to 5 years ago, next month, and apart from a few posts written where I mention my redundancy and subsequent retirement, I haven’t dwelt on it too much in my blog – to me it’s same old same old, so why keep mentioning it when I can share more of what I am doing these days, like having fun and enjoying my happily retired status??

Leading up to the time it was happening I wrote a lot about it, how I felt, how we fought to stay valid and valued, how we took industrial action, how I was interviewed on TV and in print about the impact of losing our important jobs in an area that needed us more than ever, and how I ended up making myself sick with the worry and angst.

letters on yellow tiles forming the end text

of a 22 year career but also the beginning of something new!

Some posts I’ve written about redundancy

On being made redundant was written in November 2016, explaining the situation and how I was resolving to ‘move on’.

I wrote a very popular post shortly after finishing my job, Surprisingly there is a Life after Retirement which covered all the newfound freedom I now had – the honeymoon phase!

I wrote a guest post for my friend Donna’s Retirement Reflections in December 2017, reflecting on my first year of retirement.

In April 2020 I wrote a guest post for my friend Leanne’s Cresting the Hill which included my redundancy.

I’ve talked about it on Sue’s Women Living Well After 50 blog and podcasts and mentioned it in comments and in various posts throughout the years.

But this is the first time in a while I’ve actually addressed the subject on its own.

Quote about life
Quote about life

What do you do now that you’re RETIRED?

This question has been posed to me a bit lately, and some might take offence at such a personal question being asked, but to be honest I really don’t mind.

In fact it has given me pause to reflect on ‘what do I do these days’?

As I was out cycling the other day I was mulling over this thought – riding my bike more often is one answer!

And don’t I look happy about it??

happy snap along the rail trail
happy snap along the rail trail

So what do I do these days?

  • I ride my ebike a lot on our rail trail and wherever we travel to, we take our bikes with us.
  • I read – a lot! I am in 2 bookclubs, one a local group of lovely ladies which meets monthly and one a small online group. I love discussing books and learning from others. I’m more confident reviewing books and as a result I’m now a co-host with my online bookclub buddies, with our a regular ‘What’s on Your Bookshelf’ challenge, which goes live on the third Friday of each month.
  • I volunteer with Rotary. Our latest project are the 2 trioBikes we’ve purchased for the community where we take elderly, frail, disabled, basically anyone unable to ride a bike, for a ride in the trike along the local rail trail. I’m classed as a support rider, ensuring the passengers are comfortable and well-looked after. I also take photos for them to remember their time out in the fresh air, seeing new sights and reminiscing about their time catching the train or riding a bike. This week I’ve done over 60kms as a support rider and I love it!
  • I blog – maybe not as much as before but I still enjoy writing, sharing thoughts, photos and participating in challenges and linkups. I love the connections!
  • I walk most days and try to stay fit with an online exercise class with friends twice a week.
  • I socialise with friends, I visit my mother who has moved to a nearby town.
  • I help out when I can with baby-sitting two of my grandchildren but as they live a 3 hour drive away, and lockdowns have impacted on us, it’s not very often. The other grandchildren are much further afield but we’re always in touch, thanks to technology.
Breakfast out for wedding anniversary
Breakfast out with these 2 cutie-pies
  • I still only do the essential housework and shop when necessary – life’s too short!
  • I laugh, I smile and I have time to think. I’m happy with where I’m at now.
  • I actually get out into the garden these days and help weed and plant, instead of watching on!
  • I’m never ever bored!
  • I’m part of a wonderful group of women who meet online most weeks for a chat and a catch-up, it’s so lovely to have friends!
  • I sit in my sunroom and reflect on how lucky I am to be in this position!
adding a little sunshine
adding a little sunshine

In summary – I read, I blog, I ride my bike, I chat to people – and I enjoy my life!

The numbers

Let’s look at some of the numbers and events from over the past 5 years (from 2016) – remember I am married to the Mathematician so numbers are important!

  • 3 deaths – sadly my father, my father-in-law and my mother-in-law
  • 4 births – my gorgeous grandchildren arrived in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • 1 wedding – a destination wedding in Fiji for my youngest daughter and new son-in-law
  • 4 major birthdays – I turned 60 last year, my youngest daughter turned 30 the same year as my mother turned 80, and my husband turned 60 in 2017.
  • 1 major wedding anniversary – we celebrated 40 years of being married in January 2020 – and yes I was a child bride 🙂
  • 1 major move – my mother relocated from one end of the state to living nearer to us, now she’s only a 45minute drive away rather than a 13 hour drive! A huge thing to do at her age!

Other events:

  • Amazing trips all over the world visiting family and friends – New Zealand x2, England, Scotland, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, France.
  • Travelled to some fabulous places within Australia – including South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, ACT
  • Bushfires during the summer of 2019/2020 when we were with our daughter in England
  • The opening of our long awaited Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail in 2020 (it only took 18 years) – we have been very much involved over the past few years and continue today.
  • Then we had the arrival of Covid in early 2020 and subsequent lockdowns throughout the next 18 month or so

Life is good

So as I approach the 5 year anniversary of being made redundant, it’s been interesting to reflect on what has happened, the good and the bad! I’ve not missed my workplace, apart from my colleagues, and I don’t miss having deadlines.

As I’m generally an optimist, it’s mainly been good and that makes me smile 🙂

MOJO Day 11 memory quote
memory quote

The past 5 years have zoomed by so I’m joining Denyse for her weekly linkup #lifethisweek with the prompt of zoom.

Thanks for joining me, staying with me and encouraging me along the way! You’re all wonderful friends 🙂

Deb x

Retirement 5 yrs on
Retirement 5 yrs on

Joining Natalie for #weekendcoffeeshare

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57 Replies to “What do you do now that you’re…….”

  1. It’s happened to us…not redundant exactly but the company my husband worked for was unexpectedly sold and, of course, top management was made redundant I guess. It was quite an adjustment for him. After half heartedly doing some consulting gigs, he elected to just retire rather than to start another career so late in life.

    I’ve actually embraced retirement! I didn’t realize how much stress I was living with as a teacher! Noe I read and blog like it’s my job! Nice reflection Debbie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s not nice at the time Carol but I wouldn’t have my life any other way now!! I’m all for embracing retirement too. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by to read my post 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Deb – it’s funny how something can feel like the end of the world, but actually turn out to mark the beginning of a new and exciting phase of life. It’s been 2.5 years for me and I just love retirement, like you, I’ve never ever been bored and I love living every day on my own terms doing stuff I enjoy – no stress, no responsibilities, lots of flexibility, lots of healthy choices. I couldn’t be happier and I have no desire to be living the life I had a few years ago. You seem to be in a great place now too – so it all works out in the end doesn’t it? x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t it funny Leanne? I’m glad I have compiled this list and I can see how much happier I am today than i was 5 years ago. It does all seem to work out in the end but at the time it’s pretty stressful isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by and for being a part of my ‘journey’.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We are the same age, as we both celebrated our 60th in 2020, and we also celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary last year 😊. You have been very productive in your retirement and do what makes you happy. My husband accepted a redundancy package just over 2 years ago at the age of 60, but he had been working in Sydney, away from home for almost 2 years. The project ended and the choice was going to Melbourne or Adelaide for the next project, and not home to Perth. At our age we were unhappy of that sort of life, so he came home on the expectation a new railway project was starting within 6 months. Sadly nothing happened, and I could feel he had lost his identity as he just couldn’t get a job after hundreds of applications. He took on a job as a n uber driver to keep him busy, and then out of the blue he was offered a job, 2 years after he took redundancy. If the same had happened to me, I like you, have so many other hobbies to keep me busy it wouldn’t affect me as it affected him as he has no hobbies. Keep enjoying life Debbie 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sami, for sharing your story and isn’t it lovely that we have so much in common? IU’m so glad things worked out for your husband after so long out of the blue like that. I’m not sure what I’d do if that had been me, but probably as you say, with so much going on I probably couldn’t fit it in!


  4. How about make those of us huddled against a sharp November wind in drab south London feel jealous of your sunny trail!!? And how about how your sunny boldness making those around you happy to see you’re happy? Don’t underestimate your power to lift up others by lifting yourself up.. that’s a definite achievement of retirement…
    But the warm sun… grrrrr

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Whenever I get asked the question, ‘what do you do now that you’re retired?’ I always answer, ‘still enjoying life, only now with more free time to do it.’ Taking early retirement was something I saw as a gift I was given by life itself, Debbie.

    And it’s great to read all that you have done and what you’ve yet to do. Life is all about living no matter your age and which part of it you’re currently living. Sure, it can throw us curveballs from time to time, but that’s all part of what life is about.

    Keep on doing, keep on loving, keep on having fun and keep on enjoying life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great answer Hugh, and I’m so happy that taking early retirement has worked out so well for you. It sure is a gift!
      I’m aiming to keep on this path for as long as I can Hugh :). Thanks so much for your lovely comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I found it very interesting to read your thoughts and feelings about redundancy and retirement. I’ve been through both but not at the same time! When I was made redundant in 2008 (my organisation was relocating and I had the option of moving or accepting redundancy) I decided to take the plunge and go freelance as a public sector consultant. It was the best decision I could have made. It gave me more control over my working hours and locations, introduced me to some wonderful partners who have become good friends, and led to me doing some very satisfying work 🙂 It also allowed me to slow down gradually rather than retiring abruptly. I only finally stopped altogether last spring, as Covid hit – I decided I didn’t want to battle through all the restrictions.

    As to what I do, I blog (my new retirement hobby), take more photos than I used to have time for, try to walk every day and do an aqua class twice a week, go to exhibitions and films in London with my husband, volunteer with the charity he co-founded (we pair up businesses who have surplus food with charities and other organisations that can make good use of it), and will, when it becomes easier again, travel more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sarah, for sharing your experiences of redundancy and retirement. I’m glad you have found it working out for you and love your list of what you do – we are very similar! I’m so looking forward to travelling again, first trip will be to the UK to see my daughter and granddaughter 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Debbie, Your blog shows me that you’re doing very well and enjoying life with your family and friends, both IRL and online. Personally I think early retirement is the best gig 🙂 Keep on having fun and enjoying life. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Looks like ‘you are doing well and stepping into new life. Yes we sold our business a year ago . Sometimes I start doing other things. Travel is high on my list and I volunteer to help homeless people . I am Following you and I love that I found your site,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for following along and joining in with your comment on my post. I can’t wait to travel again too. Good on you for volunteering too, it is something I really enjoy having time to do now. Happy days!


  9. Redundancies are not great and yet, it sounds like you’ve made the most of yours. I can imagine at the time it would have felt awful. I look at how full your life is and I think it’s good reminder we are not our jobs/professions but rather, what we do. Wishing you many more fulfilling and content years, Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes although it started out badly I agree I’ve made the most of it and continue to do so! Thanks Sanch, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing as it seems to agree with me!


    1. Thanks Janis, when I actually sat down to write about it, I realised that I haven’t really slowed down much and actually do quite a lot! The difference is I now do it on my timeframe and no-one else’s, which is a lovely freedom to have. I also only do things I tend to enjoy, which makes life a lot more fun :). You also seem to have a great balance and what a good decision to make to retire early – I’m so glad you’ve never looked back. Love the connections we make 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Deb, I would say this is the best post you have written. Honest, yet not dwelling on the negative but actually listing all the positives in your life. Yes, bad things happen, we have to leave our jobs for one reason or another (I left mine because I was being bullied and the management did nothing), you were made redundant, others had a toxic work environment. What I love is that you have addressed your redundancy but not dwelt on it. You’ve got on with life and living and you are such an inspiration to so many. Thanks for writing this post and most of all thanks for dwelling on the positives of being retired and enjoying life – life is way too short! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Sue, that is such a lovely comment to lave me and I can’t thank you enough. I was very proud of writing down my thoughts and it’s something that’s been brewing in my head for quite some time. I do try to look at things honestly and hope I have covered things in such a way that others can see that although it was hard at the time, it’s fine now. I’ve learnt a lot over the years and being positive and trying to enjoy my life is a huge lesson, otherwise I’m just miserable and make others miserable too. You’re right, life’s too short! Thanks again my lovely friend.


  11. You have a wonderful life Debbie, and it’s good to stay positive. Sometimes it’s hard to count your blessings but once you do it’s hard to be negative! If you have good friends that counts for so much. I have a large group of friends but that’s not always been the case, so count myself very lucky.
    I admire your fitness regime but lack your motivation 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am fortunate Ali, with how things have worked out but it’s not always been easy I can assure you! You probably know that though 🙂 My motivation waxes and wanes but I’m involved in a small group a few times a week at the moment and it keeps me engaged. Thanks for your visit!


  12. This is an excellent post, Debbie – and you sound like me – not enough hours in the day, and I am never, ever bored! I bet you wonder how you fitted going to work in at all now, don’t you?!

    The answer to those who ask in a scathing way what you actually DO when you’re retired is this: What, you mean the only thing you can think of doing is to go to work??? Or the more polite version: all the things I never had time for when I’m working. 😀

    I haven’t been out to work since I was 50, 12 years ago. This has been the best part of my life, for sure! I hope yours continues to be so, too xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Terry, I was thrilled to have you comment on my post. It was written from the heart and I tried to reflect honestly. I love your answers to that question 🙂 I’m so pleased you too are enjoying this time of life and being bored is an alien feeling!


  13. What a good post. I think redundacy is a topic that needs to be talked about more becuase it really has an enourmous impact, when logically it shouldn’t. I’ve watched a number of people really struggle and it’s so hard to help them properly. You can say the words but it doesn’t really sink in.
    As for your travels, I didn’t know you went to Iceland – did you blog on it? pics?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for your kind words Lydia. I found it hard to process all the emotions at the time but now with time to reflect, I’m doing OK!! I actually hated people telling me there’s always a silver lining, and when one door closes another opens – in fact I felt like smacking them when it was said to me at the time, but they are true, after the fact!

      Yes of course I blogged about our trip to Iceland 🙂 Here’s a wrap-up post you might enjoy!


  14. I loved reading this Deb. You’ve shown how What seems like the end of the world can actually be a life changing positive. You wouldn’t have time to go back to work, even if you wanted to. When I go to work on my one day each week, my colleagues ask my this question. They can’t believe that I would have anything to do other than watch movies all day with a blanket over my knees.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you Jen! No I wouldn’t be able to fit work in nowadays and I’m lucky enough to be financially secure not to have to bother with that world anymore. Some I know aren’t so fortunate. I can’t imagine you sitting at home watching movies with a rug over your knees everyday!


  15. Hi Debbie, I haven’t been able to read much the last several weeks, life, vacation, and other things, so I am glad I got to read this post. Congratulations on five years of not being redundant, but engaging, productive, reflective, bold and so much more. I wasn’t made redundant, but struggled with the need to retire, so I only did it partly. Now I have announced my retirement from pastoring a church the end of June. Three and a half years ago, I couldn’t imagine my life differently, but after almost two years of blogging and connecting with you and other bloggers, I have found that I can embrace a different life. Thank you! Blessings, Michele

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michele, it’s been so good to have you with me over this time and I always appreciate your insightful comments. I’m so pleased you have made the decision to retire at a time that suits you and you have been encouraged by me and others along the way! Thanks too for your congrats – I like the way you say I’ve been engaging, productive, reflective, bold…I am glad it comes across like that because that’s exactly how I’m feeling!!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This was such an inspiring post. I recalled when I was 25 years old, I was let go from a job. At that moment, it was the worst day of my life. But over the course of my unemployment, I took the time to reflect, volunteer, network, and do gig work
    (i.e. deliveries, catering, etc.). It was a very productive time. I considered a new career path, which was quite scary. I knew the current career path I was on was not giving me joy. I did get a new job in the new career path after a month being unemployed. I recalled when I got the offer, I kind of wished I took a longer career break but I had to take the job. I was 25 years, I really needed the money to pay the bills.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Julie, for reading and commenting on my post. And also for sharing your experiences – 25 is very young to be made redundant but I’m glad things have worked out for you.


  17. Hi Deb.

    There was a stretch of my life between 2000 and 2006 that I became redundant 3 times and the last one took me 18 months, yes, 18 to find a new landing spot. I was too young and not nearly wealthy enough to retire at the time and those 18 months were nerve wrecking. Now, having put another 14 years of work and savings away, we are much closer to retirement and it looks like it will work out in the next few years.

    Our story is different than yours, but these are always going to be events that make you sit still and think and wonder and get anxious about. Being redundant at one time did not ruin me, it just caused changes and that’s how I chose to regard it. Thanks for the reminder and chance to see it again, but with your wisdom as a great filter to help me see it clearer.

    BTW: if you are a Sci-Fi fan at all, consider yourself invited to spend an hour with my new story, ‘Defending Canopy Station’,

    I spent my weekend finishing it and it’s a David v Goliath, space battle, speed of light based nerd fest.

    Defending Canopy Station

    Have a great week

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gary, it’s always interesting to see how others cope with similar situations and we can learn so much from each other. You sound like you’ve had quite the experience with redundancies, many thanks for sharing. I like the way I can now look back and reflect on my time and it’s a great way of being aware of all I have going on in my life these days.
      I’ll also try to pop over and read your story 🙂


  18. I totally love your answer to the question of “what do you do now that you are retired?”. I am multiply-disabled and haven’t had what’s considered an “acceptable” answer to the question “so what do you do during the day?” since dropping out of university at age 21. However, I love how you twist the answer by clarifying that you volunteer, read, blog, garden, etc. and most importantly, never get bored! #LifeThisWeek

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Deb, I loved this post. I loved the quote towards the end and even your thoughts on being redundant because I feel like we’ve all felt that way. I remember when, after being home for 17 years raising kids, I needed to go back to work. I kept thinking “who is going to hire me, what do I know how to do.” I also remember when I was looking for work after getting married (before kids), and I was working at a chiropratic clinic (which I’d done before getting married), and then after 2 weeks the doctor let me go saying it wasn’t working out. I felt so insecure to find another job. Or when a blogger I did VA work for said she felt like we were no longer a good fit. I was so sad. Started questioning myself, when maybe it wasn’t all or even any of “me”. Thank you for sharing. I’m going to take time to read your old posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much Kirstin, I loved reading your comments and thanks also for sharing your experiences. I’m glad my words resonated with you in some way and you could relate to my words. I really was being honest and reflecting on how I have coped in the years since. Take care.


  20. I admit I read your post earlier in the week and have come back now to comment. I think the loss of your work and your identity at work is a grief only another person who has experienced similar might know to be 100% understanding. I do, even though mine was for a different reason. I took around 10 years to be feeling ‘better’ at sharing what happened to me as a school principal who burned out and to own up to it. Time is indeed a healer but we need to always acknowledge the tough times take their toll. Yes you have done many good things since and your family life blossoms..but this happened to YOU….

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, I am sharing my self care stories for the last time in 2021. Where DID that year go?
    Hope to see you then too, on or off prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your understanding Denyse. You are right it is only something others who have experienced it can truly understand. It helps me to write these things and reflecting is always a good thing to do. I’m sorry it took so long for you to feel better about sharing your thoughts on your experiences but so much has happened to us both, since then hasn’t it?? I put a lot of myself into this post so I’m glad it’s been so well received.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Deb here’s to you both enjoying more cycling around your wonderful cycleways. Life is about filling up the hours with activities we love and some we need to do; some get paid, and others do not; we still work in some form or another. Retirement is a very blurry line.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Fabulous post. I’ve been made redundant twice – once in 1999 after 12 years with Westpac and again in 2011 after 12 years with Unisys. On the first occasion, I had a job lined up and on the 2nd I’d decided to try my hand at freelance writing (but lasted 6 months before going back to work for the same person who’d retrenched me). On neither occasion was I blind-sided & the retrenchment on both occasions was my choice. Even so I still, after no. 2, grappled with the identity thing and life without a title.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences too Jo, my feelings have eased over the 5 years but I’m glad I spent some time reflecting on what’s gone on in those intervening years :). Puts things into perspective somehow.

      Liked by 1 person

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