A new world beckons after early retirement

Tracey Adams says now that she is ‘semi-retired’, she can live every day to the fullest as she previously could never have imagined the peace and joy she feels every day.

Tracey Adams says now that she is ‘semi-retired’, she can live every day to the fullest as she previously could never have imagined the peace and joy she feels every day.

Published Jul 2, 2024


Finally, I am five months into what I refer to as semi-retirement, even though I opted to take a voluntary retrenchment package after 26 years of service with a well-known media company.

Having said that, it is worth mentioning that even though I took up a voluntary retrenchment offer, it did not altogether alleviate the stress and tension associated with the process.

There were WhatsApp groups where the conversation sometimes became quite heated and emotional, with complaints about the union, the company and various other contributing factors. I was expelled from one of these groups, but that is a story for another day.

The other psychological effect that this tedious process had on me was that I lost the passion and interest in the work at hand, just daily flying under the radar while D-Day took its own sweet time to arrive.

This is a milestone I’ve been aiming for since my now adult daughter was knee-high to a grasshopper. Being a single parent employed in the media space made this a financially challenging time for me.

Back then I envisaged retiring and living out the balance of my life financially free.

However, when one is employed in the private sector this is often not the case. Careful planning is important and using one’s skills to acquire a side hustle to yield additional income is key to a happy and relaxed twilight journey.

We are conditioned to believe that “money is the root of all evil”. However, while financial freedom may not be the only thing I strive for, it certainly goes a long way to alleviate the stress associated with car instalments, bond repayments, rising interest rates and this climate of rapidly rising food prices.

The past few months have been a roller-coaster ride, punctuated by, among other things, navigating the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) application process and familiarising myself with investment and pension fund decisions and the overarching question of whether I have enough retirement funds to live in the lifestyle I envisaged at this stage of my life.

While I have gained a handle on the former, the latter remains a dubious matter which I no doubt will continue to navigate for the next few months.

Mainly, I am here to tell you that I could never have imagined the peace and joy I feel every day. There is no more dreading Mondays and wishing away the week because weekends are when I live my best life. It has been a delightful revelation that I can now live every day as if it were a weekend.

I am a photographer by trade, but this newfound freedom has led me to explore one of my other passions. Besides thoroughly enjoying walking my dogs at the beautiful Green Point Urban Park daily, what brings me the most pleasure these days is to potter around the house and “DIY” my living space to create the sanctuary my soul craves.

To that end, I recently started a second Instagram page ,“the little eclectic house project”.

The benefits are multifaceted. It provides me with a like-minded audience to engage with and share helpful tips as I tackle minor renovation projects in and around the home as well as creating content to bolster and promote my portfolio and skills.

Furthermore, I am developing my video and social media skills which I plan to use when I land the perfect “work from home” video editing job.

One of my concerns was that I would be bored at home, but my experience has been quite the opposite. I spend much of my time planning my projects, seeking advice, sourcing materials, and shooting and editing videos.

In addition, a friend who is a photography lecturer reached out to me to mentor a young photographer, which I do in the evenings as needed. The photographer recently moved to Windhoek to take up a position as a news photographer.

Engaging with her and observing her feedback has made me aware of the knowledge I have to impart and pay forward, which, quite frankly, I did not consciously know existed.

While I am sure the retirement journey will be different for everyone, I am guessing that like me, you too will be living your best life once, ironically, the bulk of your more productive and healthier years have passed you by.

* Tracey Adams.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

Do you have something on your mind; or want to comment on the big stories of the day? We would love to hear from you. Please send your letters to [email protected].

All letters to be considered for publication, must contain full names, addresses and contact details (not for publication)