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Retirement Rebel: One woman, one motorhome, one great big adventure

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Mental Health Nurse John-Barry Waldron is our guest on this week's Reach Out PodcastJohn-Barry works in a secure hospital, supporting people experiencing mental illness and helping them return home to their communities.He's also capturing the stories of staff and patients through the On The Ward Podcast which you can also get wherever you get your podcasts.Also in the conversation - We discuss access to mental health services, and how stigma still bring issues for patients and their families. Say yes to opportunities. You’ll regret the things you did not do much more than the things you do. Rather than hiding from life's challenges, she bought a motorhome and drove off to find them. Retirement Rebel is Siobhan's honest and uplifting story of how one woman stepped off the merry-go-round of life, slowed down and started enjoying the journey. For Cutter, punk was all about “peace and anarchy and doing what you want as long as it isn’t about harming people”. It was also about sexual freedom. Cutter is bisexual, and the scene was a sanctuary in the 80s.

But from her late 40s onwards, challenges – both personal and professional – began to emerge and Siobhan grew disillusioned. “As I was approaching 50, my daughter went off to university,” says Siobhan. “I’d been a single mum for years, and I started bragging to everyone that it was going to be ‘party time’! But it wasn’t that at all – I was quite miserable.” I followed these steps and now, in my mid-sixties, I can honestly say that I live with more purpose and passion than I thought possible. So, whether you are close to retirement age, or a while off, take time to think about how you plan to live in later life, because, as Cicero said, “Old age is the crown of life, our play’s last act.” But above all, Siobhan’s experiences on the road have taught her new life lessons – and reminded her of some of the older ones. “I do miss catching up with friends, but I don’t get lonely,” she says. “I’ve learned to live in the moment again – taking time to listen to the birds and watch the clouds. That’s something we all do when we’re young, but I hadn’t done it for 40 years.” An unconventional retirement wasn’t always on the cards for Siobhan. After working as a nurse for 9 years, in the 1980s she decided to retrain as a journalist after hearing an advert for a trainee reporters’ scheme run by the BBC. This opportunity led to a successful career as a reporter, presenter and producer on various programmes across regional BBC radio and TV.A must read message of hope for those suffering with, or affected by, the pain of addiction. - Chris

We can rewire our minds by envisioning. This uses our visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic senses, so as to create a new software program in our minds to replace the old one, and thereby impressing on our minds our new future, our new purpose, our new life. Expand your horizons by manifesting your future now Maff has also worked front line and ran the largest homeless services in the country for The Salvation Army as well as being CEO of award winning organization “People Can” which used asset based methods across homelessness, criminal justice, domestic violence and addiction services.Reformed criminal and drug addict Steve was so kind and generous to share his story and if anything spoken about on this episode resonates with your situation, please speak to a friend, colleague, your GP, Reach Out For Mental Health, Samaritans, MIND, Calm, SOBS or just google suicidal feelings How do your thoughts on retirement differ from most people – in other words, what makes you a retirement rebel?

There were a lot of laughs over Zoom. I have known the six people on the call since we were all teenagers. There is something special about meeting up with old friends. The key, Siobhan insists, is to face ageing with a positive attitude. “I’m not saying to be as crazy as me and get rid of all your possessions and your home. But think outside the box and try to age in a way where you’re living, not just existing,” Siobhan advises. “A couple of women I know have made pacts with their daughters to go on an adventure together twice a year, and I thought that was a great idea to bring generations together.” Maff and his colleagues set up Camerados in 2015 to work with and support people who the existing system have failed. With a global reach from the UK to the USA, Camerados is working in locations as diverse as colleges, prisons, hospitals, libraries, football stadia.I don’t really know anyone my age who thinks that they will be able to fully retire any time soon,” Cutter says. Having spent her youth in squats across west London, Cutter and some of her old punk friends often talk about returning to communal living. “It’s not for everyone as you have to be flexible and sociable and God knows loads of us get fixed in our ways as we age,” she laughs. But living an uptight, ever-decreasing later life is everything Cutter wants to avoid. Lots of women I’ve spoken to have said that they’d love to do what I’m doing, but that they’re too scared,” says Siobhan. “But I was scared too! Don’t be afraid to ask for help – there will be a tribe of people out there who are feeling the same way.” It’s about an attitude, thinking for yourself and not accepting authority’: Frank Cutter. Photograph: Perou/The Observer Definitely not retired. I stepped down from my job as an actuary this year after 30 years. I loved that role, but life is short and I wanted to take on some other challenges before the opportunity to do that slipped away. I literally could not put this book down - it should be read in homes, schools, prisons, rehab facilities, everywhere. - Jonathan Mantle, bestselling writer.

I don’t think the punk generation thought we would live to 30, let alone 60,” he says. “But those who made it are doing interesting things, working as filmmakers and photographers and musicians and artists. It’s bloody brilliant to see.” I can clearly remember the moment I realised that retirement wasn’t something that I ‘had to do’. It was liberating to say the least!Using my own experiences, and my research, I created the D.A.R.E. Method, which is the basis of my 8-module online program Dare to Discover Your Purpose . The method was my way of helping people to do what I had done: find out that there is a new path you can take, however close you are to retirement age – and even if you’ve reached it already. Camarados puts people in charge of their own solutions through Mutual Aid – helping people who are not necessarily friends to self-organise to support each other through tough times. The main focus right now for the movement is to see communities set up Public Living rooms – a place to go on a tough day or when you’re lonely to help others and get connection and purpose. If you’re looking for a deep intensive read with overly detailed instructions on what to do to make your retirement life work this book probably isn’t for you. But if you need a light read that can nudge you in the right direction to finding YOUR path, the one that you design around what lights your fire than grab a copy and enjoy a what feels more like a chat with a good friend. The granny shift is a tender point for the over-60s with a yearning to self-actualise through travel, says Anne Hardy, a sociologist who studies later-life “snowbirds” (sun-seeking van and motorhome nomads). “Women who choose this lifestyle are often judged harshly by their own children and by society,” she says. “They are construed as being somehow selfish for leaving their grandchildren.”

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