“With the end of World War II in 1945 Australia’s servicemen and women returned and family life resumed after an interruption of almost six years of wartime conflict. Nine months later saw the start of a population revolution as childbirth rates soared – more than four million Australians were born between 1946-1961.” (Ref http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/baby-boomers)
Most of us Baby Boomers grew up with parents who survived the Great Depression and taught us to “Waste not, Want not”, “Think of the Starving Children in Africa” etc. No one thought the world owed them a living, you got out of life what you were prepared to put into it. No instant gratification for us.
When we got our first pay packet (It was actual money in a small square packet) the mantra was, 30% for your accommodation, save 30% and spend 30%. If you couldn’t pay for it you didn’t buy it. Most of us bought small homes without the luxuries of ensuites and Family Rooms.
Baby Boomers have been a boon to the housing sector and caused industry to expand as the need for consumer goods grew. Whatever age we finished school, some as young as 14, it was expected that we’d go to work. No one had a “gap year” or spent time on the dole. When we entered the workforce we all paid taxes, some of those taxes funded the pension scheme, which allowed people over 65 to collect a pension if they hadn’t saved too much during their working life. Taxes, levies, service fees etc have increased in number and amount and Baby Boomers have paid them.
Women had to resign when they became pregnant and mothers were paid a small amount (50c – $1.50 per week per child) of “Child Endowment”. No-one was paid any Maternity Allowance, Parental Leave or Childcare rebates let alone paid $3000 just to have a child.
Now that we are reaching an age when medical problems are affecting many of us, “Baby Boomers” are becoming the apparent cause of all Government financial problems. We are a drain on the government coffers. Well, I think the powers that be can just pay us all the new bonuses, give us back the money we’ve paid into the Pension fund since we’re now expected to be self funded retirees and we’ll use that money to pay for our new hips and knees!
When the day comes that your working life is over, maybe through illness, accident or apparent decrepitude brought on by reaching a certain age, it can give you quite a jolt. Even though I anticipated it with pleasure the realisation that I was now a non-worker so no longer ever going to earn money again was quite confronting. I also wondered how I’d feel when all my colleagues returned to work after the holiday break, usually I was ready to start another working year by then. What actually happened was that I was swamped by an overwhelming feeling of relief. No more meetings. No more pointless meetings which seemed to continue simply because they were part of the calendar. No more following inane policies which inevitably resulted in hours of extra T&D sessions, no more hours and angst invested in implementing the policy which would eventually be supplanted by another policy to show that we were innovative, progressive and not afraid of change.
Absolute relief. I could do what I chose to do! The first thing I chose to do was stay in bed an hour later ……….. on the cold winter mornings which inevitably arrived I snuggled under the covers for even longer! Workers ask what I do all day and it’s hard to explain but I am busy all day. I don’t watch much TV and I never switch it on during the day, it doesn’t interest me. If I discover a really good book I have to prise myself away from it or I will read to the end in one sitting but I actually prefer to be outside and doing things.
I would love to be able to capture images I see on canvas but I’ve always been disappointed when I’ve tried so I take the easy way out and use a camera instead. Photography also allows me to see detail in tiny creatures, details I can never normally see eg did you know flies blow bubbles? I find that fascinating. Helping things grow, placing objects for interest and wildlife shelter and observing creatures that move into the new environment is another interest and just being out walking recharges my batteries. Inevitably boring stuff like housework interferes with my enjoyment but I always manage to keep that at an absolute minimum. I have made lists of things I need/want to do but so far haven’t got around to those yet. Many people seem to see travel as filling their retirement but after a few weeks I’m always happy to come home to my bed, my shower, my garden and my space.
People always advocate volunteering for retirees but I’m not ready to do that yet, I’m just relishing the luxury of choosing what to do in my time and being able to decide on the spur of the moment. I love it!