Retirement Rebels: Ceri Wheeldon

by | Jun 12, 2020

I’m very excited to introduce my next Retirement Rebel to you. She’s the latest in my series of interviews with trailblazing individuals, who champion positive ageing, I’ve met on my Retirement Rebellion journey. And like Sigrid and Shayne from my previous blogs, she is certainly not following the crowd.

My ‘rebels’ all answer the same quick-fire questions, and we’re getting some compelling responses. Have a look back at my other interviews and read about how people have found a life of purpose at retirement age: something that I can help you do too.

Positive ageing champion Ceri Wheeldon answers my Retirement Rebel quick fire questionsThis month we welcome Ceri Wheeldon, founder of Fab After Fifty, a website for women over 50. She also founder of the The Midlife MOT programme. If you’re a rebel like Ceri, and you’d like to be part of this series yourself, email me at [email protected].

Do you consider yourself retired – and if not, why not?

I do not consider myself to be retired at all – in fact I don’t think I will ever retire! I love to keep striving for something, setting new challenges. I appreciate you can achieve this through pursuing other interests and hobbies, but I like to have a business focus. I often describe myself as the Champion of the Older Worker – so I am walking the walk and talking the talk!!

I had a Saturday job when I was fifteen years old – and worked through the school holidays – so working is my ‘normal’. I am lucky that what I do currently I am able to do from anywhere. I just need a laptop and internet connection.

In normal (non-pandemic) times I meet an incredible variety of people and am invited to interesting events and am frequently asked to conduct travel reviews through my Fab after Fifty activity, and am asked to give talks as a result of my MidLife MOT courses and workshops.

How do your thoughts on retirement differ from most people? In other words, what makes you a retirement rebel?

I like to think of this stage of life as an opportunity to reinvent your career, drawing on skills and experience acquired in previous decades while continuing to learn new skills.

One in seven women turning 50 could potentially live to be 100! If we look at the traditional retirement age of 60 for women (which I appreciate has increased in recent years), that could result in more years spent in retirement than working.

I don’t want to slow down – I feel I have still not met my full potential – and it’s not too late to do so!!

Do you have a typical day? What does it look like?

I really don’t have a typical day – other than starting by checking emails! I might be attending events, conducting interviews, compiling video reviews. I try to make time for a daily walk – and on a home-based day pop out to meet a friend for coffee.

What’s been your proudest moment since you turned 50?

I think for me it was when I was stopped by a complete stranger in the street, who asked if I was the ‘lady with the website’. Apparently, she followed the website and social media channels and thanked me for taking away her fear of ageing.

Do you have a favourite quote that inspires you?

“There is a Fountain of Youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age” Sophia Loren

What’s your favourite social media channel, and what was the last thing you posted on it?

I don’t really have a favourite. When I first launched the Fab after Fifty website nearly 11 years ago I only had to engage on Twitter – now of course there are many others.

I find Facebook the easiest (and it is where I have my largest community. My last post was a quote about creating diamonds out of spare moments – which many of us have more of during lockdown!

If you could tell your 18-year-old self one thing, what would it be?

Have a better balance when it comes to work and personal life – you don’t have to push yourself on a daily basis!

When did you last belly-laugh – and what was it about?

It was being told when going to a drinks party to avoid the dog – which was rather large – as it got nervous and didn’t like people. The dog had other ideas when it came to me. He followed me, placing his head on my shoulder and gazing into my eyes! I do not have the same effect on men!

Do you have any regrets?

I ignored my gut instinct and married the wrong man!

What are your aspirations for retirement – and above all, what do you wish to be remembered for?

I want to make a difference when it comes to addressing ageism in the workforce and society. There have been changes in the last decade – but there is a lot more work to do! I would love to see age not being a factor when it comes to being employed over 50.

George Jerjian
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