Retirement Rebels: Daryl Chapman

by | Mar 1, 2021

Retirement Rebels: Daryl Chapman on why experience is under-valued

Welcome back to our monthly ‘Retirement Rebel’ interview series. This month I talk to Daryl Chapman, who is working alongside his daughter to drive a multi-million pound candle business. 

Retirement Rebel Daryl ChapmanDaryl, 60, believes that experience is being wasted all over the country. As the co-director of Ava May Aromas he has helped his daughter go from kitchen table to a 10,000sq ft unit and from one person to a team of almost 30 in just two years. The business, and working alongside his daughter, has helped give him a new lease of life in his sixties: but it’s the combination of youth AND experience which is the secret to its success. You can find out more about Daryl’s company on Facebook or Instagram

I’m really looking forward to sharing Daryl’’s inspiring thoughts with you. In the meantime, if you’re a rebel too, 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?

Not at all, I’ve only just turned 60. I owned and ran a chain of gyms for 16 years until I was 58. I like to think that I am in relatively good health both physically and mentally and I still have plenty of energy.

When I was 40, I underwent a life threatening operation and was told that I might not wake up from it. During recovery, I read an American magazine article which asked people what was the biggest regret in their life. The most common answer was ‘doing a job I hated all my life.’ That was me and within a year, I’d given up my old job, started my gyms which I really enjoyed and had a totally different outlook on life. I’ve now found a new lease of life as I will mention further on.

Retirement Rebel Daryl Chapman with daughter HannahHow do your thoughts on retirement differ from most people – in other words, what makes you a retirement rebel?

I’m sure that the old way of thinking was we retire around our mid 60s and move over to the slow lane. And I don’t doubt that if you hate your job, that’s an excellent prospect. However, I don’t see age as a reason to slow down and stop. I know it’s an old cliché but age really is just a number. You’re as old as you feel and I really do not feel old. Working and being creative and feeling needed gives us a purpose in life. If we don’t have that, then what is there? 

The over 50s are so easily written off from a work perspective yet we have so much to offer. We are like fine wines, we mature with age and have a lot more body. Overlook us at your cost.

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

I started a scented wax company (Ava May Aromas) with my eldest daughter two and a half years ago. We already employ 24 staff and have a very successful online business. I am loving what I do so I don’t see it as work. Don’t get me wrong, what my daughter and I are building is taking a lot of energy, thought and commitment but I feel blessed as we are on a very exciting journey together.

Monday to Friday are normal work days and Saturday is often a work day for me. I get up at 6.30 and get to work for 7.45. I work till 4.30pm and then go home for a bit of telly and relaxing. That said, I can’t wait for lockdown to finish and get back to the gym and outdoor activities in my spare time.

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

I guess there are a few that stand out if I can have more than one. Firstly, both my daughters went to university and got good grades. Their graduation days were very proud moments for me. My youngest is now working for the NHS as an Occupational Therapist. She’s been thrown in at the deep end due to COVID and is doing a fantastic job along with all her health service colleagues.

And then there’s starting Ava May Aromas with my eldest daughter and creating something amazing. I’m really proud of both my girls and of the business we have created.

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

My favourite channel is Instagram. I have a page which is only open to family and friends. I like to repost humorous quotes. After all, everybody enjoys a good laugh. But I’m also very aware that there is a negative side to social media. What I don’t like is the Big Brother element so I try to keep a low profile on it.

 Do you have a favourite quote that inspires you?

‘Life is short, smile while you still have teeth.’ I see this as a euphemism meaning enjoy life to the full whilst you still have the physical and mental capacity to do so. If we are blessed with good health, it would be criminal to waste it.

Life is short

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

There is no ‘one thing.’ Mine would be a huge list. However, 18 year old me probably wouldn’t have listened. Surely the whole point of life is to experience both the good and the bad and to use these experiences to become better individuals.

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

Probably the last time was at a friends party. We were playing games with a humorous theme. Alcohol, great friends and letting your hair down is a fabulous mix. Otherwise I really enjoy watching ‘Sorry I haven’t a clue’ and ‘Not going out’ on telly. Lee Mack appears in both and I find him hilarious.

 Do you have any regrets?

Pondering on regrets just leaves me feeling sick and negative. Of course we all make mistakes but the key point is learning from them. Just like our successes, they shape and mould both our characters and our futures. I much prefer to live in the present and focus on the future.

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

I’m sure my body will gradually start to slow down but I can’t ever see myself retiring fully unless for health reasons. I remember growing up in the 60’s and 70’s when a lot of men would retire at 65 and join God’s waiting room. A couple of years later and they were sitting on clouds playing harps. I think sudden retirement must be like travelling at 70 miles an hour and then hitting a brick wall. A gradual slow down seems far more logical to me.

What do I wish to be remembered for? When God comes knocking on my door, I want Him to tell me that I have lived a good and decent life, that I have made a real positive contribution to the world and that I have lived a selfless life. If God feels that, I’d like to think those who I leave behind will feel the same.

George Jerjian
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