Retirement Rebels: Rosemary Bointon
Recently, I’ve been meeting some amazing people from the over-50s blogging community and having some inspiring conversations on social media. That’s how I discovered Rosemary Bointon, who tweets as Superaging Adventure and blogs as Long Life Fun Life.
With names like this I knew she would be perfect for my ‘Retirement Rebels’ series – interviews with trailblazing individuals I’ve met on my Retirement Rebellion journey.
Rosemary is a writer, blogger and proofreader, and her blog explores ‘what we can do now to live longer, in better health with more fun and adventures’. I highly recommend it, especially as like me, she is a firm believer in having a positive mindset.
I’m really looking forward to sharing her answers with you. In the meantime, if you’re a rebel like Rosemary, and you’d like to be part of this series yourself, email me at [email protected]. And don’t forget to check out Rosemary’s blog too.
Do you consider yourself retired – and if not, why not?
I do consider myself retired, because I no longer work in an office as I used to – but that doesn’t mean that I am inactive. I still work hard!
How do your thoughts on retirement differ from most people – in other words, what makes you a retirement rebel?
I am happy to live in different types of places, e.g. on a boat and in different countries. Since I’ve retired, I’ve lived in 3 different countries and altogether I’ve lived in 13 countries as well as visiting many others.
Do you have a typical day? What does it look like?
The days have become far more typical recently as we haven’t gone out much because we’ve been in lockdown.
Typically, a day includes a walk, maybe running errands such as to the post office or doing shopping, cooking meals, learning Portuguese, working on my writing course and on blogging, exercise (online yoga 3 times a week), talking to one or other of the family and friends, helping friends with legal problems such as terms and conditions for their blog or the tax issues of moving countries.
I try to do a bit of social media each day because I’m keen to build a community of older people who want to make the most of life as they age as I do. Previously, travel figured rather large in a typical day, although that is still not possible. I love exploring different cultures.
What’s been your proudest moment since you turned 50?
My proudest moment was skippering my own boat across the Atlantic in 2008. It felt such a huge achievement.
Do you have a favourite quote that inspires you?
I frequently inspire myself to get on with things by saying “Do it now”. But my favourite quote is from C.S.Lewis: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” I frequently use the hashtag – #NeverTooOld.
What’s your favourite social media channel, and what was the last thing you posted on it?
I like Twitter best, provided I avoid all the political posts.
Last thing I posted was a retweet and comment on the Agile Ageing Alliance’s post about the financial effects of COVID on retirement. The last thing I tweeted that was my own content, was to do with how to sleep better and defeat Ghrelin the Gremlin who makes you hungry in the middle of the night.
If you could tell your 18 year old self one thing, what would it be?
Build a picture of your dream life and take steps towards it every day. They don’t have to be large ones, but at least one small step per day so that, in the end, you’ll reach your dream.
When did you last belly-laugh, and what was it about?
Last weekend, my son was visiting Aosta in Italy. He took a photo of two troll-like figures and sent it to his sister and myself on Whatsapp, saying cryptically: “it reminds me of you”. We then indulged in a flurry of tart and silly replies, commenting on and comparing looks. We were drawing on a long-standing family joke about resemblances to the ugly-wuglies and who was more beautiful than whom. It made me really laugh! I had to lie down and hold my stomach. This affectionate family joke has been running since my children were about 9 and 11. (The Ugly-Wuglies feature in a classic children’s book by E Nesbit, called The Enchanted Castle)
Do you have any regrets?
Yes, many years ago I had a boyfriend who was killed in a car accident. He died of brain injuries. He and I had long discussions about donating organs after our death and we had both signed kidney donor cards. He was on life support for a while and if somebody had mentioned it to me, I could have told them that he had agreed to donate organs. I truly regret that I didn’t remember until it was too late; that is on the day after they had turned off the support and he had died.
What are your aspirations for retirement – how would you like to see the way the world thinks about life over 50 change?
I want to help older people to look at all the aspects of their lives, to investigate what will help to make us live longer whilst having more fun and adventures along the way. As George so rightly points out, a big element of that is about finding purpose and passion that sustains a better, more fulfilling and joyful life. I’m working hard at it!
As for change, I would like to see the breakdown of the stereotypes of older people. So many of us have many years of active life left – we are not just a burden, we contribute to the economy and to our culture. There may be laws against ageism, but it needs a more fundamental cultural change to dig out the entrenched ageism. And older people need to play their part and provide counter-examples. Long live the Retirement Rebels!