Entertaining at Chartered House

Our Chartered clients often share the many ways in which they are keeping themselves mentally challenged, in keeping with the LEARN category of the Wheel of Balance.

From career related learning, to leisure activities such as Bridge and photography, to online courses and games, to creative activities, like painting or dancing. And then … there is the annual Chartered Quiz.

In September, we hosted a Spring quiz for our clients at Chartered House. Teams were named after famous international pubs, such as The Crown and Anchor. Who would have thought there would be a team called The One-eyed Rat?

The competition was fierce, with teams rushing to devise the correct answers to questions across eight categories, including “Current Affairs”, “What in the World?” and “Masters and their Masterpieces”.

The general knowledge of the Chartered clients and planners proved impressive, belying the quotation from the quiz category “Who said that?”: Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. (Do you know what famous physicist said that?)

Maritime team prevailed, and beaming team members received their prizes. David Wallington was the winner of the draw. Filled with a delectable meal and a sense of achievement, the 2018 Chartered Quiz teams concluded the evening with the promise to challenge their rivals again next year.


Wise Words from the Balance Wheel®

Through the eyes of a child

Retirementor, Colleen-Joy Page, reminds us that Play can help us find our Purpose.

If 20 people see a sunset, why can’t all 20 see its beauty? Is the sunset giving more beauty to only some?

Often, we don’t give ourselves permission to see life’s beauty or to free the natural playfulness within us. Sometimes we think life has taken joy from us, or that we can only have fun under certain conditions. But, remember the child within you: rediscover the joy of simple things: the feel of sunlight on your skin, the joy of dancing with abandon, or the night stars, as you lie on the cool grass and breathe in the awe of the cosmos.

Sometimes if we are willing to drop our expectations, and see with the innocent fresh curious eyes of a child, we can find fun and joy in any moment. Ask yourself: “What do I really feel like doing right now?”.

What answers would free you to play?

Don’t be a tourist to your own life; let beauty, joy and play be free within you to fill all the empty spaces.

Redefining Work makes it meaningful

Retirementor, Lynda Smith, coaches her clients to define their passion and talents.

She uses this diagram helps them to craft a new kind of work. “It is critical to experiment and plan – think of all roles your portfolio life might include: consulting, volunteering, Board member, mentoring, a whole new enterprise, collaborating,“ Lynda says.

Lynda’s approach has three steps:

1. Create your Individual Vision List of goals to achieve, dreams to fulfil, experiences to have. Prioritise the 10 most important ideas on your list.
2. Share your list with your spouse or partner: listen to each other; appreciate what the other wants
3. Create a shared vision based on both lists. Figure out a flexible timeline.

Learning to love dance … together

Our clients, Brian and Ronelle Baker, were surprised that their second foray into learning to dance was so different to their first. Now they are having fun, keeping fit, learning and growing their relationship at the same time.

You can find their story by clicking here. Why not try a new area of learning and fun for yourself?

Creating healthy habits can change your life

Our wellness Retirementor, Joni Peddie, reminds us how essential daily health habits are to maintain physical flexibility.

Feeling tense and depleted at the end of a day doesn’t have to be the norm. Try stretching (in a subtle or deliberate way) every hour – it’s a great way to release stress and ground yourself. Stretching relaxes your muscles and increases blood flow throughout your body.

Stretch while you are lying in bed, in the shower, even in the car – simple neck turns and arm stretches will do the trick.  When reaching for something on a top shelf, take a breath, move slowly and hold the stretch for 20 seconds. (www.resilientenergycenter.com)

Giving Back … to the world!

Retirementor, Jeunesse Park, blogs about ways in which we can give back, especially to create a legacy for the next generation in preserving our planet, and protecting the dignity of every person.

She says: “I have never considered myself wealthy but feel blessed and grateful to have enough to eat daily. Yet, I live with an innate sense of the injustice and inequality of our society, driving me to devote most of my working life to the non-profit sector, focusing on uplifting lives through greening and food.”

Following the Chokka Trail in Knysna

Lindajane and Trevor Thomson, Chartered clients living in Knysna, recently did the Chokka Trail.   It was an opportunity to taste our export quality calamari (chokka means calamari) and to enjoy the beautiful surrounds from Knysna to Cape St Francis.

According to Lindajane and Trevor, the South African chokka, which is imported overseas and which we don’t even get to taste, is absolutely delicious!  “After tasting it, you won’t eat the calamari we are served in South Africa, which evidentially comes from the Falklands,” say the Thomsons.

The Trail was also an amazing experience, with interesting walks along the coastline. The most challenging day was 17km on sand – very tough!

All in all, this was a unique and satisfying experience: gastronomically, aesthetically and in keeping physically and emotionally healthy.

Could this be your next adventure?

Do you have the courage to learn new things?

I have noticed an interesting phenomenon, having helped business leaders prepare for the future of work for the past 17 years: when they are faced with having to learn something new, some of them don’t have the courage to do so.

It’s as simple as that. They don’t admit to themselves, let alone anybody else, that they don’t know something. And a basic requirement of learning anything is acknowledging that you don’t already know it. After all, if you kid yourself that you know everything, why should you have to learn something you already know?

As I gently help them come to terms with the fact that there are things they don’t know, I remind them of what the late John Wooden, UCLA Head Basketball Coach, once said: “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

This is one of the reasons why we battle with change. After all, our knowledge is what got us to where we are, so it must surely be good enough to get us to where we still want to go.

There’s no question that we acquire a significant amount of knowledge, wisdom and understanding over the decades, and we must acknowledge this. The point is, if we don’t have the courage to admit to ourselves that the knowledge we have acquired has become outdated, insufficient, no longer relevant, we will never change – because we’re not prepared to acknowledge that there must be something we still have to learn. And so, because there is no true learning, there is no change. American author and speaker, Professor Leo Buscaglia, put it this way: “Change comes as a result of all true learning.”

That’s right. The knowledge you require for the next 10 years is not the same knowledge you will require for the decade after that. Have the courage to admit to yourself that what you know now is not what you need to know in the future. That doesn’t mean you simply discard all you’ve ever learnt in favour of the so-called fad of the month. It means you accept that you will always have to keep learning, no matter what. The path of lifelong earning has no final destination. If you want to prosper in the future, it might be worth adopting the advice of Mahatma Gandhi, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

See your learning like this: treat everything you learn as the foundation for all new knowledge you learn along the road of life. In other words, the knowledge you acquire along the road of life simply serves as the base – the foundation – on which you build all other learning. And while you’re alive, you keep building and building your knowledge.

We all need to learn different things, and at different stages of our lives. The important thing, though, is that you never stop learning. Leaders who try to make it on knowledge they learned 10 years ago end up embarrassing themselves and disappointing those they lead.

It takes courage to admit that your knowledge is outdated, that you no longer “know it all” in your field. But then, “it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts!”

Have you engaged in a MOOC yet?

I am not swearing at you. This is a word that many, especially the younger generation, know well. We know it in a different format.

The world we grew up in was linear. You were born, educated, employed, retired and died.

Today with all the changes we experience daily, mainly due to technology and the web, we live in a multi-stage world where lifelong learning becomes a reality for all of us, old and young.

Here is a definition of the term from Wikipedia.

A massive open online course (MOOC /muːk/) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs).

MOOCs are a recent and widely researched development in distance education which was first introduced in 2006 and later emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012.

I will share three different tools where you can access these courses.

Coursera:  www.coursera.org

Coursera envisions a world where anyone, anywhere, can transform their life by accessing the world’s best learning experience.

Every course on Coursera is taught by top instructors from the world’s best universities and educational institutions. Courses include recorded video lectures, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums. When you complete a course, you’ll receive a sharable electronic Course Certificate.

Udemy:  www.udemy.com

Udemy’s maxim is: we’re improving lives through learning

Millions of students and instructors participate in the world’s largest online learning marketplace.

Udemy is a global marketplace for learning and teaching online where students are mastering new skills and achieving their goals by learning from an extensive library of over 55,000 courses taught by expert instructors.

edX: www.edx.org

edX’s goal is to increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere; to enhance teaching and learning on campus and online; to advance teaching and learning through research.

My experience

Last week I bought my first course through Udemy. They were having a sale and I bought a course on how to design, produce and market online courses. This is something I have wanted to do and now can learn, practise and experiment.

I shared this sale on Udemy with my Facebook network and many bought courses from the diverse bundle. Here are some of the courses bought: cooking, writing, photography, data analytics, social media marketing, graphic design, life coaching, drawing, mastering architecture, real estate photography. The sky is the limit.

This kind of learning allows us to change the way we think, engage and learn. It is a wonderful way for the younger generation to learn and with those of us closer to retirement, it opens the possibility to learn new skills and dig deeper into hobbies and things we are interested in.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?  You may be ready to be MOOCed.


Rearrange the six groups of scrambled letters to form words, then decide where each word fits in the square grid (up or down).  One letter has been given to help get you started.

Answers to the Word Set Game and the Rebus below:

Rebus: the cricketing side: West Indies







Answers to this Solve-a-Square can be accessed in The Retiremeant Tip sent Friday 28 July. Click here to access the answers.

Live and Learn

I met Dori Mintzer in Boston in 2014, when I went over to the USA. I had read the book that she and Roberta Taylor had written. The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle is a guide for couples as they navigate retirement together and after reading it, I wanted to meet its author.

I love the impact Dori has made in both the retirement and relationship spaces and I include her principles in the work I do in life-planning meetings with my clients. Underpinning so much of what defines Dori’s contribution is the importance of couples having courageous conversations with each other. In fact, her book’s subtitle is exactly that: “Ten must-have conversations for transitioning to the second half of life”.

In the work that I do, a life-planning meeting is often one of the first times couples tackle some of the serious issues they’ve been too afraid to talk about. A life-planning session can often be the very first time that they have a “must-have” talk.

Those crucial conversations – sometimes decades in the waiting – require courage. And they are hardly ever easy. But what I’ve seen over the years is that those conversations, which sometimes even involve confrontation, generally result in connection.

Right: Dori and i sharing our passion for all things Retirement.

One plus one equals three
I’ve been thinking about what happens behind the scenes of this invisible equation. How does a conversation end up equalling closeness and connection? I think it’s because somewhere, somehow, something profound happens. Between the discomfort and the connection, there is learning.

Learning is the multiplier effect, the fabulous formula that takes a couple from talking to feeling a sense of togetherness. Learning has everything to do with coming across something – or even someone – we didn’t know before.

Have you ever discovered something about your partner at a dinner party, something that you didn’t know before? Someone else asked your wife a question and her answer teaches you something new? When we see something through new eyes, even if it’s a situation or scenario that isn’t of our choosing, we open ourselves to learning. And learning can happen without us even realising it.

Have you ever been retrenched from a job, worked through the humiliation, the having to make ends meet, the needing to change tack mid-career because your situation demanded that of you – and then then ended up thinking that it was the best thing that ever happened to you? Or had a health scare that forced you and your partner to rethink your lifestyle, so much so that you live a better life now than the one you lived before and wouldn’t have it any other way? We have to be open to change, to learning how to do different things – or at the very least, to doing the same thing differently – because not only is that how we survive. It’s how we live.

My challenge to you is simple: don’t be closed to conversation. Discomfort sounds, well, uncomfortable. That’s because it is. But there’s a lot of truth in the adage: “No pain, no gain.” What if you chose to welcome such a conversation? What if it’s just one courageous conversation that stands between you and something magical?

Dori and her husband visited South Africa for the first time a couple of weeks ago and they came to dinner at my home. We didn’t just share dinner though. We shared wine; we shared stories. Dori was travelling with her husband, David – now in his eighties. Together, they opened themselves to exploring Africa. They talk, they travel – and they laugh and learn together. Their learning is their living. Let’s aim for the same.

Click here to access this months Inflight Newsletter in which Kathy Lithgow for sharing her journey of learning with us, thank you Kathy. We love to share stories from our clients.

Best wishes

Kathy puts her learning to practical use

After retiring to Plettenburg Bay with her husband, former SAA pilot Stewart, Kathy Lithgow found that she needed to fill her time with something interesting, mentally challenging and potentially useful to others.

Kathy explains, “In order to gain a better insight into myself and what I should focus on, I completed a short on-line assessment called StrengthsFinder.  This psychometric assessment tool enables people to uncover their top five talents.  In my case, ‘Thinking’ came out first, followed by ‘Learning’.  This was not surprising as I had always enjoyed the learning process and saw no reason for this to diminish just because I was retired.”

Kathy also wanted to marry this learning process with an element of service, so she enrolled for a counselling course via correspondence through the South African Theological College, an accredited institution with varied courses on offer.  “This course taught practical psychology linked to a scriptural foundation.  I qualified with a Higher Certificate in Christian Counselling,” she says.

The door was now open for Kathy to start serving as a counsellor.  “Under the auspices of the Plett Evangelical Fellowship, our home church, I now receive referrals from all over.  I have a small office at home where I see people.  There is no payment involved as it is effectively a part of the church ministry.  I act as a support for people with a variety of needs and problems.  I see myself as a kind of useful friend.”

An important aspect of Kathy’s work, for her, is to continue learning.  “Learning was the starting point for this process and it continues to be a cornerstone now.  In my niche area of expertise, Christian counselling, there is so much that I don’t know.  And because there is a wealth of information out there, plus I am challenged by the variety of situations that my clients present to me, I am always learning and growing.

“Stewart and I count our blessing daily,” she says.  “I have plenty of time to spend with my clients and also to learn and become more skilled at what I do.  It is now my passion –to facilitate change in people’s lives, in a small way.”

Legendary American industrialist Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  In her little office in Plett, Kathy Lithgow, on a continuous cycle of counselling, learning, becoming more skilful and counselling some more, is living proof of those words.

Travelling with the U3A

Chartered client, Lise Day, has discovered the delights of travelling with the University of the Third Age, and shares the highlights of her trips with us.

travelling-with-the-u3a-1-lise-day-retire-successfullyI have always been quite disparaging about people on buses and organised tours. I thought it far more adventurous to go it alone and make my own arrangements.  I did not want to be bound by a strict itinerary or have anyone else decide when and where and for how long my experiences should be. But as we get older several factors come into play – the main one is the problem of luggage.

On a recent trip to Norway I discovered that the wheels on my expensive new suitcase did not do well on cobbles! Added to this was the fact that the street that my sister said airily was ‘a stone’s throw from the station’ was being dug up for new tram lines and no longer existed as a street. It was 30 degrees in Oslo, which was also unexpected.

I eventually arrived at the hotel dripping with sweat and exhaustion only to find that it was one of those automated places which required a series of passwords to open the doors – which of course I did not have. Eventually some other kind traveller let me in, then the lift wouldn’t work I did not realise I had to swipe a card to get it to go up or down.

So, that is the second factor influencing travel – keeping up with technology. Thirdly, as I get older, I find I worry more about being on time to catch planes and trains; I have to beg my children to take me to the airport hours ahead to-namibia-on-the-desert-train-u3a-retire-successfullyof time so that my tummy does not get in a knot.

To Namibia on the Desert Train

I tentatively signed up with the Cape Town branch of the U3A for a trip to Namibia on the ‘Desert Train’.

All I had to do was be at the airport, with my passport at the right time. We were given name labels which we wore all the time – so no stress about remembering the names of new friends. Far from the old fuddy-duddies which I had feared our group of thirty consisted of interesting, active, retired people.

Another thing that troubles me about getting older is that people don’t really talk to you any more, or consider that you might have an opinion worth sharing. I find this especially when I go to events at the grandchildren’s schools.

lise-day-and-u3a-2On this trip we were of an age and conversations over meals were always stimulating. We boarded the train at Windhoek station and it became our travelling hotel for the next ten days. Any ideas we had about fast efficient train travel as in Europe were soon dispelled. The train trundled along, slowing for potholes and wonky rails at a slow scenery-viewing pace. It used to be the president’s train but I think he gave it up as being too slow.
We stopped in a game reserve, and there were the jeeps waiting for us. I signed up for a boat trip around Walvis Bay where the pelicans flew alongside us and there were fresh oysters and champagne. We explored the pretty town of Swakopmund. A trip into the ‘living desert’ with an expert showed us chameleons and sidewinder snakes that we would never have found by ourselves.

Meals on and off the train were delicious. We drank beer in the biggest pub in Africa. When the air conditioning on lise-day-ua3-learningthe train broke down, it wasn’t my problem. Nothing was my problem … it was all very relaxing and stimulating, and affordable.

In the footsteps of the Trappists

I so enjoyed the Namibian trip that a few months later I signed up for a trip to the Trappist Monastries in the foot hills of the Drakensberg. This trip treads in the footsteps of the Trappist monk Father Francis Pfanner and his missions. The Trappist order had four primary vows: chastity, poverty, silence, stability. The latter meant that a Trappist monk vows to spend every night under a consecrated roof – so to extend the reach of his ministry centred at Marianhill, Francis Pfanner built 28 missions within a day’s donkey ride of each other. Some of these no longer exist, but we visited six.

travelling-with-the-u3a-4-lise-day-retire-successfully-pngThe tour was not linked to any religious doctrine, but is in appreciation of a rich cultural heritage.  These beautiful buildings with their majestic churches and well-designed and still functioning farm buildings, formed the basis for our monastery tour.

At these peaceful remote missions, we shared the grass-roots experiences of the 19th century monks who lived, worked and worshipped there. We were pleased to see that despite the fact that the monasteries themselves are less inhabited by monks and nuns, the schools associated with them are active and support the education of hundreds of rural children.

We stayed in a beautiful guest house called King’s Grant near Ixopo and visited the monasteries by bus. Our tour guide Nicky was incredibly knowledgeable and we learnt so much about this fascinating and little known story. On the last day we transferred to four wheel drive vehicles for a rollicking ride up the Sani Pass to lunch in the highest u3a-retire-successfullypub in Africa – where the wind nearly blew us away.

Now I am totally converted to travelling with the U3A. I love the fact that there is a purpose other than relaxation to these holiday trips. It is great to learn something new- even if we do not remember it for very long!

*The U3A is a worldwide organisation for retired people. It works on the principle of sharing knowledge and u3aexperiences. There are innumerable courses, you could learn something new every day if you so wished, at little or no cost, R40 annually to join.

* The trip to Namibia was led by Derek Rule R12, 200 including flights.

*The trip to Natal was led by Doug Gardner R8, 595 including flights.

Self-improvement always in style

Alec Hogg, Biznews Editor, recently cited the books that South African CEOs are reading. This follows McKinsey’s study which includes two local CEOs among the 17 global CEOs mentioned in the report. His point? That for true leaders, self-improvement is always in style.
wob-learnChartered regularly promotes the notion of ongoing learning, so that our clients take up the most important leadership role … that of directing their own lives and living holistically, happily and healthily. In support of this aim, Chartered regularly updates it stock of library books at Chartered House. Our repository of worthwhile books is arranged around the Wheel of Balance categories – Work, Give Back, Relationships, Money, Learn, Health, Purpose, Play.
Some books deal specifically with the transition into retirement and the years following it, and others are particularly focused on coping with life’s challenges such as grief, being single and reinventing yourself.
The Chartered library has seen a recent influx in new titles, and we invite every Chartered client to take advantage of the opportunity to benefit from these acquisitions. If you are further afield, perhaps take note of any titles that may interest you.

what-colour-is-your-parachute-retire-successfully-learnWhat Colour is your Parachute? for retirement by John Nelson and Richard Bolles is designed for the retiree who wants to ensure he or she lives a fulfilled life … by planning for it and considering alternative career options. This book is filled with practical ideas and exercises to help you build your ideal retirement.
How Not to Murder Your Grumpy by Carole Wyer how-not-to-murder-your-grumpy-retire-successfully-learn
Written tongue-in-cheek, this book proves that getting older doesn’t mean the end of life or having fun. It provides amusing answers to the question, ‘How on Earth will my husband fill in his time in his retirement?’ It offers suggestions on what might, or most certainly might not, amuse him. Ideal for those approaching retirement and frustrated women who have an irritable male on their hands, this book will lighten any mood and may even prevent the odd murder.

this-chair-rocks-a-manifesto-against-ageism-retire-successfully-learnThis Chair Rocks: a Manifesto against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite. From childhood we’re barraged by messages that it’s sad to be old, wrinkles are embarrassing, and old people useless. Lively, funny, and deeply researched, This Chair Rocks debunks myths about late life, explains the roots of ageism in history and in our own age denial. It examines how ageist stereotypes cripple the way our brains and bodies function, looks at ageism in the workplace and bedroom, exposes the cost of the all-American myth of independence, critiques the portrayal of olders as burdens to society, and describes what an all-age-friendly world looks like.

Maya on Money by Maya Fisher-Frenchmaya-on-money-retire-successfully-learn
This book offers practical advice on how to implement a money plan, drawn questions that people of all walks of life have asked Maya over many years. She uses these real-life examples to provide indispensable information on:

  • Budgeting
  • protecting your money
  • preparing for major life events
  • saving
  • spending, and
  • transacting wisely.
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