What about YOU?

It’s been said that I’m full of good ideas about what others might do to support their retirement and the transition from the TOIL of work to the TOYL – the Time Of Your Life. But what about you (me) ?

Well let me share an experience and how I got there. One of the most precious benefits of retiring is having more time. Many of us will take a while to settle in and take time enjoying not having to ‘do’ but to ‘be’ instead for a while. How we use time is key I believe and having ‘closed in’ for a few years I have become more ‘opened out’ and can now see and follow up opportunities that I would otherwise have missed. Now having teenage daughters I see the downsides of social media but there is an upside too. Our local NextDoor App (Every area will have access to this site in the UK but other similar Apps/Websites are available EVERYWHERE!) had a simple post along the lines of “Who would be interested in joining a Man Shed – Making and Mending Together?” (You could do that – or post something about YOUR passion/purpose!) There was quite a response and a meeting was organised in a local church hall which I attended. A large number of people turned up from all walks of life and different ages and over time a core group of mainly retirees of both genders got together and long story short found accommodation, refurbished an old garage arranged electricity and an embryonic ‘Shed’ Sheddington was off the ground. It usually takes only one person to lead and show some passion and enthusiasm and others will follow. Build it and they will come! I not altogether sure who said that originally maybe the inspiration behind Stonehenge or the Colleseum but pretty close to William Kinsella in his book Shoeless Joe on which the movie Field of Dreams was based. Now Sheddington has a foothold and is a ‘thing’ rather than a dream. It is open to anyone who might want to be involved and takes inspiration from the Mens Shed movement which started in Australia as something to engage men who might need mental health support. The original strap-line of The Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) being ‘Men don’t talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder’ and a shed is a great space to bring ones broken appliance as a possible ‘calling card’ for something deeper be it loneliness or mental health issues. But getting involved in ANY project can tick off many of the keys to happiness for YOU too! There are 10 keys to happier living!!

Although I have a large garden and a mother who is still a keen gardener  have never gardened. As a child I offered to help for pocket money and ‘weeded’ the garden – pulling up all my mother’s seedlings! From then on I’ve been somewhat loathe to get involved. However, since family and friends have gone on about it for years I though I’d investigate. Not being one to read a manual and somewhat reticent to just get stuck in and try it I didn’t quite know what to do as I’d never seen gardening for beginners classes advertised. Then there it was – the universe spoke to me – or was it I was just spending more time on social media? On NextDoor gardening was being offered locally and within weeks I was in the ‘intermediate’ group, not through grit and determination or great study but because they were willing to let me join as I couldn’t make the other days.

So, guess what happened next? I mentioned at a Sheddington Meeting – well before there was any prospect of a patch of earth – that I had joined a gardening group and lo and behold I was tasked with being the lead for the Sheddington Garden/Allotment project! From zero to hero(ic) leap of faith by them!

The site of the garage we were offered by St Marks Church Teddington has significant grounds and as like many churches little ready cash or access to the huge wealth held on high. Long story short we were offered the opportunity to ‘cultivate’ a patch adjacent to the shed. God Only Knows what had been there previously but it was and still partially is an overgrown dumping ground with all sorts of trash and detritus – organic but mostly otherwise. (That was the ‘unconsecrated’ area – hopefully consecrated ground when exposed, rotavated and sieved will prove to have been better looked after – again GOK!)

So where are we now – October 2019 – well with the great effort we have rotavated, sifted and even planted a small area – Here’s the first plant being planted!

So why this and why may it be of interest to you? Well, I suspect many of you will have no interest in gardening and likely you’ll not have read this far so will have missed my main message (I think I’ll put something at the top of the page to get you!) which is this – There is SO much out there that there is little or no excuse to be bored. If your ‘thing’ isn’t out there then make it happen – if you have a passion then likely others will share this too. No longer do we have to ‘suffer’ not knowing there is a soul-mate living nearby – Social media for all its faults can bring us together and not only help us live our passion but also open up our horizons well beyond our expectations! “I’m a gardener – who’d a thunk it!” – Mortimer Snerd.

Q1. Are you wanting to be something bigger than yourself? 

Q2. Do you have a passion you can share?

Q3. What would it take to set up a group (that’s 3 or more people!) to do more of your passion together? (…or find a new passion?) 

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