I have known Phil for well over half my lifetime, from student days and throughout his career. Phil and Sarah have decided ‘pivot’ – I’d not say retire – but redirect their lives from medicine to the arts and hopefully a life less stressed by the rigours of their jobs.
Phil is a superb wildlife photographer and Sarah-Jane an exceedingly proficient artist. They exhibit together and have a love for the outdoors and wildlife.
For them it seems ‘retiring’ from the job is not the end but a new beginning or rather that they are giving themselves time and space to do more of what they love doing and creating. What’s not to like about that? He was always the wise owl!
Here is my ‘road to retirement’. Firstly of course, it was not mine but ours – Sarah and I planned the journey together.
We always talk about work/life balance but maybe we don’t actually really think about what it means. Working occupies a large chunk of time (and those of my generation will recall just how much time that was in the junior doctor days). That time is the work but also the reflection about what has gone well or otherwise; work can be all consuming.
Work is also very rewarding; not so much financially (of course it is) but in terms of feeling fulfilled. It is that feeling that outweighs the ‘lost opportunities’ of being at work and not doing something else.
A lot has been said about the pension changes and taxes and undoubtedly that has contributed to the declining satisfaction from work as indeed, has a lack of support/engagement from my health board to progress the services I wanted to progress.
I (and Sarah) have many other activities that we want to do and enjoy whilst we have good health.
The waning arc of work fulfilment was crossed by the desire to redirect our lives.
We have rebalanced our lives, earlier than I would have predicted even three of four years ago but the time is right for us.
The Phlog section is my photographic version of a blog and is occasionally updated with a short account of a recent photograph though my Facebook page tends to be more active these days so check that too.
I have added a new gallery of “fun stuff”. This explains the logos on my greeting cards and business cards and how to use them to get a slideshow of more of my work.
I have an active Facebook page so again please feel free to visit there and see some more of my work. I have also added a link to my work on Alamy (photolibrary) which you can access via the link below if you wish.
I am still exhibiting at Oriel Tir a Mor, Borth – this started in 2015 as part of the Ceredigion Art Trail but I have maintained a display space upstairs. I am sharing gallery space with Sarah. The work has changed from the art trail display and I must thank everyone who visited the display and left such positive feedback. The coffee, tea and cakes are of course, still superb and I am told the cooked breakfasts are sublime but my waistline prevents me from personally checking that out!
I have added a new section to the website ‘Tangarreg Pools’. This is an ongoing project to improve the habitat on our land for wildlife. The land abuts the river Aeron and we have added pools to attract insects and provide space for newts, frogs and toads. Three hides are established – one with its own reflection pool, one overlooking a pond and one set in a field with newly planted rowan and crabapple trees. All have bird feeders and these are kept topped up to ensure a healthy population of visiting birds which can be photographed (or observed) from the hides. A large number of bird boxes have been established to encourage on site breeding and several boxes have been made to offer a natural looking front aspect – ideal for capturing shots of parents bringing food or nesting material to the nest. It is planned to offer access to the hides (and land) for a modest fee to help with the upkeep of the hides and the cost of bird seed. More information will be available when we open for the Ceredigion Art Trail in late summer.
Trail cameras have shown otter to be occasional visitors and it is hoped that as the pond life matures more wildlife will be attracted. Several galleries within the Tangarreg Pools section illustrate the variety of visiting birdlife throughout the year.
I am taking part in the Ceredigion Art Trail this year so if you are interested in seeing my work in print or investigating the Tangarreg Pools project to improve our land for wildlife then please do come along.
I am now on twitter (@CeredigionJones) feel free to follow!
Well… firstly we will simply unwind and recalibrate to a different pace. We both have creative hobbies that we want to develop further – for me that is predominantly photography and developing the small patch of land to make it more wildlife friendly. We have four ponds and three hides plus a river border so lots going on and lots more potential including getting a wild flower meadow on a field (that’s a lot of grass to keep cutting!). Option of exploring further education/qualifications (non-medical). We had planned a trip to Madagascar next month but *something* happened to cancel that. I have had some thoughts about writing too but at the moment we are unwinding, enjoying the different work at home. This was a welcome visitor yesterday when I was actually expecting buzzards/kites. What will you do when the time is right?
For many of us we may find ourselves nearing the end of our TOIL but not sure what TOYL will look like. Phil and Sarah have invested time and effort outside of their working lives, not so much to create a future career but to balance their work and leisure lives and out of this there has evolved a situation where they have not only a passion for what they do but purpose too beyond enjoyment, a business opportunity!