Monday, 24 September 2018

WHEN LIFE HAPPENS: Patricia Reid-Waugh uses lessons from her journey to empower retirees and people starting over

NEW CHAPTER: Author and resource person, Reid-Waugh lives a full life.

PEOPLE are nervous when they attend Patricia Reid-Waugh’s seminars. Her topic is retirement, how to prepare for it and how you can still live a fulfilling life well into your retirement years. Life doesn’t end because you’re now on the sidelines, away from the shove-and-thrust of the game, she tells her audiences.

In fact, the crux of Reid-Waugh’s message is that an exciting new life can begin with retirement. You have nothing to be nervous about if you sufficiently prepare. “This is not the time to go into the departure lounge and sit down. This is the time for you to start doing new things, exploring new things,” she tells TALLAWAH, as we sit amongst a late-lunch crowd at Café Blue in Liguanea. “Things you might not have had the time to do, now’s a great time to give them a try. Turn your hobbies into income-generating activities.”

In short, Reid-Waugh makes retirement sound like a thrilling adventure awaiting you. So it’s no surprise that the title of her relatively new book is Retirement: A New Adventure (Author House), a sort of expert’s guide giving readers the dos and don’ts and plenty of other sage advice.

Reid-Waugh knows what she’s talking about. A divorcée who blew out 70 candles in July, she is a very accomplished and refined lady who has done everything from teaching Mathematics at Calabar High to working in the financial sector on the tiny island of Nevis. It was while living and working in Nevis that she fell ill. The illness caught her off guard. She retired in 2011. “I was totally unprepared for it,” she recalls. “I had made absolutely no preparations.”

Now, having survived and thrived, she wants to help other Jamaicans steer clear of such pitfalls. In addition to writing and publishing her book, she’s been speaking at retirement seminars put on by such organizations as the National Land Agency, the Electoral Office, the Jamaica Teachers’ Association and CARIMED, for whom she recently did four sessions. “What I want people to know is the importance of preparation. You are going to have to recognize that you are no longer in this job. You have to change your whole mindset,” she explains.

But for Reid-Waugh, the best approach is to always stay positive. Look on the bright side. “This is when you can now be your best self, the person you’ve always wanted to be. There is a lot to do. There is a lot you can do.”

Reid-Waugh herself is a sterling example. In addition to becoming an author, she plays the organ at her church, St. Luke’s Anglican; she’s a choir director and has been serving as a Justice of the Peace for the past four years. That’s not all. “I’m now learning to play the violin. I started in 2013, and I’ve already passed Grades One and Two,” shares the relentless achiever, who also wants to master the steel pan. “I have a full life. That’s what’s important,” she adds. “And that’s why I don’t look 70.”

Surviving and Thriving: More from Miss Patricia

The public response to Retirement: A New Adventure: “The response has been very good. People like the book. When I do seminars, I get comments like ‘You know I never thought of that’ or ‘I never looked at it that way.’ Others now feel encouraged to write memoirs and tell their own stories.”

The Jamaican Government can do more: “In Nevis, there is a senior citizen steel pan group. They go out into the town square and they give concerts. And it’s a government-sponsored initiative. I think our government needs to do more for our senior citizens and retirees by way of programmes like these. And the associations that have been set up to help senior citizens and retirees need to be more accessible and effective. Older people need things to keep them active. And a lot of them need help with things like financial planning.”

Always aim to live your best life: “You have to keep it moving. And that’s what keeps your spirit alive, and you really get to enjoy the fullness of life. Live, don’t just exist. That’s the message.”







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