It was ten past ten in the morning and I was rushing to meet my friend Jessie. I had an appointment with her at eleven in the morning to conduct her interview for my column in a weekly magazine.
It had been almost three years since I first met her. We had met in a Gym and in no time at all became good friends. I was fascinated by her charming personality and extraordinary sense of well-being. She possesses such a charismatic persona that I am sure whoever meets, would appreciate her.
My car reached a beautiful boulevard and stopped in front of a lovely house with a Scottish front elevation. As I entered the house, a garden, blooming with a vast range of flowers welcomed me. I had never been familiar with such a wide variety of flowering plants. For a moment, I stood there amazed and then rang the bell.
The door opened and a tall man in blue jeans and a white t-shirt greeted me with a gentle smile,‘Hello Anshu, I am Tim, Jessie’s husband. Please come in.’
‘Hello Tim, How are you doing,’ I said and entered the well-decorated living room.
‘Was there any problem locating the house?’ he asked me, as that was my first visit to his house.
‘Not at all! I drove straight down here. Where is Jessie?’ I replied with a curiosity to meet her.
‘She is finishing dishwashing and will be here in five minutes,’ Tim answered promptly.
‘No hurry! Actually, I am a little earlier than scheduled. She can take her own time,’ I said and decided to wait there.
“Hello, Anshu! Good to see you after a long time,” Jessie entered the room and hugged me affectionately.
Jessie looked much healthier and prettier than when we had met first. She was wearing trousers and a shirt perfectly matching her elegant personality.
“Hello, Jessie! Looking pretty as ever and congratulation for your success,” I complimented her.
“Thanks a lot,” she said with a smile.
“Here are a few recipes I have tried my hands on. I am learning continental dishes,” Tim barged into the room with a bowl of Quesadilla and strawberry smoothie.
“As he is very fond of cooking, he has joined cookery classes to learn continental dishes,” Jessie told me as I looked at him a bit puzzled.
“Hope you like them!” Tim said with a smile. He looked as enthusiastic like any student.
To boost his confidence, I said “It’s just wonderful! Quesadilla tastes perfect and the smoothie is so yummy!”
“You have become a perfect cook. Both the recipes are awesome. Thank you so much.” Jessie told her husband lovingly.
“My pleasure ladies. Please carry on with your work until I trim the plants in the lawn,” Tim left the room with a radiant smile which he always carries on his face.
“I thought about you many times, but could not contact you. Somehow, the other day when I read about you in the newspaper, I immediately decided to come over and congratulate you personally on your post-retirement success story. It is really a great achievement. Tell me in detail, I am very anxious to know and I am sure my readers would also love to hear the same!”
“Well Anshu, when we last met in the Gym, I was leading a typical after retirement life. We enjoyed the laid-back lifestyle for a few months, but gradually we realized that it was not our cup of tea, the spark in our life was diminishing and we immediately decided to make an action plan to get back to more meaningful and exciting lifestyle.”
“What sort of action plan?” I interrupted.
“We had a choice between doing something that we were doing till now or start afresh. Fortunately, we came across a wonderful book titled “The 4-Hour Work Week”. This book has completely changed our way of thinking and helped us to find the right way. We started by streamlining things to lead a life as mentioned in the book and you see the positive changes in our lifestyle.”
I was really amazed to see this level of enthusiasm in a lady at 64 years of age. The twinkle in her eyes was that of a young girl who has just got success at the start of her career.
She continued, “Both of us decided to set up new ventures, which we had always dreamt of. Since I was a psychology student before pursuing MBA, I went on to become a psychologist which was my childhood dream. I have a degree in psychology from the University of California, which I had pursued part-time when I changed my job to a different company.
“Wonderful!” I said, ” In just three years you have done so much that you are getting recognition in the field of child psychology.”
“Yes, unfortunately, so far not much work has been done in India. It is much advanced in the West.”
“How did you start work here?”
“Initially I joined the foundation which was already working for children’s nutrition in Mumbai. With the help of a few members of a foundation, I conducted workshops in different schools. People appreciated these workshops and felt that the information helped them to deal with children in a much healthier way. Gradually the performances of children improved, not only academically but also socially and emotionally. Later, the Government recognised the work and we got funds to create more awareness.”
“How many days are you engaged in this work during a month?” I asked.
“I organize almost 15 seminars in a month, though I receive a lot of external invitations as well. Since I cannot travel much, I have been working on an online portal as well to reach a larger audience. Hopefully, the website will be launched within the next month and then I will not have to move around so much.” she said.
“You mean to say that you will create podcasts and virtual seminars.” I understood her line of action.
“Exactly! And then I will get more time for the activities of NGOs with which I am already associated.
I felt proud looking at the super active lifestyle of Jessie and smiled to show my admiration.
“How often do you go with your friends and have fun,” I asked her with curiosity.
“Well, almost every weekend we organize parties with friends. We go on family holidays twice a year as well. Actually, we do everything we had been doing before. The only difference is that there is no place for dullness in our lives now,” Jessie said with a twinkle in her eyes.
“Great! ” I said with a smile.
“A lot of credit goes to the book “The 4-Hour Work Week” to bring this positive change in my lifestyle. This is one of the books I always recommend to my audience. Books may become life changers and as someone rightly said they are the best friends in our life.” Jessie said.
“What time is your seminar today?” I asked.
“I have to reach there at 12:30 pm,” Jessie replied
“Alright, I will take your leave. It was very nice talking to you. Thanks a lot! It is always good to see you,” I said while putting my things into the bag and I came out of the room after fixing up the next appointment with Jessie to meet at Prithvi Theatre.
I was curious to know why Jessie has asked me to come to Prithvi Theatre, but couldn’t ask her as she was in a hurry.
“Goodbye Tim, see you next week,” I waved Tim on my way to the main gate of the house. Tim was nurturing his garden.
“Bye Anshu, Take Care,” Tim left his work and came towards the Gate to see me off.
I came back home with a few questions still left in my mind which I had planned to ask next week when I meet Jessie again. It is always good to hear and appreciate such stories, but if we really wish to bring a positive change in our lives, what exactly we must do. That still needs to be answered; however, I had to wait for an entire week….
Stay Tuned for the second series
Life after Retirement – Series 2