Today popular Wellness and Fitness enthusiast Kwambie is humbled to meet with one Mkamzee Mwerevu in her two bedroomed cottage in a plush suburb of Nairobi. Mkamzee Mwerevu for many years worked as a teacher in a private school in Nairobi. She is single and has no children. She is now retired or refired as she likes to call this stage in her life and is happily enjoying her senior years. Kwambie is here to get a few tips from Mkamzee Mwerevu on preparing for Retirement and how to spend ones days in Retirement. The following conversation ensues…..
Kwambie: Absolutely glad to meet you Mkamzee. Looking at you I cannot believe that you are sixty years of age! You look simply amazing! How do you do it Mkamzee?
Mkamzee: Well to be honest, I took up positive lifestyle measures in my life. Indeed when I turned forty, it was a wake up call for me to monitor my eating habits, indulge in physical exercise, put off toxic elements in life and begin thinking of how I wanted my senior years to be like.
Kwambie: And here I thought that life begins at forty, from what you are saying is that one should begin thinking of the end of their life at forty?
Mkamzee: Oh no Kwambie, let me clarify that planning for ones retirement years does not signal the end of the life. On the contrary, several people are living longer than years before. Some even living the same number of years after retirement in comparison to their working years. There is need for people to plan for their financial, physical, emotional, spiritual and social well being during their senior years that is when they are not actively involved in work.
Kwambie: Interesting. Are there certain challenges that you have faced after retirement?
Mkamzee: Well Kwambie, I retired around ten years ago and as you can see for yourself, I am in fairly good physical condition. One key challenge that I have had to tackle is the longevity of my life. I think I may live longer than I had anticipated hence I have had to think about future finances.
Yet another challenge that I have faced is the volatile financial market and the ever rising inflation putting my retirement nest in jeopardy. Such circumstances have reduced the amount of money that I have available to spend on my retirement seeing that I receive a fixed amount of money for my expenditure at the end of the month.
Kwambie: Thank you for those insights. As I mentioned to you earlier you are in mint physical condition. Are physical and health challenges common to those who have retired?
Mkamzee: Indeed they are. Many of my age mates are dealing with medical conditions related to ageing. Which reminds me of another challenge that many of my contemporaries face – ageism which is basically discriminating people based on their age. Trying to restrict the physical, social and travel activities for the elderly is not right at all. It is because of ageism that many retirees become dependents earlier than they should be.
Kwambie: Quite saddening.
Mkamzee: One thing that I know many of my contemporaries face is lack of identity after retirement. This is particularly so for many who did not have active social lives and only had their work identity to define them. Fortunately for me, prior to my retirement I had already gotten my own business venture going – a local quality kindergarten that I oversee in my retirement years. I also volunteer quite a bit and I am currently involved in some mentorship activities for girls in my neighbourhood.
Kwambie: You keep on surprising me with your active life after retirement. And I am sure that many will have Retirement demystified to them after reading this article in the “Wacha niKwambie” blog.
Mkamzee: Finally, my greatest challenge is what legacy will I live behind when my time to depart this planet comes? I want to be remembered as a generous woman, who gave this life her best shot. I am also pooling some funds which I hope to leave to my relatives and a nearby children’s home that I have a deep interest in.
Kwambie: So what did you do to ensure that your retirement years are as happy as possible?
Mkamzee: Firstly, I had to accept the impending reality, inevitably my years in employment were going to end some day.
Then I began researching on a hustle that could keep me busy during my retirement years. Hence the nursery school that I began almost ten years ago. This has not only kept me busy, but has also given me a sense of identity and has been a source of income in my retirement years.
I also actively contributed to my employer’s pension and retirement plan. I also invested in a myriad of investment kitties and these have ensured that my financial wellness has not been dented in any way. I never touched my retirement kitty apart from the one time that I obtained some money from it to set up the kindergarten.
Kwambie, I know that you are always encouraging the readers of your blog that they are what they eat and to maintain an active physical lifestyle. I cannot emphasize the importance of that. As I mentioned to you earlier I took an active turn around in my forties in managing what I eat and embraced an active physical life and this indeed has postponed many of the health problems associated with my age mates.
Finally, Kwambie I was in active communication with my employer, bank, my medical doctor and financial advisor for tips to make my retirement years as happy as possible.
Kwambie: I am truly challenged Mkamzee. Indeed the extent of happiness of my retirement years lie squarely on me! So could you kindly share with the readers of this blog how you spend your days these days post retirement from active work?
Mkamzee: I am refired I tell you my child. One of the joys of retirement is that I am in charge of my time. I can do what I want to do when I feel like it, rather than when someone tells me to do it as opposed to my days in employment.
Apart from overseeing the operations in the kindergarten that I set up and volunteering in girl child mentorship activities, I use my time to communicate with my old friends hang out with them in coffee dates . I have also made new friends. I belong to a number of social media groups where I get to interact with people and this has been a source of great joy to me. Believe it or not I have an active physical regimen and work out in the gymn at least thrice a week. I also belong to a cell group and club for senior citizens in my church. And the greatest thing has happened to me in my senior years after being single for almost a life time, I am dating a widow from the senior citizens fellowship in church and we plan to wed next year and his grandchildren will be our flower girls and page boys in our wedding if God wills. Every once in a while I travel shopping around for my honey moon destination.
Kwambie: I am in awe Mkamzee, from what has come out from this discussion is that there is a life to be lived post retirement. Refirement as you have redefined it today.
Mkamzee: Yes, my life is living witness. In parting I would like to advise the readers of Wacha niKwambie blog to ensure that they bear in mind their physical, financial, psychological and social well being as they plan for their retirement.
Kwambie: Thank you so much Mkamzee for taking the time to share with us your life’s experience on Retirement. Please do not forget to invite me for your nuptials and give me ample notice to arrange for a lovely kitenge (trans. outfit made from African fabric) from my dress maker at Kenyatta Market for My Kwambie Style!
Mkamzee: Thank you so much Kwambie and pass my regards to The Champ and your dear hubby.
Kwambie: I sure will.
So there you have it readers of “Wacha niKwambie” blog some sound advice from one Kenyan senior citizen who took a charge of her retirement years. We can all do it too1
“Wacha niKwambie Uzima”
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