International Day of Older Persons

International Day of Older Persons

It’s International Day of Older Persons today and we thought it apt to ask our Chairperson, Bridget Stevens, to write a piece, about herself, on The Resilience and Contributions of Older Women – this year’s theme.

Bridget rose to the challenge, and I’m sure you’ll agree that this post is amusing but also inspirational…

When I retired from a very demanding job as Director of International Summer Courses at the University of Edinburgh, I was looking forward to having time (which I hadn’t had for 40 years) to pursue personal interests and hobbies, see more of family and friends, join a book group and read at least one book a week, get my bicycle serviced and back into use, sign up for lots of evening classes, learn a new language, start on the herculean task of getting my garden in order, de-clutter my home, run 5K twice a week, listen to good music at least once a day while doing nothing else, and write my Christmas cards in November instead of on Christmas Eve. I even imagined waking up in the morning and, over a leisurely breakfast, trying to decide what to do for the rest of the day.

Dream on…

The reality turned out to be rather different – but much more interesting. Since retiring, I don’t think I have had a single leisurely breakfast or ever had to wonder what to do that day. My schedule is so busy that an ordinary pocket diary isn’t big enough for my needs.

I always say to friends who are about to give up fulltime paid work that Edinburgh is the most brilliant place in which to be to be retired because there is just so much going on, year round and much of it free: gallery, theatre and museum talks, walking groups, exercise classes for seniors, literary societies, and classes and activities organised by the City Council and by local universities. Plus, above all, countless numbers of volunteering opportunities which in my own case are what now take up virtually all of my time.

Tap into IT is our own wonderful little charity with Mike Ellis at the helm. I am proud to be its Chair and to have set up visits from local dignitaries, plus related media coverage, all of which helped to raise our profile. I am also involved in providing audio description of live theatre and other events to enable visually impaired participants to follow what is going on. My next “gig” will be on 7 December when I will be taking a group of blind people to Castle of Light, an amazing outdoor show staged at Edinburgh Castle. As a member of Merchiston Community Council, I am actively involved in the life of my local community and have a similar role with The Friends of The Meadows & Bruntsfield Links. These are just a very few of my current “retirement” commitments, all of them demanding significant amounts of my time but for purposes which I believe are worthwhile. They have all had to make huge changes because of Covid and are now facing financial viability challenges, but we keep going.

(My garden is still full of weeds and I still start thinking about writing Christmas cards far too late.)

Bridget M. Stevens

Thank you Bridget – we hope that you continue to enjoy your retirement. We do appreciate all the help that you offer Tap into IT, whether it’s International Day of Older Persons or not!😀