When Alex Isaakidis retired, he and his wife took a trip to China to mark this transition and to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary. Little did he know that this trip would also usher in a whole new career for him … and a fresh sense of life purpose and meaning.
Chartered clients, Alex and Miranda have always worked as a team, each with their own roles. So, it seemed natural to them, when Alex retired, to include him in Miranda’s Indulgent Spa business.
“We attended a trade show in Hong Kong together and I was inspired by the new products and exhibiting concepts to bring back to South Africa,” says Miranda.
With so many innovative ideas to be brought to life, Miranda is grateful for Alex’s partnership. “Alex does the work I don’t enjoy doing,” she smiles. “I like the fun part. For him, it is a sport to work with money.”
The benefit is mutual, according to Alex. “Now that I have retired, Miranda’s business is my security blanket,” he affirms. “It gives me meaning and purpose.”
But Alex is not limiting his sense of purpose to his work at Indulgence Spa.
He has signed up for a Master’s degree in History at the Open University, and will be prioritising spending time with Miranda, “just having fun!”.
He also wants to write a book about the Crawford Schools, where he worked for a number of years. “I just have to find the time to do all these things … I am living to achieve my unfulfilled dreams,” says Alex.
Focus, not only on the do, but also on the who
Alex and Miranda both recognise the importance of their relationships.
“Our most important consideration is our social interaction. We want to surround ourselves with our friends.”
Their marriage remains their source of encouragement and joy. “How can retirement be dull, being married to Miranda?” laughs Alex, and Miranda adds her bit, “It’s fun to have Alex around. I love the extra support and being able to pick his brain.”
Being able to spend time with people they love and enjoy being with is a first consideration in where the couple will settle once fully retired. They also want to help others, a motivation born out of their gratitude for their blessings. “We are so lucky to have what we have,” says Miranda. “We have always shared.”
It’s a belief they extend to their relationship with money. “In retirement, we have a philosophy of how we will spend our money and enjoy our lives,” Alex says.
He is realising that they have sufficient income. “We are lucky to have money, but we don’t live flashy lives.
“We are content with what we have … happy. We have a great life, healthy children and a beautiful marriage. There is nothing we want in the material sense.”
True to this value, Alex and Miranda are, at present, decluttering their home and minimising their household goods.
If you find yourself in a transition you haven’t necessarily adequately prepared for, or in a mid-life crisis, reset yourself! You can easily do this by doing something completely out of the ordinary for your life. Alex and Miranda did this by taking a trip to China.
Whatever your extraordinary act, be it big or small, do it, and breathe in the sparkle and delight of the astonishing uniqueness of it all.