Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Little Adventure #20: March 2024 – The Walking Group.

I have a friend affectionately known as ‘Blogless Sandy.’ She and her husband retired roughly the same time I did, and 3 years ago she did an interview for this blog when they were 2 years in.

Blogless Sandy prefers a more structured retirement timetable than I do. Mondays she walks large dogs for a shelter, she has embraced yoga in a big way, she looks after grandchildren a few times a week, and on Thursdays she has a walking group.

I decided to try it out. I’m motivated to get fit, especially after I heard about the hike that I’m going to be doing in Kings Canyon, which begins with a set of 400 steps known affectionately as ‘Heart Attack Hill.’

These walks are held every Thursday by the Peninsula branch of U3A. This organisation is run by and for retired people. Once you join a branch, you have access to a huge range of classes and activities. Mum and Dad were members of different U3A branches for years. Mum did all of her art, painting and craft things, while Dad learned about all sorts of things, ranging from astronomy to all sorts of different histories, world events and I don’t know what else. They loved it!

Personally, I feel a bit weird joining up. I’m not OLD! Plus I used to do the cleaning for the Mordialloc U3A after every term. (This link is only a month after I started the frogblog. It was interesting going down memory lane, when I was living with Evan11 etc.)

Anyway, this walk was classed as an easy one. It was in Mt Martha, and we wended our way around some housing developments and bushland, with only two hills to deal with.

It was nice. There were 28 people all up on the walk, and everyone was nattering to friends and enjoying the outlooks.

When I was getting dressed to go, I realised that this was the first time I’d worn these runners since London last year. It was also the first time I’d worn ‘proper’ shoes and socks since I had the mole cut from my ankle in January. This will be important info soon…

The walk itself was 8 km.

YES! I WALKED 8 KMS. Amazing.

This shot was taken at an outlook over what is usually a lake. I have no idea what sort of bird this is.

I’ve decided to join the Peninsula U3A branch for a year, for a few reasons.

First of all, it’ll be nice to see Sandy every week and do an activity that’ll make me fitter.

I also want to know more about what’s around the Mornington Peninsula. I’ve lived here at the gateway to the peninsula for 8 years and I’m still clueless about what’s pretty much on my doorstep. When my overseas friends come to stay, I want to be able to take them to beautiful places.

Finally – it might be ok to have some structure in my retirement weeks. If I know that I have to switch the alarm on every Thursday morning (ugh) and I know I’ll be walking for 3 hours or so, THAT’S Thursday taken care of.

The rest of my time can be fluid.

Just the way I like it.

Afterwards, we all sat at a café, where they drank coffee and I drank water from my trusty Antarctica Pee Bottle. I was wanting to be a little bit frugal because of where I was going next…

Mum’s had 3 falls since October, all at home. My sister and I decided that she needs an indoor walker. One light and manoeuverable enough to allow her to move easily around the house and not fall over.

I got her into the car before I told her where and why we were going. She wasn’t all that happy, because I think she doesn’t see herself as the sort of person who needs access to a walker all the time. It’s funny how people see themselves sometimes, isn’t it?

Long story short, she test-drove some walkers and there was only one that she could manage to put the brake on with her arthritic hands. So the choice ended up being easy. My sister’s friend works there so we got 15% off, which was lovely. I bought it, whacked it in the back of the car and delivered Mum and her new steed home.

To be honest, I was expecting a little pushback from Dad, but he was very thankful that I’d bought it. Mum began grumbling a little, but he silenced her by saying, “I would’ve thought you were getting a little tired of lying on the floor, Jill!”

Working for Financial Independence for all those years, I never once thought of how nice it would be to do such a simple thing – buying a walker for Mum. It was just under $400, so it wasn’t going to move the needle at all for me. Yet I think it’ll make a huge difference to her.

As I’m learning how to live a life free from day-to-day money concerns, I’m finding that to be generous is a wonderful thing. I’ve given myself the ability to do this, not only with money but also with my time.

So Thursday was all about getting people walking.

I’m writing this on Saturday. I had to go to the doctor today to get antibiotics as the shoe I was wearing rubbed on the place where I had a mole removed in January. It hurts. Ironic that when I finally decide to look after myself and get a bit fitter, I’m probably going to have to miss the next walk. All because I was looking after myself by getting my moles mapped.

Ah well.


  1. FIRE for One

    The bird in your photo is a pukeko (swamp hen). There’s a lake near me and we have heaps of them, plus shags, a couple of swans, wood ducks and, of course, the good old bin chickens.

    My mum has dodgy knees and has had the odd fall, too, but she’s very resistant to the idea of having a walker. I’m hoping she’ll come round to the idea reasonably soon.

    Love the final meme!

    • FrogdancerJones

      ‘Shags’ gave me an entirely different image in my mind than a feathered creature!

  2. sandyg61

    U3A is on my list of things to do in retirement as well. A few people from our village attend the local one with the ladies doing quilting and choir that I know of.
    Hope the foot heals quickly.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Afer only 2 doses of antibiotics it’s already looking and feeling much better. I was just saying to Georgia – throughout all of history an infection like this has killed people. Now for just $9 – magic pills cure it.

  3. KY Math

    Love the meme! It is totally me these days!

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