Making those golden years count: Q&A with resident Peter Small

Making your time count seems to become more of a priority as the years pass. For some, the idea of retirement often triggers a sense of fear that their time is running out. On the contrary, others find that life is only beginning. Just ask Peter Small, a Renishaw Hills resident who is the epitome of a retiree using skills, hobbies and free time to his full advantage. How does he make it count? We sat down for a chat and heard his views on staying active and involved during those golden years.

Q: When did you officially retire and how did you know it was time?

A: “My retirement date was 31st March 2020, but COVID-19 ensured that I retired two weeks earlier than expected with my last working day being 18th March 2020. I was always scheduled to retire at the end of the month of my 65th birthday. I was approached to accept a contract to stay on at work, but the pandemic put an end to that. Although, I’m not entirely sure that I would have wanted an extended working life, as I was already looking forward to retirement.”

Q: What hobbies are you currently pursuing and are they old favourites or new ones?

A: “My two passions in life are natural history and music. I am a committed Citizen Scientist pursuing my lifelong interest in birds especially and a later interest in bird photography. Over time, my visits to areas to photograph birds evolved into photographing dragonflies, butterflies, and now anything that moves. These records are submitted to the Virtual Museum to keep up to date records of the distribution and seasonality of our fauna.”

Q: Did you find that your areas of interest grew broader once you retired and that you were willing to branch out?

A: “I am not sure that my interest has broadened, as I already had a broad sphere keeping myself busy. However, with additional time on my hands, my interests have certainly intensified. I have found additional areas where I would like to apply my skills and experience from my working life. These include assisting with the rehabilitation of the Mandawe Wetland, adjacent to Renishaw Hills.”

Q: Do you feel like community plays a role in a happy and fulfilled retirement?

A: “Absolutely. I am a committed community member who likes to play a small role in keeping community spirit and interest flourishing. I hope to use the skills that I have been fortunate enough to develop to keep our community mentally active. I am doing this by developing a system of blogs to pique interest in the natural history of Renishaw Hills and environments. I also participate with a team in producing a bi-monthly Renishaw Hills Pub Quiz, which has now been held online during lockdown. My interest in music has also resulted in me producing a Renishaw Hill residents’ tribute to Johnny Clegg on the 1st anniversary of his passing.”

Q: What’s been a highlight of your retirement so far?

A: “As my retirement to date has coincided with lockdown, the highlight really has been the privilege of being locked down in an area of exquisite natural beauty with amazing opportunities to explore nature around me and a caring and diverse community.”

Q: Any tips for making sure that retirees use their time wisely?

A: “I strongly believe that an active mind and an active body are essential to enjoying life as a retiree, and active participation in community activities provides additional opportunities to enjoy life.”

Q: How has Renishaw Hills been a catalyst for helping you make the most out of these golden years and what made you choose to live there over anywhere else?

“In preparing for retirement, I did intensive research on alternative places to retire. I also placed my name on several waiting lists for the purchase of retirement options. The overwhelming factors that swayed me towards Renishaw Hills were the indigenous gardens and the conservation areas surrounding the estate, which provide amazing opportunities for me to practice my interests and hobbies. So if you visit Renishaw Hills and you see a khaki hat deep in the wetland vegetation, you will recognise somebody that has found his niche.”

Explore your passions or discover new ones at Renishaw Hills

No matter your hobbies or what you need to retire well, Renishaw Hills provides the perfect location and tight-knit community to help you live out the best years of your life. To book a private tour of the village, complete with social distancing, please email sales@renishawhills.co.za. Should you wish to browse our virtual tours from your own home, please do so here.