Original answers have been edited for length.
It’s great to meet you, Bev. Tell us more about yourself.
I’m a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I believe in being grateful every day and enjoying life. I’m a very social person who loves spending quality time with my family and friends. I also stay active by volunteering in the community – it’s important for me to help others and make my community a better place to live!
You had a long career at the City of Toronto. What was that like?
Working in the social services department at the City was a great experience. I learned many skills, such as organizing events and workshops for the community. I met some wonderful people, who I’m still in touch with.
Was transitioning to retirement a big adjustment for you?
The transition was smooth because I started living the lifestyle of a retiree, financially, before I actually retired. OMERS was also great when it came to answering my pension questions. The activities I wanted to do when I retired were already a part of my weekly routine, so the transition was easy.
What are some highlights of retirement?
The highlights of my retirement include spending quality time with my family, travelling, dancing, reading, playing the steel pan and exercising. A game of Scrabble is a regular occurrence with friends, as we challenge and laugh at each other. I also devote a lot of time to taking care of myself, which has enabled me to take care of others. I joined a walking group, which helps keep me active. My mind stays active by going to the library and reading with my grandchildren. Since retiring, I’ve taken up gardening and learned drumming, which are very therapeutic. Plus, I replenish my energy by getting a good snooze!
Between your grandchildren and travelling, you seem to have no problem filling your schedule! Tell us more about your work in the community and why it’s important to you.
I’m very active in my community and have been volunteering for over 40 years. I currently teach a chair and muscle fit exercise program at the local YMCA for individuals with mobility issues. I also really enjoy playing the steel pan at church functions and nursing homes. The look of pleasure and joy on a senior’s face when I do a cultural dance warms my heart. It is important to me to help others, especially newcomers, by providing information about the community and teaching English as a second language.
How does having an OMERS pension fit into your retirement?
Without OMERS, I wouldn’t have been able to retire – I’m so grateful. Having my OMERS pension made it possible for my family to travel and enjoy good times together. My life is rich and rewarding, as OMERS has made my dreams a reality.
Do you have any advice for fellow retirees or people approaching retirement?
Retirement is a new chapter in your life – freedom! Embrace it with open arms. It’s the time to be creative, visit family and friends, meet new people, catch up on a forgotten hobby and just enjoy life. Find out what’s happening in your community by visiting the library and community agencies. You have the opportunity to volunteer and learn something new – perhaps a musical instrument? You’ll surprise yourself. Spend your money wisely and on things that will enrich your life. Smile and laugh a lot. Start doing the things you love to do long before you retire, so they’re already a part of your life.
Check out our active member profile with Emily White.
Watch out for more member stories on omers.com in 2019!