Rosetta’s retirement is one rich in colour, culture and community. Retiring five years ago, she’s taken skills and lessons learnt throughout her working life and shared them with people across the world, and her inspiring story proves that retirement can mark the start of creative freedom.
After a long and varied career, most recently working as a mediator, Rosetta's now enjoying success as an artist, experimenting with a variety of mediums, and has participated in several exhibitions. She’s spent part of her retirement in Gambia, a country close to her heart, and where she and her husband usually spend four months of the year living and volunteering.
Her wealth of experience and creative eye have opened up opportunities she couldn’t have imagined. While her husband, Omar, has spent lockdown in Gambia, Rosetta’s made the most of her home art studio, and records a podcast and weekly radio show.
“Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely in this digital age. Every day can be a really good day.
"When I came to retire, I wanted to put these to good use and combine my love of arts and psychology to help people, so went on to study Medicine and the Arts at University of Cape Town and Caliche Hospital, because I wanted to become an arts therapist. When I completed this course, I went on to work with Syrian child refugees who had terminal bowel cancer."
"Since then I’ve been chosen as one of ten people to take part in a programme for contemporary visual artists aged over 50.” Rosetta has now continued her learning online, including a course on COVID-19 with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Preparing for retirement
She once planned a quintessentially traditional retirement, and was looking forward to baking, knitting and catching up on television. Rosetta now enjoys a life that couldn’t be further from that; she doesn’t even own a television.
Her advice for anyone approaching retirement? “The CS Lewis quote – ‘You’re never too old to set another goal or dream another dream’. Make sure you know that once you retire it’ll get boring unless you have something to keep you company – hobbies, a pet or a partner.”
As for the rest of her retirement, Rosetta is counting down the days until she can return to Gambia to be re-united with her husband, and continue with the development of the local school they fund. “I’m a firm believer in the importance of education, especially for young women.
We subsidise the fees for the pupils whose parents can’t afford to send them to school, send shipments of clothes to the community and pay for school supplies.” In the meantime, back in the UK Rosetta is busy preparing to write a book, and will soon feature in a documentary about her work in Gambia.
For Rosetta, retirement hasn’t just been a time of colour and creativity, it’s allowed her to share her unique view of the world and support people in their own learning and development. Stopping work hasn’t stopped her from achieving her goals and setting many more for the future.