RETIREMENT may mean finally having the opportunity to put your feet up for many – but not for Ruth Baker.
The 82-year-old is busier now than ever before and her get-up-and-go mentality has helped the former occupational therapist be crowned a ‘modern face of retirement’ in the British Laterlife Challenge.
It looks to reward people who are making the most of their retirement years and it is hoped their stories will then inspire others who find the transition from full-time work into retirement challenging.
And very few people can be a better advocate of making the most of their retirement than Ruth, who enjoys everything from spending time learning Spanish and Japanese to translating Pilgrim’s Progress into Modern English, to playing violin in the local orchestra and even helping out at a local food bank among a host of other activities.
But despite recently scooping the Wales and Midlands title, the modest mum-of-three doesn’t see herself as particularly special.
Speaking about the award, the octogenarian told The Observer: “There was an advertisement on the web and I just went for it not thinking I’d win at all.
“Obviously you always hope you will be successful and it was a real thrill when I was told but I’m not the kind of person to boast.
“For me, there are a lot of activities I enjoy doing and that helps keep my mind and body active so that can only be a good thing. If people can take inspiration, that’s great but it’s not why I do it.
“I’m lucky enough to have been blessed with three sons, who are all in their 50s now, so I guess I’ve just taken opportunities and perhaps made a few of my own along the way too.”
And Ruth, who says her zest for life is largely down to having a strong Christian faith, doesn’t show signs of slowing down soon.
She added: “I believe if you’re given something that you’re good at, you should continue to use that skill for as long as possible.
“Many people see retirement as the chance to slow down and enjoy the finer things in life but as far as I’m concerned, that’s not for me.
“Of course, I do get up a bit later now but what many people consider to be work is really my play and I very much enjoy making the most of every opportunity that comes my way.
“I’ve been very fortunate during my life and for me, I’m happy to keep going as long as I can!”