Alan Golding’s Retirement Tips

March 31, 2020

Meet Alan Golding

Retired widower Alan Golding is who I want to be when I grow up – 86 years young and living life to the fullest – or as the millennials say, living his best life!

Alan, a recent resident of The Royce in Penrith and a regular aqua aerobics attendee at Nepean Aquatic Centre, is quite possibly the most sprightly and active Octogenarian I have ever met – and a really genuine bloke! I sat down with Alan to find out his story..

Born in 1933 in Newtown, Alan left school at 15 and put his curious mind to becoming an apprentice electrical fitter, setting the stage for a long and varied career as a systems engineer, instrument and control engineer, electrical engineer and contracts manager, in both Australia and Overseas. Alan has always been learning, undertaking courses and educating himself further to keep up with technology, and prides himself on never having been unemployed a day in his life.

When asked of his greatest achievement in life, Alan answered without a moment’s hesitation “marrying my wife!”. After meeting at a dance at the Albert Palais in Leichardt in 1954, Alan married Shirley in 1957. They lived locally in Doonside for 35 years, had a son and a daughter, and later moved to the Central Coast where Alan built them a home “with a little bit of help from tradies”.

Alan retired in 2008, and sadly lost Shirley 2 years ago after 60 years of marriage, from which Alan has his children, 4 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Still on the Central Coast, Alan decided to move back to the Penrith area, to be nearer to his family and was faced with the task of finding the right place to live.

Alan, why did you choose The Royce?

Well, I looked at lots of places – and some made me feel old. The appearance of lots of the places I visited turned me off, and speaking to residents, I got mixed responses. Cathy at The Royce, on the other hand, organised different events where I got to meet residents and it was a great vibe. I met a great group of people and made great friends. It’s nice and new and well maintained, and the people are fun and sociable.

And why did you start coming to aqua aerobics at NAC?

I started after a recent illness. When my wife was sick I started to experience stomach upsets, which turned out to be bowel cancer. The oncologist said it was non-operable, so I had chemo at the end of 2018, with positive results, that is no cancerous activity following treatment. After constant monitoring and scans, we have seen some activity return recently, so I had more chemo at the end of 2019 and am now on a maintenance program and chemo medication, which makes me feel tired & lethargic and gives me pins and needles and numbness. Its also recently been picked up that I’ve had exposure to asbestos over the years in the various places I’ve worked.

About 6 months ago, before the second round, my daughter Sharon was encouraging me to get some exercise to feel better, so I started attending aqua aerobics, and Sharon comes with me. I had to stop for a little bit while the chemo side effects were bad, but I’m back now.

What do you like about aqua aerobics?

It is actually relaxing, and I can work at my own pace, but that’s fine, you are still getting a good workout – it can be as strenuous as you want it to be. I always feel better, and for a few days afterwards. It’s mostly women there but that’s fine, they are good company!

What would you say to other men thinking of giving aqua aerobics a go?

If you have the time, just come down, why not, come and have a go. Half the problem is people don’t start, and feel embarrassed or something, but there is no need. And its not uncomfortable, the water is nice and warm. One of my friends Satich who also lives here at The Royce has been a few times now.

Do you do any other forms of exercise?

Oh, I’ve always been active over the years and used to belong to the canoe club, visiting various locations around NSW for events including downriver racing, and an annual 100-mile event in the 1970s. Now I also like to walk by the Nepean River.

How else do you fill your days?

I’m always busy, with aqua aerobics, medical appointments, shopping, family outings, spending time with my daughter, computer work at home, and staying tidy and organised. I also joined the local Men’s Shed. I don’t feel isolated at all, there is always something happening to keep you busy, and I stay connected to other people and family. I watch my 4-year-old great-grandson play soccer, and my daughter calls every day, morning and night, and I’m still driving and very independent. I’ve never been one to sit around!

Do you have any advice for others in a similar position to the one you found yourself in?

I’ve come to the conclusion that you really have to look after your health. It’s important to also get out and do things, keep your mind on other things to distract yourself and stay active. Eat good food. It’s all about balance.

I could have talked to Alan all day, but after an hour in his wonderful company, I reluctantly had to move on to my next appointment. Something told me Alan might be just a busy for the rest of the day as myself! If Alan has inspired you to try aqua aerobics, come on down to NAC and join us (when we reopen add it to your post Coronavirus To-Do list)!

There are two aqua gentle classes per week, Mondays and Fridays at 12.30pm. They are a perfect place to start, or you can come to any other class on the timetable that you would like to try and just work at your own pace! If, like Alan, you live at The Royce, take advantage of very special pricing for residents for both aqua aerobics and Swimming at Nepean Aquatic Centre – all details at the concierge desk of The Royce!

A good news story in the midst of all the gloom…….