I landed in Sydney yesterday morning to a rain shower – welcome for the locals but not such a great start for the girl from Manchester! It soon cleared and I was being whisked along the highway to reunite with my friends and join in their family life for the next couple of weeks.
And what is it about old, much-loved friends that make you feel you only saw them yesterday? At the top of the drive I was greeted with a smile, a hug and the start of a gossip that was to stretch all day and into the evening.
When you live alone you forget about the organised chaos required to run a family life. In this domestic set-up we have two little girls with an action-packed life of school, homework, choir, netball, ‘hip hop’ and ‘nippers’!! It’s like arriving on the set of ‘Home & Away’ and having to improvise with the established cast knowing exactly what’s going on. Not to mention dad working in the City and mum balancing a thriving speech therapy practice with housewife of the year duties.
So, ignoring the jet lag, I was sucked into a whirlwind of collecting and walking back from school, listening to a day’s news and then digging deep into my brain to help solve the maths homework… I was quite proud of my abilities on that score! The small people retired to bed at 7:45pm leaving three adults to relax and catch up properly – a marvellous start to my trip.
And another great inspiration for my mission to make sure Evermore becomes a reality.
What can be better than coming back to a house that’s full of life; where the kitchen is the hub of activity with cooking, chatter and news? To know that when you open the front door, you can hear voices, smell great food and know there is convivial companionship awaiting your arrival – well it just doesn’t get any better than that. For those of us without children or families close by, we rely on radio and television for that kind of company far too often.
And it doesn’t have to be that way.
I don’t believe we’re supposed to be solitary beings. I think we’ve grown to accept that we will have to spend much more time alone as we get older and are the one left behind. Well, a bit of “me” time is always lovely, but not when it stretches to day after day. I’m very lucky that I work with a fantastic team of really committed people at Evermore – so I’m always challenged and occupied. But for those who retired many years ago, days can seem very long and lonely.
We passionately believe in giving people the choice to join in the domestic routine with like-minded others. Let’s encourage our older neighbours to downsize from their family home – it’s only bricks and mortar after all – and participate in a new kind of family environment. Let’s build Evermore villages across the country, so more people can choose to experience the joy, laughter and conviviality of shared living.
After only one day in this chaos I know what I’d choose!
Sara McKee, Founder, Director