Increasing lifespans mean that most people will now spend one-fifth to one-quarter of their lives post-work. So what to do after work? There are plenty of warnings about managing income so one can live comfortably for thirty to forty years in retirement, but what about the loss of purpose and loss of a social group that often comes with the end of paid work?
Since 1992, U3A Box Hill (29 Strabane Avenue Mont Albert North) has provided a pathway for seniors to maintain their mental, social and physical wellbeing when they leave paid work. The University of the Third Age is an international organisation that employs a self-help model to provide affordable educational and social programs for seniors. Volunteer retirees share skills and knowledge garnered over a lifetime. The tutor of geology one day may be an oil painting student the next.
Run entirely by its members (currently more than 550), U3A Box Hill Inc. provides over 60 courses for a $50 annual membership fee. These range from physical fitness (FeldenKrais, Zumba, Walking, Nordic Walking, Lawn Bowls), languages (Spanish, French, German, Chinese Language and Culture), Craft, Board Games, Cryptic Crosswords and Book Groups, to many academic courses such as Current Affairs, Music Appreciation, Philosophy, Writing and Literature. There is also series of short courses. U3As are the main provider of technology education for seniors, so Know Your iPad, Smart Phone and Tablet classes are a feature on U3A class schedules.
But for many members, it is the social side of membership that is most important. This communal aspect of the organisation is very relevant at a time of life when long-term friends and partners may be lost. Monthly restaurant visits, picture and theatre nights as well as wine clubs are always popular. In the first week of December, enrolments open for 2018 classes, forms for which can be downloaded from u3aboxhill.com.au If you wish to join now, pro rata rates are available.
U3A Box Hill is 25 this year and a commemorative history and an anthology of writing have been published to celebrate. New members prepared to volunteer their skills, knowledge and time, are always welcome. Interesting courses, physical fitness and friends await you.