There’s a growing buzz around Mick’s lectures. The former soldier and member of ASIO has a passion for military history, and was keen to share that knowledge with his new community soon after he moved in.

He and his wife, Glenis, had moved into Argyle Gardens village in Bundaberg in February, and he was keen to get to know the neighbours.

So he started a lecture series through his membership of the University of the Third Age. Admittedly, the first event attracted only three people. But word quickly spread, and by month three there were nearly 30 people keen to hear more about Mick’s deep understanding of wartime history. And while Mick is thrilled to be sharing his lifetime passion – what is more important is connecting with other residents in his new community, and enjoying this new life stage.

When you know it’s time to downsize

Moving to Argyle Gardens was a huge shift for Mick and Glenis, who had spent the past 24 years living on acreage about 20km outside Bundaberg.

They loved their land, 14 acres – including a large garden – but recognised the workload was becoming more difficult. And while they were still managing, it was Glenis that had pushed for the move before it was too late.

“My wife was quite influential,” Mick says. “She was worried we might – for one reason or another – maybe lose our licence to drive. Or one of us might get a disability. It needed both of us to run the property the way we wanted to run it.”

He said not only would their former home have been too difficult to run if one of them became unwell, the effort involved in downsizing would have been too much for one person to handle, as its sheer size had resulted in them acquiring many possessions over the past two decades.

“It would have been very difficult to do a major move. A lot of work was involved in downsizing. We both wanted to be able to work through all of the downsizing together.”

A community lifestyle

While the couple could have chosen to move to a smaller home in town, they actively sought out the community of Argyle Gardens, as they were looking for a sense of security, as well as a community of like-minded people.

Not only is he connecting with people through his lecture series, but with his background in the military, Mick is passionate about volunteering for Legacy, an organisation supporting the families and partners of Defence veterans.

“I got landed with 18 ladies, which is a challenge in itself!” he laughed. He said he firmly believes his happiness in the community comes down to the fact he works hard to connect with new people. “Work on it. You don’t retire and sit in front of TV all day. You have to get off your backside and do something. Think it through, and plan it.”

For Mick and Glenis that means not only volunteer work, but continuing to pursue their personal interests, and looking after their physical health.

“I was concerned about my level of fitness after leaving the active work of the farm. So I have a trainer that comes in and ‘tortures’ me on a regular basis.”

He added the couple remain active daily through walking both within and outside the residence in the wider Bundaberg region.

Hitting the road

Another major reason the couple chose Argyle Gardens was the flexibility it offered them in lifestyle. No longer would they be tied to maintaining a large house, but they would have the opportunity to travel whenever they wanted. “Unfortunately a certain virus got in the way of that!” he laughed, explaining the couple moved just before COVID-19 lockdown measures were put in place.

While their plans have been somewhat thwarted, they are still looking forward to shorter holidays in the coming months. “We’re going this weekend for a couple of nights to a hotel in Bargara, and we’d like to go up to Hamilton Island at the end of November for a week. It allows us to go away and not worry about anything to do with the property.”

Working through the transition

While Mick admits it’s natural to find the adjustment to a new home difficult, he said their choice in home meant they both still have the space they need. “The hardest part of the transition was leaving the farm. We’re now in a three-bedroom. My wife has one bedroom as an office and I have the other bedroom for my office.”

It’s a space he’s glad he has – as are the other residents. He spends up to a month working to prepare each lecture in his series.

“We weren’t sure that I would get any interest initially. But the word is getting around, and there’s a fair bit of positive feedback. Things are looking good.”

If you’re ready to make the move, Argyle Gardens in the heart of Bundaberg offers a resort lifestyle, and a community of like-minded people. Discover our village today.

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