Barbara continues learning and researching during her retirement in an empowering community

Liz Miller

 Barbara continues learning and researching during her retirement in an empowering community
GetSetUp Gluten-Free Eating Community Host Barbara.

Barbara is a retired university administrator. She retired in December 2020 from the Vice President role at Caldwell University. The stress of the pandemic meant an earlier retirement was a healthier option for her and following medical advice she took it. With retirement, Barbara, a Clover Health member, moved from New Jersey to Philadelphia to be closer to her kids.

Last winter, she was looking for something to do when she found GetSetUp.

“When COVID was really bad finding an activity for socialization was really high on my list of priorities. I had just moved and didn’t know anyone in my area.”

Adjusting to retirement in a pandemic was a bit of a shock to Barbara’s system. She’d gone from having 12 hours a day consumed by work, to stopping completely.

“Until September, when I found GetSetUp, it was just me. I would talk to my kids on the phone but I was pretty lonely. I started taking so many classes on GetSetUp because I wanted to have someone to talk to and have conversations with.”

A regular connection was part of the reason Barbara volunteered as a Community Host to lead Gluten-Free Eating. Barbara has been gluten-free now for seven years due to a wheat allergy. Being gluten-free meant she was able to get off her arthritis medicine as well since her body was no longer inflamed due to gluten consumption.  

“Before I was an educational administrator I did a lot of research and reading. By continuing my gluten-free research, I thought I could help others that have this same problem. Being the host has been very helpful to me. People ask questions and then I continue my research to answer them. I have learned some things too that I didn’t know.

Barbara’s group meets biweekly and has a number of regulars who contribute to a lively conversation on living gluten-free, and others join when they can.

“I’ve been teaching since May and made some friends through GetSetUp, like Terri who hosts sessions too. She’s interested in skincare and when I see certain things she’d be interested in, I email her and a couple of other people.”

Gaining a sense of purpose through weekly meetings and like-minded people has helped to improve Barbara’s overall happiness.

“Hosting the group has given me purpose and something to do because I know that I have to keep myself up-to-date on the latest things. If you are retired and not working, your purpose might be to sit and read, or watch TV. But hosting a class gives me the purpose to continue my own journey learning about gluten-free living. Also when I sign up for a class it gives me something to look forward to that day, and I can put it on my calendar.”

Learning for a lifetime

 Barbara has learned new skills in tech classes like how to use her phone better. She’s also now a pro at streaming classes like yoga onto her TV, which can be nice for exercise classes. She also takes classes on interesting topics like Guest Speaker Linda Harris who will speak on the Harriet Tubman walk. Prior to finding GetSetUp, it had never occurred to Barbara the variety of opportunities to learn online.

“I’d taken a couple of classes on tech and learned a lot with Wade. Now I’m using GetSetUp more for self-improvement.”

To make sure she’s not just sitting through so many classes, Barbara tries to stay active by also taking some Tai Chi and yoga classes. Plus the cooking classes have helped her to expand her repertoire of healthy recipes.

“I can always learn even if I'm the one hosting. I think GetSetUp is a great community for lifelong learning. Whether you are learning about cooking or plants or taking care of yourself when you retire, there are so many classes!”

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 Barbara continues learning and researching during her retirement in an empowering community
 Barbara continues learning and researching during her retirement in an empowering community
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