Yuri Voevodin, Who Never Managed to Sit Down and Rest

Yuri Voevodin had always known the life he wanted to have. Real happiness after the age of fifty, Yuri thought, was a quiet life by the sea, lounging about all day long, reading books, and doing no work at all. At 57, he got serious about making his dream come true. However, soon he found out that, after fifty, life can be a lot more fun than before — and that’s what makes it really happy.

At 57, Yuri Voevodin did something many men dream about. He left behind work and family troubles, brought along a couple of good friends, and drove to the sea — to the warm sunlight, fresh air, and sweet freedom from all concerns.

He was not planning to come back.

I will rent a house by the sea and live happily ever after, he thought.

At some point, haven’t we all?

Yuri looked at a hundred houses and ended up not even renting, but buying a tiny summer cottage, very fitting for a bachelor, in a quiet village by the town of Anapa. He moved all of his belongings and was ready to spend his days in a leisurely fashion. That’s the life! He felt that it was just about to begin.

From the start, however, a life of leisure was not working out for him. Yuri made friends with his neighbors right away, and they always seemed to need help with building or fixing things.

A handy man isn’t hard to spot among others, Yuri explains. “I am a radio engineer, originally, but I’ve always enjoyed learning new skills — and now I could put them all to good use.”

Yuri Voevodin was always willing to help. Firstly, his neighbors were good people. Secondly, what was so difficult about helping them? He was not really doing anything, anyway!

Then, one day came the kitesurfers. They were having a competition and needed someone to build a springboard in the sea so that they could perform complex jumps and stunts. Since he wasn’t doing anything, anyway, Yuri Voevodin volunteered for the job. He was just curious.

In the end, he became such great friends with the kitesurfers that they asked him to build a camp on the shore. Today, Yuri has been working with them for several years and sometimes he does it completely free of charge. He just likes it.

“Kitesurfers are great guys”, he says. “Everything they do comes out of sheer enthusiasm. I just really love helping them.”

Yuri Voevodin is a bit of a kitesurfer himself: last year, at 62, he began taking lessons with his friends and is now quite comfortable steering his surfboard in the sea. However, Yuri does not compete and has little time to practice. Time is unbelievably short, indeed: a friend needs a verandah built and another wants a bathhouse, while some of the neighbors have long been asking him to reroute their heating system. The kitesurfers, on the other hand, took to shooting their own videos, and Yuri gladly assists on set.

“Frankly, when I moved here, I envisioned everything very differently. I thought I would spend my days in happy idleness, do absolutely nothing, and enjoy the sun, the sea, and the sand. Instead, I am so busy that I don’t even have time for a swim,” Yuri Voevodin admits.

The unexpected turn does not make him at all sad — he is really happy that he never had the chance to stay idle. A happy life, he realizes now, is quite different from the one he imagined! Yuri has made friends with the whole neighborhood, goes kitesurfing, meets amazing people who have a lot of respect and appreciation for him — and his yard became home to geese, ducks, a goat, a Central Asian Shepherd, and a crowd of cats. Yuri Voevodin never got to live the life of his dreams, but the life he did get goes far beyond his best expectations.