Bring on the Golden Years!

It’s been ages since I visited the Blogosphere and now I’m here I’m not entirely sure what to say. I’ve made a couple of false starts but one thing or another seems to get in the way, and weeks go by without me typing a single word.

One of my biggest blocks is that I always like to be positive, glossing over bouts of chronic pain and the resulting ‘brain fog’. In fact I’ve been in denial that I do suffer from an inflammatory condition that affects my creative output, preferring to celebrate minor accomplishments ~ like being able to chop up an onion or pull a handful of weeds from the garden (seriously!) ~ rather than whinge about my latest flare~up. It’s not consistent ~ on good days it’s easy to believe I’m ‘getting better’ and to try and catch up on neglected tasks all at once. But I’ve discovered that pacing myself and taking frequent breaks ~ even if I’m feeling fine ~ is more effective in the long run than working to the point of collapse.

I’ve been learning to accept my limitations for a couple of years but there’s been one major change recently. Martin had to retire in March, on health grounds of his own ~ so we’ve both been adjusting to that.

It’s weird not having to follow a timetable ~ Martin’s work schedule used to affect how I organised my days. I’d do as much housework as I could manage, prepare the evening meal and walk Indie round the block while he was visiting clients, so that he could relax when he came home. Now we share the household tasks then take the dog for a stroll before choosing how to spend the rest of the day ~ artwork… gardening… riding out on the Harley?

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We both know how lucky we are and rather than bemoaning the disadvantages of growing old we’re celebrating what Martin likes to call our ‘Golden Years’, (although, considering the colour of our hair, ‘Silver’ might be a more accurate description!) And while our income has shrunk to a couple of small pensions, we’re ‘time rich’ and have more energy to devote to our home, the garden and creative pursuits.

At first we had to keep reminding each other that this isn’t just a holiday; that we don’t have to cram everything into a fortnight, that we have all the time in the world to do as we please. And we plan to take full advantage of that, for however long as it lasts!

Now that we’re settling into the new (lack of) routine I’m getting to grips with those tasks that I kept sidelining for ‘later’. Like learning to use new technology, organising my digital photo library and tidying up my email accounts.

I’d also like to publish more frequent posts on Wordpress, now that I’ve definitely decided that I’m not going to retire from that too! I apologise for my lack of engagement lately but I’m already looking forward to visiting my favourite blogs, tapping back into the on~line community and enjoying the friendship and support of other writers, like I have in the past.

I’ll let you know how that works out!






Busy Doing Nothing?

Although it’s Monday morning and the start of a busy working week, I’m not going anywhere. I’ve been made redundant.

The birth rate on the Island has been steadily declining so there are fewer pupils enrolling in our schools. As a result the College, where I worked part~time, has had to make swingeing cutbacks and my post got the chop. It no longer exists, that’s it, there’s no going back!

I don’t particularly rate my chances of finding another suitable part-time job at my age, in the current economic climate ~ particularly as I’m still recovering from a work~related injury. I would never have voluntarily resigned from this one ~ I had hoped to continue for a few more years. One of our colleagues didn’t retire until her 80th birthday and, though I might not have lasted that long, you never know!

And now we never will. That decision has been made for me and although I won’t receive a state pension for a while, I’m now retired. But I’m not bitter. Seriously. This is the best thing that could have happened, right now.

In her later years, when I asked my mother what she’d been up to, she’d often start singing:
‘I’m busy doing nothing,
Working the whole day through,
Trying to find lots of things not to do.
I’m busy going nowhere, isn’t it such a crime?
I’d like to be unhapp~y but I never do have the time!’
(I thought it was just a nonsense rhyme until I googled it. It’s featured in the 1949 film, ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’, with Bing Crosby, her favourite actor.)

Back then I didn’t appreciate the irony behind her super~cheerful renditions. I even wondered if she was embellishing the truth, to prevent me from worrying about her being on her own and lonely. But I’m beginning to realise that she was too busy to be miserable ~ doing whatever she pleased, when she felt like it: solving the crossword in the Telegraph, pottering about her home and garden, visiting and entertaining friends and having whimsical conversations with Billy the budgie. (He once shouted that it was raining and she hurried outside to bring her washing in from the line, only to realise he was fibbing. But when she scolded him he hung his head, told her that he loved her and pleaded for a ‘great big kiss’, so all was forgiven!)

That she was happy with this stage of life ~ the happiest I can ever remember her being ~ has been quite a stunning revelation. And it’s inspiring!

So am I going to be ‘busy doing nothing’? I don’t think so. I’ve had 13 weeks to get my head around the luxury of never having to clock on again. And there are plenty of worthy pastimes I could sign up for. Volunteer work, clubs, classes, re~writing that ratings~busting novel, which obsessed me until 17,000 words zapped into the void, when my computer crashed. As you can see, I’m not short of ideas ~ I could occupy myself so thoroughly, that I’d wonder how I ever had time go to work!

I’ve spent a lifetime in support roles ~ personally and professionally ~ so I won’t be signing up for noble causes, at this stage ~ maybe later, who knows?

I have to start supporting my own needs and wishes: re~igniting my dreams and passions, which have taken a bit of a battering lately. It seems selfish when you’re in the habit of putting others first but if I don’t do it now, I know I’ll always regret it.

So, here’s to a contented retirement! For the moment I’m just going with the flow ~ I wonder where that might lead me?

I’ll let you know.