I find myself in a rut. As you know, I retired a few years ago at the ripe of age of 44 and since then have been trying to find my place in the world.
Recently a number of things have happened, which have made me reassess the situation. Sadly, a upsettingly high proportion of our friends and acquaintances have been diagnosed with advanced cancer, some of whom have been working so incredibly hard for a retirement they may never get to take. That’s really sobering and is the one thing that really hit home for me. I gave up work so that husband and I could enjoy retired life together whilst we both had our full faculties. But I haven’t been doing that, I haven’t been enjoying retirement. I’d like to be able to tell you what I have been doing – but I think basically it amounts to moping. Moping and moaning.
The thing is, I really don’t have any reason to moan or mope. I have an amazing opportunity and, quite frankly, I am wasting it.
Recently, as I flew home to Bristol for a hen weekend, I listened to Fearne Cotton interview Russell Brand on her podcast ‘Happy Place’ and it really struck a chord. Brand has written a book ‘Freedom from our Addictions’ based on 12 step programme, of Alcoholics Anonymous fame, which, he argues, could be applied to any aspect of life. But the absolute first step to changing anything is to acknowledge there is a problem / area of concern / area of development and to own it.
So, I am stuck in a rut. And I am moping and moaning.
This was followed by a run for a bus! The bus stop is right outside the hairdressers, but, due to roadworks was suspended. As I stepped out of the hairdresser the bus was just stopping at the lights to the roadworks. This meant I had the time it took for the traffic going the other way to go through the lights and the time it took for the bus to get from its current position to the next stop to run for the bus. If I didn’t catch this bus I would have had to wait 20 minutes for the next one. So I ran to the next stop, probably about 500 metres further up the road. I made the stop in time to reach the back of the queue and then quietly died. I could barely breathe and it took a good 20 minutes of the 25 minute bus journey home. This really shocked me. Whilst I’ve never been thin, I’ve always regarded myself as being fit and have used exercise as a strategy for managing a range of health issues throughout my life.
So the blocks have been building:
- I’ve been wasting an opportunity
- I have an area of concern I’d like to address
- Evidence would suggest that I am currently the least fit I have been in a long time.
I could make excuses:
- I only respond to deadlines
- I don’t have enough time
- I don’t have the money to do the things I’d like to
- I split my time between two places
- Husband would rather I spent the time with him
All of them are total rubbish.
- There are no deadlines and I am naturally inclined to put off to tomorrow – but it’s not an excuse.
- I have more than enough time – I can waste time with ease. I waste so much time it’s frightening.
- The majority of things I’d like to do more of – like cycling, walking or running don’t actually require any money.
- I can easily do the things I would like to in two places with minimal effort.
- Husband would rather I did the things that made me happy and would be very upset to know I was using him as an excuse.
The key points of the day where I lose time are after lunch and dinner. I get sucked into games (they are designed to do that – but still an excuse) and before I know it the day has disappeared. I am going to try to be more mindful and when I spot the boredom or lethargy set in I am going to make a conscious decision to do something constructive. There are a million and one things I could do in that time – sewing, knitting, crochet, swimming, cleaning, ironing, baking, reading, learning, even writing blog posts.
So, I owe it to myself, my husband and my friends to fully embrace this opportunity that I find myself in and throw myself wholeheartedly into retirement.