Monday, January 16, 2012

retirement review

Amazingly, it’s coming up for six months since I retired. Last January, I posted three blogs entitled “Looking Forward to Retirement” in which I outlined my hopes (and fears) as I approached the end of my “working life”. I’ve been vaguely reviewing things over the past few days. The following represents a very quick résumé of my thoughts (under the “sub-headings” of my earlier blogs on the subject):
We seem to be keeping our heads above water - but it’s very early days.
Will I be bored by retirement? Well, no this hasn’t happened (apart from perhaps a couple of days that I just seemed to fritter away unsatisfactorily). I’ve continued to wake early at around 5am, got myself some coffee and breakfast and then, more often than not, read in bed for an hour or so.
I’m still in good health, touch wood (and the hip pain I referred to last year has, thankfully, disappeared).
I did worry that I would miss the daily exchanges and banter with lots of other people – and, although I do miss this, it’s been fine (and I try to catch up with former school colleagues on a regular basis – at The Warwick Arms on a Friday afternoon, for example!).
I’ve only played three times since I retired, but each time has been with some of my “old golf buddies” (Pete, Steve, Ken and Bob) – which has been really lovely. Particularly enjoyed a two-day trip to Celtic Manor in October and the “Bob Head Classic” in November.
Nothing exactly on the world travel front (and that’s fine – we don’t have any particular yearnings) – although Moira+I did have a wonderful time in France with great friends Chris+Lal (does that count?)… and Moira+I have been talking about another possible Venice trip to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary (next December).
I decided to ensure that I didn’t commit myself to any voluntary work for at least the first six months of my retirement (and I’m glad I’d done that because it gave me time to adjust to a different “way of life”). Having said that, I have re-joined our local Arts Trail’s steering group – but that’s no problem. I did also apply for an 8-week stint with the Iona Community last July (knowing that a) I wouldn’t hear back from them until this month and b) that the chances of my being selected weren’t particularly high). Last week, I was absolutely delighted to have heard back from the Community – and will be joining them on the beautiful Isle of Iona for a couple of months, starting at the beginning of May.
I’ve been enjoying these! Music: concerts by Chris Wood and June Tabor; theatre: Royal Shakespeare Company (and Felix will be performing with them this year too: “Twelfth Night”, “The Tempest” and “Comedy of Errors”) and also Tobacco Factory Theatre and the Bristol Old Vic; cinema: just getting back to attending more regularly (have really enjoyed “The Artist” and “We Need To Talk About Kevin”).
SPORT (apart from golf):
Well, I DID manage to get to Taunton (with Chris, Bron and Roger) to watch Somerset play Lancashire – which was very enjoyable. Will definitely be watching more cricket in 2012.
I’ve continued to take pleasure in getting up early and taking full advantage of what I’ve always felt was “the best of the day” – highlights to date have been brilliant sunrises at Glastonbury and Berrow Beach. I’ve tried to keep to my plan of taking daily walks to help keep me fit (no cycling recently though!). I haven’t yet arranged to do any of the Dorset Coastal Walk thus far or finished the Thames Path.
I’ve continued to adore grandparenthood. Being with Mikey, Iris, Dan, Rosa+Jemima gives me SO much pleasure and the arrival of Hannah+Felix’s Ursula just before Christmas has been a brilliant bonus!! I definitely want to see much more of Mikey, Dan+Jemima (and Alice+Dave!) and will hopefully do so over coming year.
This has also continued to be a source of great pleasure for me – and I try to carry my camera with me everywhere.
Well, I HAVE actually done some painting (for the first time “properly” since 1970!!)… and on canvas! I’ve also got some plans for a drawing project (essentially, building-related?).
No real progress on this to date!
Still pending, I’m afraid (apart from painting and drawing).
I’m really looking forward to going to the Isle of Iona again this year – that will hopefully give me some time for reflection and to explore aspects of my own spiritual life. Book study has been somewhat limited: further use of Ian Adams’s excellent “Cave Refectory Road: monastic rhythms for contemporary living” plus The Accidental Pilgrim (Maggi Dawn, Salvation on the Small Screen? (Nadia Bolz-Weber), Thinking Out Loud (John L Bell) and Words and Wonderings (Joy Mead). Our weekly “Ithaca” group continues to provide stimulus and food for thought.
Some progress made, but lots still to do! Great to meet up again with Tony (and prospects of impending lunch with Charles and Steve) and plans to meet up with John+Laura after simply ages. Very good (as always) to keep up with Ian, Gail, Ken, Debby, Jez and Mags – plus, obviously, local friends. A possible re-union of old college friends is on the cards for 2012.
The Saturday Harbourside Market: has been a real bonus – I’ve really enjoyed it (haven’t made a fortune sales-wise, but the “craic” has been very enjoyable).
No.1 Harbourside Cafe/Bar has become my regular coffee stop and they make me feel very welcome.
Reading: has proved to be a continuing pleasure (I read over 50 books in 2011!).
Moira also reckons she's enjoying her retirement much more since I retired - which is lovely.
Photo: sunrise at Glastonbury, October 2011.


Alice said...

Oh this is encouraging and inspiring to read! This has really made me feel happy. Just thrilled for you about Iona and really impressed that you're achieving so much of what you hoped for AND enjoying it. Love that mum is enjoying it more too!!! Xxxx

Tracey Wheeler said...

You sound like you've got a great balance going on there...something for us all to aspire to xx