The first couple of weeks of January have been as busy as ever. There have been: a new laptop for the Parish Council to set up (why do these things take so long?); exercise classes to endure or enjoy depending on my daily fitness aptitude and the level of the group; more DIY at the rental property; a new Future Learn course; lunches out and time spent chatting (rather a lot) with family and friends.
Yesterday I was back in volunteering mode, covering not one but two shifts at Save the Children's local high street shop. Well it was short of staff, I had a diary that could be easily altered, so why not? After all seven hours is nothing compared to the daily grind, week after week, month after month, decade after decade that goes with full-time work; at least that is what I thought.
So, I dressed appropriately in several layers and my comfortable ankle boots to ward off the chills from the open shop door and set off with enthusiasm, ready to meet and greet; sort and stack; clean and steam. Except what I hadn't realised is that, like everything I have been learning to do in retirement, working a whole day takes practice. It may have been less than three years since I last did it, but, not only am I out of practice, those comfortable boots are quite simply excruciatingly painful after just four hours. The heel on them is only an inch high, they have supportive insoles and although I regularly wore them day after day in the office, I confess that they have hardly donned my feet since. Anyway I kid you not, I felt ninety when we locked the shop at 4.30pm and I left to hobble down the street to my car.
Obviously I ought to have realised that whilst ladies wear all heights of footwear in the office, the reason I now go to Pilates classes three times a week is to try to reclaim the proper alignment of my musculoskeletal system after more than thirty-five years of ill-treatment in the work place. In retirement I take a full hour over lunch, I enjoy a mixture of sitting and standing throughout the day and I generally wear flat, supportive shoes, slipping into heels (even low ones) only for special occasions and where standing is restricted to just short periods at a time.
Last night, my poor old feet were tended over with a warm bath and copious amounts of foot balm. It was a stark reminder that whilst I may have been able to neglect both them and the rest of my body during my working years, they deserve much better in retirement. I suppose that I have finally learnt that whilst my feet may not be the prettiest, they are the only pair I am ever going to have and ought not, therefore, to be abused. I have now promised them that going forward, and however difficult they are, they will get the love and care that they demand.