2020: A Year to Rehydrate

So the Twenties have arrived; not only a brand new year but also a spanking new decade. A drought of year-ends, suddenly succumbing to rainfall.

I have grown accustomed to considering December 31st/January 1st as a time for reflection and resolutions. However, after drenching myself in the contentment of retirement (I appreciate that images of hearths and slippers will be flooding to mind, but it isn't like that at all) I have struggled to make fresh New Year's resolutions for a couple of years and abandoned doing so altogether last year.

Since 2018 I have been setting myself specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed challenges. The trouble is that in retirement personal satisfaction becomes a given. Counting is no longer part of your thirst for life meaning that work-based SMART goals are doomed to fail.

This time last year when I challenged myself to visit 52 art exhibitions over the course of 2019, adding up must still have been an integral part of my DNA. It had certainly worked in 2018 when I set myself the 3 x 60 Challenge. Obviously I overlooked that continuing to move through retirement keeping a tally would no longer be a thing.

Yes, it's taken 5 years but the legal work ethic of recording your every move in units of 6 minutes (an industry standard of one tenth of an hour) or indeed in any other format has withered up entirely. Whilst, therefore, I have been to see many inspirational (some less so) art exhibitions over the last 12 months, whether I have actually visited 52 is doubtful and probably irrelevant.

Now you are probably expecting me to settle down to share with you a gentle period of introspection in which I conclude that what is important is how the challenge has instead rehydrated my personal growth and turned on the flow of ideas and creativity from within. If so, I am going to disappoint.

Assuming that I have decided to give up making resolutions that are intended to turn me into a better, fitter, smilier person, is there actually any point in using the end of one year and beginning of the next for an internal examination? Has the satisfaction of a retired life drained the fountain for improvement from me?

I could simply sit back, drink in hand, fully quenched, and wish you a very happy New Year. Alternatively I could reflect on the highs and lows of the last year, decade or even current century. Yes, the nebulous noughties, testing teens and even 2019 itself have dried up and closed behind us.

Do they need my analysis? Probably yes.

Can that analysis stretch any further than "had a ball" or "must try harder going forward"?

Perhaps I'm just not feeling particularly pensive or is it because in retirement I truly have discovered the joys of living in the present moment, worrying about neither the past nor the future. But time is so precious in retirement that I can't afford to drown myself, splashing mindlessly in its waters. I need to dowse myself wisely. Maybe therefore I do need to orchestrate and organise the year ahead.

Theme words rather than resolutions seem to be in vogue at present. They are a much broader concept than my challenges and probably less susceptible to the requirement for measurement. Akin to spraying the vegetable patch with a hosepipe rather that using a watering can. Even though I've always preferred the latter, a more liberal approach may now be welcome.

I suggested to the youngest that perhaps I could adopt a theme or two for 2020, against which everything I do could be correlated. She was embroiled in constructing a mind map to help determine her own path forward over the next 12 months but I honestly didn't need her to look so aghast. I got the message; I really was not approaching this correctly.

It seems that I need to use the reservoirs of my mind to reflect on the past (what's succeeded, what hasn't and why), my skills (limited), resources (I think obstinacy counts) and ambitions (a potentially empty vessel in retirement, open, as this blog bears witness, to the wind and high seas for direction).

Now January 1st has caught up with me and it feels like I have dived into 2020 regardless. So do I continue in my impetuous and flexible fashion, risking losing out on what could be the best decade yet of my life through a lack of planning?

Alternatively do I submerge myself in a flood of ideas, pool together the appropriate bits and come up with a detailed blueprint for the ensuing 12 months and a wider strategy for the next 10 years? Will I sink under the weight of direction and should I just revert to an outmoded bucket list?

Blow it: today is going to be a lot easier if I just stick to tradition and make a couple of resolutions. Come to think of it, even one will suffice.

As I ponder on what they will be, may I extend to you my warmest wishes for your happiness in the New Year and trust that you too find your own way to conquer the dilemmas life throws at you, especially in the exploration of deepest, darkest Retirement.

P.S The issue is resolved:
In 2020, I am going to drink more water! Moreover I am going to measure my success by enjoying the undoubted health benefits and glowing skin that I understand will follow.


I do need to do the same as you and drink more water.........we'll take the challenge together. Oh those six minute increments, we did the same in accounting, I hated it!!
Caree Risover said…
Yes, I seem to recall that the idea was first promulgated by accountants and then solicitors adopted it wholesale and life was never the same again. Looking forward to seeing you at the fountain..
Treaders said…
Whenever I try to come up with "goals" my mind goes completely blank. Weird isn't it! Water sounds good though!
Caree Risover said…
I certainly struggle in trying to view retirement as a goal oriented way of life. See you at the fountain too!

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