A Night for Reflection

 

Postcard telling you to blog on
New Year's Eve, a night for reflection when, as you may have gathered from my blog post here yesterday I am hardly in the party mood; instead I am full of cold and sick of people! Well the latter isn't qute true but you get my drift. Once upon a time when I was relatively young, staying in at New Year would have resulted in the initiation of a full medical examination. These days I don't even suffer from that relatively new disease known as the Fear of Missing Out.

In fact, looking at posts by friends on my Facebook Timeline not to mention WhatsApp messages, staying in could even be the new normal. It seems I have reached the age when people wish you a Happy New Year at 8pm before disappearing to bed with a good book and a yawn. That's retired living for you; a few days of merriment at Christmas and it's enough partying for the rest of the year.

Before I jump on the bandwagon and head up the stairs myself, I thought I really should take a moment to reflect on 2022. All told it's been a pretty miserable year on the global front with war, rising costs and the impact of climate change taking their toll. 2 monarchs,  3 Prime Ministers and 4 Chancellors, it's been an unsteady ship nationally. It is what it is but trying to ignore what I have no control over and concentrating on our own little sphere of influence hasn't always fared better.

Our patronage of the local hospital has verged on the ridiculous although riding in an ambulance with the blue light flashing (not to mention the night on a trolley in the emergency unit) have left abiding memories. It's been a wake up call in case we needed one, not to take good health for granted and to understand that in retirement however fit we might think we are, medical emergencies do still arise. 

Piel Island
After my operation and emergency readmission, the recovery seemed slow and interminable with a sense of deja vu after the pandemic lockdowns. In reality I was back at the gym within 7 weeks and not long after that in April we were once again entertaining visitors. However, by June the enormity of everything started to overwhelm me until we began to get out and about with trips to the Furness Islands and Bath. And my major recollections of both? Well a sunburnt nose at the Cumbrian coast and a seagull stealing a sandwich from my hand in Bath rank highly. I also found myself trying to dry myself under a hand dryer in the toilet facilities at a Bath museum after a sudden heavy rainstorm soaked me, with no exaggeration, all the way to the skin.

Langdale Valley
Only a matter of days after my return and I suffered a silly fall from the front door step, my face bearing a scar to this day. There were no injuries on either of our sojourns in the Lake District in January and August although a nasty reaction to chilli peppers impacted on activity levels during the second visit.
Menai Bridge
Nevertheless we elevated the frequency of our travelling dramatically, beginning with various road journeys around the UK encountering horrendous torrential downpours in both Scotland and enroute to Wales. Eventually, in October we got out our passports after paying through the nose for travel insurance when our various hospital visits upped the premiums enough to make us squeal.  

Needless to say the first trip, a planned cruise to the Azores didn't just fail to reach its destination because of heavy seas but landed us both with Covid. Ever thought cruising just isn't your thing? 

Grand Harbour, Malta

Our next trip to Malta coincided with its 5 day monsoon season (at least my wet weather gear held up, unlike in Bath). Although we were off again 10 days later, we managed to fit another hospital trip in beforehand but fortunately there was nothing to worry about and some well designed stretches by a trainer at the gym sorted the issue meaning that finally we could have a sun filled trip to La Gomera. It was meant to set us up nicely for Christmas but I ended up so horizontal I never did get all the preparations in order for our house guests.

I suppose I really should apologise to you for sharing what has clearly been a tumultuous year and perhaps tomorrow when I consider the future to promise an uplifting blog going forward full of positivity and triumphs. The problem with life and retirement in particular is you don't know what you are going to get from one week to the other and despite my best attempts to plan otherwise, these things just seem to happen.

There have, of course, been successes. We have travelled  and made memories. We have spent time with family and all end the year in good health (ourselves included). I have hooked up with two new tribes with the founding of a Village Gardening Club and the discovery of a local art crowd. Since recovering from my planned surgery in February I have felt fitter than for many years and the machine that you shouldn't believe in the gym even ranked my metabolic age as 16 years younger than I am; it may not be true but it does deliver a boost. I continue to get closer to simplifying life on all levels; I am finally able to relax and de-stress. 

It's those little victories that are so important when things go wrong. I fall back on them to get me through it. Exploration, creativity, relationships, exercise and acceptance: these are what are now important in my life and retirement.

May your 2023 be filled with success and happiness, and your own little things too.



 



Comments

Treaders said…
2022 really was a roller-coaster year for you wasn't it! But in any case you're still vertical and I'm sure 2023 will be kinder to us all. Happy 2023 to you and yours!
Jean said…
You have certainly had a challenging year.
I hope 2023 is more settled for you and wish you a happy and healthy year to come.
Caree Risover said…
Aw, thank you Treaders and Jean and my very best wishes to you both for 2023

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