I'll warn you that I'll be waffling in this post so feel free to jump ship now. You've been warned! My thoughts today are a combination of a couple of conversations with friends, a post on Jo's blog, and my own ongoing attempts to improve/enhance my daily life.
So to explain ... I'm retired now and although I have a busy diary for September there is very little in the way of regular contact and/or activities that will take me out of the house after the end of the month. The busy diary for September is mostly related to the workshops I'll be running in local primary schools to try to encourage new learners at band. I have some vague ideas of what I'd like to be adding to my life and conversations with friends have added a couple of ideas for monthly meet ups so that aspect of the changes has been thought about and now just needs to be implemented. At the same time (this is where Jo's post comes in) I'd like to mark my first year of retirement with a mini challenge of places to go and things to accomplish within that year.
Currently I have these things going on, which I enjoy and want to continue:
- weekly during term time: youth band on Saturday mornings
- monthly: book group
- monthly: family history society
- monthly, but only for part of the year: listening to the Big Band that a friend plays in
- fortnightly between Sept and March: film society
It looks more than it is in a list like that but in reality will not occupy much of my time so I need/want to add some other regular things to do - some solo events and some social ones. I've thought about the aspects of life that I'd like to concentrate on to start; this was initially based on Bless' Balanced Life Goals but I've actually ended up with a completely different approach. These aspects are music, photography, health and fitness, and socialising. I have a tendency to try to do too much at any time, so have deliberately chosen to limit my focus on these four categories.
Music - basically, I want music to continue to be a part of my life. This is actively playing for a long as I am able but also looking for other ways to include it, such as concerts, folk clubs, orchestras, etc.
I'm very involved with the youth band and fully intend to continue but most of my time at band is taken up with teaching and very little actual playing on my part; the playing is obviously at a standard appropriate to the level of the children's playing ability. So, I plan to work on some musical activities to stretch myself; daily playing of the piano and/or brass - piano has been happening for a while now (although the music room is out of action until the home improvements are finished) but I'll be adding in some regular brass playing to regain my full range of notes. I've also put my name down to join a new orchestra which starting up in October, playing the flute. If it works out, this will add another weekly evening activity, although it will be blocks of six weeks and then a gap - not too sure how this will work out but I'm keen to try it.
Photography - this is something that should get me out of the house regularly but doesn't, so I need to come up with a way to change that. I used to enjoy doing the monthly online scavenger hunts, so that's one option, or maybe just set myself a series of mini challenges. Whatever I do, I want to make myself take some 'proper' photos rather than the 'snaps' I've settled back into doing. One thought is to post a series of photos once a month on this blog but I need to think that thought through a bit more.
Health and Fitness - I have no plans to change what I've been doing. The focus will be on making sure I am achieving all that I want to. So currently:
- exercise daily: either gym, 'walking for health' walks, and/or exercise DVDs
- eating healthily: sensible portions, less meat and more vegetables, and reduce the amount of coffee I drink!
- weight: lose at least two stones by this time next year.
My long term aim is to be fit enough to join one of the local walking groups, or the Ramblers.
Socialising - I'm quite content with the number of social activities that take place in a evening. In addition to the current ones listed above I also meet friends for the occasional cinema visit or meal, so all I'm looking to add in is:
- monthly: film night with friends, in my home
- monthly: girl's night out with Julie and Lauren - we don't see each other as much as we used to and I don't want to lose touch. This can also include the other three girls whenever they are home.
The biggest area where I feel things are lacking is some daytime social contact. Apart from Saturday mornings I have no need to leave the house so don't see anyone and I know from experience how this can affect my mood. The weekly Rummikub playing hasn't worked out so I may try to organise something similar in my own home, and there are also a couple of scrabble groups I can try. Most friends still work so coffee mornings aren't an option at present. Apart from that I'm stuck for ideas so any suggestions will be very much appreciated. I'm hoping to come up with ideas for a couple of part days a week.
As for the marking my retirement year I'm thinking about arranging 12 special events, some solo and some with friends. So far I've come up with this list but it will probably go through quite a few changes before I'm through!:
- a theatre trip, probably to London, to see Hamilton, Les Miserables (again) and one other show (still to be decided).
- HF Holiday - photography break in the Lake District
- HF Holiday - sight seeing trip to the Isle of Wight
- HF Holiday in Bourton-on-the-Water
- a short break in Bristol
- a short break in Portsmouth (to see the Mary Rose)
- a short break in Weymouth (or somewhere similar)
- a trip to Belfast
- a short break in Liverpool
- a city break, maybe in Newcastle
- a short holiday with a local coach firm
- a food tour in London
That's as far as I've got with my thinking/planning. Well done if you got to the end of the post!