The first snowdrops have arrived. I sensed a little more light in the kitchen when I came downstairs this morning. Moles are extending their network of tunnels and earth mounds across the vegetable patch. These are some of the diverse, recent signs that we are moving inexorably towards Spring. Now Christmas and New Year celebrations have passed, I’m looking forward to that.
The relatively quiet period following New Year is a good one for taking stock and making New Year resolutions.
This time last year, I was settling into retirement and thinking about how my first full year of retirement might go. It felt important then to think about my New Year resolutions as markers for desired progress in a couple of directions. Overall, 2018 was very enjoyable for me and retirement has lived up to expectations even though, as I pointed out in my last blog post, I didn’t achieve all my specific objectives. Going into 2019, I don’t feel I need to change very much.
So, many of my resolutions for 2019 are to continue where I left off in 2018. For example, the objectives I had around health – losing weight, drinking less, walking more – can be simply perpetuated with the targets I largely achieved last year, namely:
- Get Below 11 Stone (and stay there this time)
- Average 15,000 Steps/Day (a joy since the surrounding countryside is so lovely)
- Have 140 No-Alcohol Days (increasing progress from last year plus starting to track alcohol units consumed too).
Also, I will carry forward the objective to implement better composting arrangements in the garden. This sounds trivial but it requires me to get my achy back returned to something like full strength. It also requires confirmation of new compost bin location. In turn, that depends on planning with Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) the future for the old and gradually collapsing stables in our field. This is because installing the new bins will involve significant earth and rock moving and don’t want to have to relocate them nor restrict the options for the stables’ demise or transformation. This resolution is therefore a proxy for taking a few significant interim steps as well as one aimed at improving my compost.
I only have three new resolutions.
The first is less news and more music. This recognises that, in recent months, I have been listening to a lot of news (especially related to Brexit and President Trump). On average, I estimate I have been listening to 4 hours of radio news each day in addition to reading the Guardian newspaper reasonably thoroughly and watching the late evening news on TV. I want to stay current and have an informed view but this is probably excessive (especially as I get so frustrated with what I hear). On the other hand, I have multiple lists of new music I want to listen to and I want to re-appraise some of the best of what I already know. Simple: dial down BBC Radio 4 news, dial up Spotify, and keep going to gigs/concerts.
The second is to step up the number of trips of 1-2 days that I make with LSW to other parts of the United Kingdom. I have started the way I mean to carry on we made a short-notice trip to The Gower Peninsula in Wales when we saw the weather was going to be nice earlier this week. We re-visited a bed-and-breakfast, a restaurant and some coastline we had good memories of from almost three years ago. The two days away were a good template for further excursions we will make on top of the frequent trips to London I plan to continue well into 2019.
Coastline Near Worms Head
Oxwich, The Gower, Wales
Finally, although I’m still not ready to add a commitment to voluntary work to my 2019 objectives, I do think I should try to develop a plan for a plan for volunteering in the next year. I know that I should find time for ploughing something back and finding a new sense of purpose and so will look at some options. Frankly and selfishly though, and with the brief but quite intense experience of helping with the local village’s Neighbourhood Plan last year behind me, I don’t want hard new commitments to get in the way of everything else I am enjoying so much. I won’t be rushing into anything.