Do you know, since I decided to keep you up-to-date with how I’m taking on retirement head on, I just haven’t had a moment to tell you about it!
I was going to tell you all about how clearing out my cupboards with daily trips to the tip and charity shop were in danger of becoming a full time job. And how I set about making my garden a nice place to be. And some of the lovely places round Yorkshire I’ve visited on days out. And the joys of reading and running a book blog - and some of the book-related outings I’ve been on and lovely people I’ve met through doing it.
And my new passion for healthy cooking. In fact, I still might when things settle down a bit
Keeping the house and garden in order!
What’s now taking all my time is what I’m calling “building a new life”. Retirement wasn’t a great wrench for me - I’d volunteered to leave before 60, counted down to the day, skipped away into the sunshine. But much later, in a pause in between all the dashing about, it just struck me one day that maybe 90% of my conversations take place on line.
Yes, of course I talk to neighbours, family, friends, people in shops - but just sometimes days can go by until I see another person
Now when the weather’s dreadful, I can cope with that - I’d rather do things round the house, watch films, read books, write the blog, spend (too much) time on Facebook and Twitter than venture out into the cold. But with the sunshine came the thought “I really do need to get out more”.
Ready to go!
I’m trying to lose some of the weight that’s steadily crept on - as it does - so I joined the gym at the leisure centre. On a visit to the doctor for one of those certain age MOTs, she’d given me a leaflet that gave me three months’ membership for just £5 - an initiative here in Leeds to get people moving - which covers the gym at off-peak times and unlimited classes.
If you’re a stranger to exercise like me, it might be worth asking at the doctor’s surgery whether your local authority does anything similar. I’m only using the gym so far, but I’m really surprised how much I’m enjoying it!
Gyms have very fit young trainers!
On my first visit, a rather nice young man in short shorts with tanned legs and an athletic physique showed me how to use all the equipment - worth the joining fee on its own - and I was off. He also worked out a routine for me that only takes 50 minutes or so - and wrote it down for me, as I’d never remember all the different weights!
Let’s face it, I’ll never be a gym bunny again (more a large and slightly slow-moving rabbit…) but I’m really quite surprised how much I’m enjoying it
During the day, the people there are just like me - slightly unfit, the other side of 50 - and I’ve had some lovely conversations while puffing and panting on the cross trainer. And the added perk is that the fat’s shifting more quickly too - and I might be shaping up my arms and legs a bit too.
Thinking “social”, the next thing I did was to join the local U3A - the rather more “friendly” name for the University of the Third Age
I’m sure many of you have already discovered it - it does, after all, have (at last count) 342,783 members in 959 U3As throughout the UK - but I think it’s simply wonderful. Wetherby U3A has over 70 active groups: just about everything you could possibly want to try is covered, from calligraphy to jazz, from art appreciation to how to buy and sell on Ebay.
I’ve started fairly slowly with a book group, a group that does theatre trips, another that takes in opera and classical concerts, and a few groups that do days out to historic houses and gardens… and I’m now contemplating a beginners class in Italian (many other languages available!), and maybe helping out with the computer classes.
The membership fee varies from area to area, but it’s really reasonable - and you then pay for outings or contribute to any overheads like refreshments as you go
Your local U3A might not be quite as active as the one in Wetherby - but go on, you’ll never know if you don’t take a look!
I’d tell you more… but I’m just off for a talk about holiday locations, picking up my next book club read, then down to the gym. See you later!