This is the penultimate blog in this year in the life of me – a man transitioning into retirement.
For the final two blogs I’m looking forward to next year, hopefully a better year, making a few resolutions. Today I’m thinking about health and purpose.
At my time of life, perhaps at all times in life, health is uppermost, without good health, little else can be achieved or enjoyed.
Most of my health-related energies have gone into running. Yesterday I achieved my target of 1000 kms in a year. I’m going to up it slightly this year and aim for 100 kms a month, 1200 a year. I’ll also vary my routes a bit more this year and do even more outdoor runs.
Trouble with running is it took up most of my energies and I really want to do something else that focuses on my upper body – core and arms. This is something I’ve consistently failed to achieve but maybe now’s the time. Today I’ll buy a Men’s Health type magazine and hopefully get inspired!
I’m also going to look at my Fitbit – do 10% more steps, get my resting heart rate down from 63 to 60.
Health, of course, is about more than physical fitness – it’s also about looking after your body generally – and how you’re feeling mentally.
I’ve started drinking more, this year. Weekend wine has wended its way into weekdays while gin o’clock now begins sooner. It’s time now to get a grip on this and so the year will begin with another dry January that I fully intend to complete. I’m hoping this month of abstinence will lead to a permanent change to my relationship with alcohol.
Just doing the above should keep my weight below 12 stones, something I managed to achieve until recent weeks for most of 2021.
My mental health has also taken a battering thanks to Covid’s impact on my transitional year. Too often I’ve found myself feeling anxious, just generally or about things that never used to worry me. I’ve not been sleeping so well either. This is going to be a tougher nut to crack – I fear!
One idea is to sign up to some sort of Zoom-based mindfulness or meditation class that I could do a couple of times a week. I’m sure there must be something. I also want to work on a more chilled mindset, just spending time doing nothing, no phone, no to-do lists, no TV. The new set of lockdowns predicted to start tomorrow should certainly give me the space to indulge this.
Continuing the health theme, I’m going to look into alternatives to our local doctors’ surgery where it is now very difficult to get in an appointment. Depending on cost I might look to pay for an annual health check or sign up for a service such as Doctor Care Anywhere.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned this year is that I still need a purpose. Work gave me one for 40 years, not so much through the work itself, but the drive it gave me to deliver an income.
Running my own business, as I still do, should have enabled me to shape my future, decide what to do and who to work for. The reality was that too much energy went into keeping key customers happy and covering staff and other overheads.
I’m glad those days are behind me now and that I now only work on projects, or for people, I like. Something I’m determined to make sure continues.
I’ve used the extra time and space I’ve had this year to start up a couple of other projects which should give me all the focus I need.
Firstly there is the political – I want to get selected and then elected – as a County Councillor. I’m some way on my journey with the former but the latter will be a much greater challenge. I also want to make progress in my role as a Branch Chairman and achieve the goals I’ve set myself.
The second is to write a book or more precisely co-write a successful book. Over the last couple of months I’ve been working with a former work colleague on the contents and marketing of a business book. We’re going to be writing a chapter a week for the next couple of months.
Both projects will keep me very busy and are things I’ve always wanted to do. They’re exciting and also have the potential to generate some useful and validating income.
Tomorrow I’ll look at my goals for my home and garden, relationships, travel, leisure and more and reflect on what I’ve learned during this tumultuous 12 months.