366 days of blogging and here it is, my final post. The end of the year in a life of a 60 years-old man transitioning into retirement. And what a year it’s been and how different to the one I planned.
Our last day of 2020 was spent enjoying the simple pleasures that Covid has forced upon us. A walk into town, a home cooked meal and a night watching TV. Quite a contrast to the first day, seeing in the New Year amongst a crowd of revellers in the Maltese capital Valletta.
Last night we lay on the sofa drinking wine, eating the final dry slice of Yule Log and the least favourite chocolates from the Heroes tin watching Britain’s Favourite 80s songs on Channel Five.
It felt a fitting end to the year, a reminder of simpler times when Sting could sing of a schoolgirl getting too close to her teacher, when Simon Le Bon’s flat vocals mattered not a jot and Rick Astley’s dancing seemed kind of cool.
We drifted in and out of consciousness agreeing that the 80s really did have the best music and lamenting the loss of too-soon departed music greats such as Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Prince and George Michael.
When it was finally time to announce the most popular 80s hit we were both sound asleep. This was 11pm and there was no way we were going to force ourselves to stay awake.
So a few, a very few, Happy New Year messages to close friends and family and then off to bed, only to be woken by the bangs and whizzes of fireworks confirming the end of this god awful year.
So what have I learned these last 12 months? What has the extra insight of writing about my life on a daily basis given me? In no particular order, here’s my ten take-aways:
- Take nothing for granted. The extraordinary levels of freedom, wealth and comfort most of us enjoy in modern Britain are unprecedented in human history. We should never forget that.
- Try to love the normal. However you live your life you cannot always be eating, drinking, partying, travelling. Enjoying your routine, your day-to-day is a crucial component of long-term happiness.
- Still dream, still plan, make sure all the fun stuff happens but value every minute when it does.
- Don’t count the days, make the days count. A bit of a cliché, I know, but counting down to the end of lockdowns or the start of holidays means you’re not making the most of the moment you’re in.
- There is too much bad news. Even when we’re not in the midst of a global pandemic it seems to me that our always-on media is fixated with the bad. Contextualise it, zone it out or turn it off.
- Don’t get wound up. There’s so little we can control. Accept that.
- Spend more time with the people who matter, family and the friends that make you feel good.
- Go out more, whether it’s just walking to the shops, digging the garden or running a marathon being outside for some part of every day feels good.
- Find YOUR purpose, don’t just fill your time. Work gives most of us something to do and payment for doing it. When retirement beckons you still need a purpose. Try and find whatever it is that has meaning for you, take your time, don’t just fill it.
- Thank your lucky stars you’re healthy and do all you can to stay that way.
Thanks to all those who’ve read my blogs – over 10,000 of you from more than 80 countries. Thanks especially to all those who have taken the trouble to ‘like’ them and to follow me on social media.
This website will stay live for another year and I’ll be checking in to the social media accounts from time-to-time so stay in touch and if you’ve found what I’ve written interesting or useful that’s great to know.
Happy New Year! Have a wonderful 2021.