Including the mistakes

19 February 2017
This time last year, Hanno and I set off on a three week book tour. We came home feeling happy and optimistic after having met hundreds of people around the country. We were also incredibly tired and it took a couple of weeks to get back to 'normal'. That arrival back home signalled the start of my retirement. I've been retired for almost 12 months now so it's time to think about how I'm going, if changes need to be made and if I can improve on what I'm doing. This kind of self assessment is ongoing because I want to be in control of my life. That doesn't stop the unexpected from happening but when it does happen, it's easier to deal with because I'm working to a plan which is shaped by what's happened in the past and what we need to happen in the future.
I guess the common idea of retirement is to stop paid work and then spend time relaxing with hobbies, travel, family and friends. I stopped working for a living many years ago and I concentrated my time and energy on my home. I reinvented how I lived. Instead of working for money, I worked to reduce the amount I had to spend by making, instead of buying, what we needed. I made a new life for myself by doing that, I became a different person too. The days when money and shopping were the focus of life stopped and a new era of self-reliance and productivity started. The change in mindset ensured success in this new life and I found that I didn't have to penny pinch and become an expert on shopping for bargains because the changes I made pushed me towards becoming productive at home instead. Laundry products were made at home instead of bought at the supermarket, food was grown in the backyard and not always sourced from elsewhere, food wastage stopped, recycling, mending and craftiness replaced the ingrained belief that everything valuable was on sale somewhere.  I discovered that real life and the things I needed to live it, were available right here in my home and I paid for them mainly with my time and effort.
A mis-matched bed is a pure joy to me. We don't need to have matching grey linen sheets with 20 pillows to be comfortable in bed.  All we really need is clean and fresh cotton sheets on a bed that is made every day. 

Now my life has slowed down a lot. I do what I want to do, I express my creativity in a number of ways and I think a lot. And while all that is happening, time seems to be moving faster. I guess it's a byproduct of ageing. Our ages dictate a lot of what we do now. We have to be careful not to get too hot or tired so we work and have breaks, many more than we once did. I think the key to successful ageing is to accept the changes that come your way. That's what I'm doing and it seems to be working. One thing is for sure, ageing isn't for wimps. You have to be tougher than old boots to survive it.

I think the retirement part of my life is working well.  I'm happy to get up every morning. The work I do in my home keeps me interested, I have the opportunity to spend time with my family and friends and I when I look back I feel satisfied with my life and how I spent my time. I can't say I never made mistakes because I made a lot but I did learn from them and I know that I am the woman I am today because of the way I've lived and everything I've done, which includes the mistakes.

So there will be no major reshuffle after this reassessment. I think I'll just keep on keeping on and this week:
  • I'll continue to plan my soon to be planted vegetable garden.
  • I'll try to track down and catch a mouse I saw in the kitchen. Ugh. 
  • I have to put pockets on all my aprons.  This is because we're training Gracie and I need treats/bribes to be close.
  • I'll continue with Alex's jumper that I cast on late last week. I'm shaping the raglans at the moment.
  • I'll set up Pocketbook - a budgeting app.
  • As part of the continuum, I'll continue to focus on needing and using less.
  • And, of course, I'll take time out for myself to think, plan, rest and appreciate what I have. If I don't value myself enough to do that, I might as well give up.
With the seasons about to change I guess there are many of us who are preparing for the coming season. What are you doing this week?