What are we going to do with all this future?
I have 2 weeks left at work before my sabbatical/early retirement and people, my colleagues, even my own mother are asking what I’m going to do with all my time.
For the first week at least the answer to that question is “absolutely nothing”. We are flying to Cyprus the day after I finish and we intend to sleep, sunbathe and enjoy the all inclusive cocktails. It’s been a long time since we had a holiday that involves just sitting around. Originally we were going to go to the Caribbean this winter but for just a week it seemed extravagant and after having such an amazing summer last year, I think we weren't so desperate for the Vitamin D as we usually are.
The gap between me finishing work and us going away wasn’t supposed to have been so tight, as I was originally going to finish this coming Friday, but we needed to find the right replacement for me at work, which took longer than we thought. It was really important for me to find the right person to take over from me. I’ve loved my job (mostly) and I wanted to leave everyone in a safe pair of hands. We interviewed 12 candidates, before we found the right person. I feel confident she will fit right in. I actually think that going away immediately after will work out brilliantly because I will be completely removed from the situation and won’t be worrying.
But what next?
We already have a few trips lined up; after Cyprus we are doing a driving tour of the north of England, up into Edinburgh and back through the Lake District, taking about 2 weeks in May and hoping that last summer will make a reappearance. In November we are off to South America. We’re also spending our time planning for next year’s big tour, driving across America together.
It’s that trip to South America this November that has focussed my mind though.
So my first six months off are going to be spent on me. My health and fitness. The trip to South America will involve hiking and snorkelling and quite frankly I can’t climb stairs without getting out of breath right now. Because of the trapped nerve I suffered at Christmas I haven’t been able to exercise since December; It shows and I’m fed up with it. I know these days we’re all supposed to say we don’t mind being this shape or that shape, but I mind. I feel unhealthy and the issues caused by weight in middle age are well documented.
So, once we’re back from Cyprus I’m taking stock. I won’t be surrounded by biscuits, chocolate and cake all the time (perils of office life) and I will be able to go to the gym at least 3 times a week. We are bringing my bike down from Norwich so we can go cycling together. I’m going to continue with the Yoga I’ve started and my physio says I can start classes again.
I’m very aware that I’m in a privileged position here;I won't be ashamed of that, and I don’t want to squander it. My mum and dad had 2 years together in retirement before his dementia ruined it all. All those things they said they’d do together one day now never to be done. This has been forefront in my mind for some time.
So I’m heeding Mr Hugh Laurie and seizing the opportunity we’ve been given. Because you just never know.
“It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”Hugh Laurie