Living Within My Limits
Over the last 6 months of retirement it’s been an interesting process coming to terms with my limits. When I was working I was very conscious of my limited physical and mental stamina, but for some reason when I retired I expected this to increase. Well it’s now clear that retirement didn’t wave a magic wand, those same limits still exist, what’s improved is that I have less to do, so the limits allow me to do more of the things that are important to me. If we call those limits my available energy (it’s more complicated than that really) then I’m now able to spend more of that energy looking after my family and home and exercising, but I still run out of energy well before I’ve done everything I aspire to do. That means I have to spend quite a bit of the day pottering around on low energy activities or watching TV and spent days recovering after high energy hikes, cycle rides, anything intellectually draining or social activities. It’s taken me a few months to become comfortable with this, but now I’m very happy about it in a way, because it provides a fairly simple set of rules for me to follow.
The basic rules go something like this:
- Follow each high activity day with a low activity one to recover
- Don’t do more than 4000 calories of exercise a week, pottering around the house and walking into town doesn’t count
- Being in highly stimulating environments is just as tiring as high activity, trains, cities, supermarkets etc
- Build rest breaks into every day
- Within the constraints above, try to keep moving
Today was an example of these rules in action. Two days ago I had a very high activity day, hiking in the Lakes with Rob. This was followed by a low activity day yesterday, but I’d not fully recovered this morning and I over did it, eating too much for breakfast with Debbie (which was otherwise lovely) and then draining myself with a big shop at Morrison’s and then a top to bottom house clean. Not surprising then that my shoulders are playing up again and I have a migraine.
Back to my diary. I slept in this morning until 8:30 knowing that I was tired yesterday and felt very good when I woke up. Debbie and I took the car to Toby’s and we had breakfast, we had a quick walk along the prom and did a preparatory shop for our week of festivities. I was really nice shopping together for a change, I’d like to do it more often. When we got home, Debbie cleared out the fridge and I unpacked the bags. Sorting out the fridge is key as it’s a real challenge to do a lot of home cooking with our tiny oven and medium sized fridge, it takes a lot of planning and constant vigilance to stop ‘clutter’ accumulating in it.
I then vacuumed, cleaned all the hard floors, cleaned the bathrooms and toilets and the kitchen and did the ironing, before watching a new mini-series called Capital, a very interesting look at diversity of London life. I then baked some bread which Debbie, Anna and I munched down for dinner. Since Steph is coming home tomorrow, Debbie has been working hard cleaning up the study to create a nice living space for her and Graham, which will be nice.