I’m already missing the sun

I’m already missing the sun, there’s been no sign of it at all today and I can feel the lack of it in my soul.  I’ve just switched on my desk lamp to provide a pool of bright light next to me and it looks a little like the sunshine, but it’s a poor substitute.  I’ve always known that I’m affected a little by seasonal effectiveness disorder, but it’s misty/foggy days that cause me to clearly feel the affect.  That said I feel a bit of a fake sitting her complaining of feeling SAD after meeting up with Paul and working through with him a few strategies to cope with his depression, I hope I had some useful ideas but as with all issues affecting the mind there’s little that others can do to solve, only support.

I’ve been intrigued to see a little depression creeping into my life now that I’m retired, it’s replaced the stress that I had at work.  Work stress was associated with the drive to achieve things, it pushed me to make progress.  Sometimes that progress was difficult and elusive and the stress was a real issue, but while the lack of stress is great, the lack of drive to achieve isn’t.  It doesn’t really matter that much whether I do anything today, or tomorrow, or all week, no one seems to notice – or comment, I have to do things because I want to do them, I need to be totally self driven, I don’t do anything for a reward or to be appreciated, it all has to be for the love of doing it.

Sometimes it’s easy to find that love of doing, when the sun’s shining, I’m out with friends and family or I’m just feeling energised.  Sometimes it’s hard, when I’m tired and sore, when it’s raining, when there’s no one around to spend time with.  This is the price I pay for freedom, flexibility and the lack of stress in my life and it’s going to be a good tradeoff, but it requires daily discipline and effort on my part.  The only thing I truly miss about work is the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself, working as a team, that shared buzz and pride when a ‘plan comes together’.  I make plenty of progress now that I’m retired, but it’s mostly solitary progress, there’s no one to share it with, no one takes much of an interest.

I often wonder how others deal with retirement, there’s no training for it, no obvious support group, only a few books to read.  It seems such an important transition to manage well that I would have expected to be tripping over advice at every turn.  Instead I can sum up the advice I’ve seen pretty easily, find a hobby, keep active and be patient.  I like this graphic that I came across that I’ve found particularly useful:

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It charts the way a person should expect to feel after a major positive (solid line) life event like retirement and I think it tracks my feelings exactly.  At first I was giddy with excitement, then I settled into a blissful honeymoon period over the summer, then in September my mood took a dive (exacerbated by medication withdrawal symptoms), and now I should be at my lowest point soon to start confidently rebuilding my life anew.  If the chart is to be believed by spring everything should be fantastic.  I just need to stick with it for a few more months and keep using my well established strategies for living well.

So back to my day; I didn’t sleep that well last night, so I got up and watched an episode of the superb Escape To River Cottage for 30 minutes and then fell asleep quickly.  I woke at about 6:30, hit the snooze but still woke early enough to go for a bike ride before Caffe Nero opened.  As usual Caffe Nero time was spent doing my daily online chores and reading and then Paul arrived at 9:30 and we talked for an hour before he headed off for his appointment.

I then jumped back on my bike and cycled to Fairhaven Lake, around the lake and home.  My target for today was to fix the netting to one of the raised bed frames in the garden and to figure out an easy way of gaining access to the bed for picking and weeding.  I had enough netting and staples for one attempt and although I made a few mistakes I’m happy with the result.  I then pruned the raspberry beds, cleaned up all the dead leaves on and around the brussel sprouts, fed the worms (which are doing well), vacuumed and cleaned the floors, did the washing up, made lunch, made tomorrows smoothie mixes and watched an episode of Stargate SG1.

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I had originally intended to go shopping this afternoon to get some handles (for the raised bed frames) and some cat litter and food, but I realised that this would be a wasted trip as I will be driving past B&Q tomorrow anyway, so I decided to write this long blog post instead.  I’m listening to the Dixie Chicks, which is cheering me up nicely!

Debbie and I will soon be heading out to Toby’s for a meal soon and then we are hopefully watching the new Bond movie, Spectre at the local cinema.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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