I suppose you might call it that in the sense that for the first time in nearly five years I’m going to set a new target. In fact it is the original target of writing one blog a week as I believe it still says on my home page. I’m going back to my ‘once a week on a Tuesday’ target. For the last five years – nearly – since I retired I have been under-promising and over-delivering in the wise words of management guru Tom Peters, the author of Thriving on Chaos a bible to me in my role of one of the management team of educational psychologists. You probably wouldn’t know but EPs can be quite difficult to manage and in delivering a steady service to schools I found it paid to under-promise and over-deliver rather than the reverse.
So when I retired I applied the same principle to my blogs – promise one a week and deliver two. I have never been really sure whether this principle actually has any great benefit when applied to writing a blog but, as I mostly enjoyed writing two blogs a week, I didn’t agonise about it too much. Until now. As I wrote in my last blog I’m finding it a bit of a struggle to write two blogs a week now, so I’m cutting back. I think, at this point, I shall still post a blog on Friday but it won’t be a written one unless it’s a vineyard blog and after five years of those and 50 blogs when I publish the next one, I may be repeating myself in this area. Hard to say given the somewhat chaotic nature of the vineyard but, if I do have something to write about, then I will. And of course if so many exciting things happen in my retirement life that require two blogs a week then great.
As you will know if you read the last proper blog (i.e. not counting the cartoon one on Friday) I have been thinking about giving it up altogether but Mrs Summerhouse has persuaded me that writing a blog is still good for me if not necessarily for the world at large. She thinks it keeps me mentally active and, as we know, this is important when a person retires, it staves off the senility, dementia, Alzheimer’s and all those other good things, or so we are told. Yes, there are times when I sit staring blankly at the screen trying to remember a perfectly simple word, but mostly my retired brain works OK, not great, but OK.
As I’ve written before it’s not the actual writing that’s difficult it’s having new ideas or, worse still believing that the things that happen in our lives are any grounds for a new blog. So, on that basis, it will be interesting, to me at least, to see what the next five years brings. This month I will be 70, I don’t believe it, as Victor Meldrew used to say. That feels very old. I’ve never been particularly phased by the ‘big’ birthdays – 30, 40, 50, that type – until now. Now for the first time in my life I’m feeling that this is a birthday of some significance. Not least the feeling that we’re entering the home straight or whatever.
I’m thinking if I can chisel out another 10 years then I’ll have done OK and certainly when I was younger I used to think that 80 would be a grand old age to live to. Now, at going on 70, it doesn’t feel quite so fabulous, but yes, I think it’s still OK. At some point soon I’m going to try and plan the next ten years. Too ambitious, even foolhardy (no guarantees of course)? Maybe. Watch this space.
So in this new era of one blog a week comes the question, will what I write about in my weekly blog be qualitatively any different as well as quantatively different? Am I heading towards a decade, optimistically, of different events, will my retirement feel very different as I enter and pass through what you might call a second phase? After all I can’t continue to think of myself as a newly retired person struggling to make sense of being retired. I’m entering the experienced retiree phase and on that basis I suppose I might be writing in a different way about different things – maybe.
But I’m not 70 yet so, in the meantime, life goes on much as what passes for normal. Health, OK, wealth, OK, the jazz weekend was survived, the weather is helping the vines as you will see in the next Vineyard blog, the van project has struck a bit of a hiatus but I’m hoping that an upcoming sister’s weekend is going to help here, more of which at a later date. I still keep having those little bursts of creativity – London trip, Scottish trip, jazz summer school, blog book etc. – about what to do with my retirement life. I’ve still got that nagging feeling that there is something important missing from my retirement life. That old missing link. I’ve got a strong feeling that this is not going away no matter which retirement phase I’m in. I have taken the plunge and sent off my blog book manuscript but I still don’t have any idea of costs so even if they want to publish it might not happen.
I will just finish this blog by telling you what doesn’t change and that’s the irritations with the technical side of publishing a blog. I’m still having problems with my internet connection, it’s slow and quite unreliable and I’m no expert but this I believe is a bad thing. And then there’s the problems with my comments section. I like getting comments but I don’t get many. One reason might be that for some reason that is beyond my understanding, my blog seems to have banned certain people from posting comments. I have every reason to believe that these would be nice comments so I can only apologise, but what’s really annoying is that my IT chap seems unable to remedy this problem. I’d like to say it’s not my problem but it is. However, I shall keep calm and carry on, writing this retirement blog once a week. God, or whoever, willing.