When you’re retired you notice these things. I keep hearing ‘adverts’ on the radio about older people’s health. The importance of having your flu jab if you’re over 60 or have diabetes (both apply to yours truly), going to your pharmacist if you’re over 60 and have a cold or cough (because when you’re old it can turn into something more serious), even a bizarre advert about shingles which, apparently, you should be wary of if you’re 61, 62, 69 or 70. I may not have quite got the years right but there’s definitely a gap during which period you either don’t get shingles or are so likely to die of them it’s not worth having it checked out. I mention this because for the last couple of weeks both Mrs Summerhouse and I have had, and still got, colds which have laid us lower than in times gone by. And yes, we have been to the chemist as we used to call them. It quite gets me down and if I used the D word, which I don’t, that’s what I would say I have been. I’ve said all I want to say about the D word in an early blog but last Friday morning I felt very down in the dumps indeed. Weird in that I had woken that morning feeling physically better but definitely mentally worse, the complete opposite to how I had felt all week when I had felt strangely bouncy but physically crap.
So Friday morning I felt low but not so low that I couldn’t force myself to think about how I might counteract this debilitating state. Still managing to be proactive. What did I need to do about it all? I briefly thought of going out and buying another guitar but, as I’m into jazz piano and given I already have 20 guitars, 2 mandolins, a banjo and a violin, I’ve probably pretty got all I need string instrument-wise and we don’t need another piano more of which in a future blog. Nor could I think of anything else the buying of which would cheer me. So I decided we needed to move house, not as in sell and move but just to have a change of scenery and all that blather. In my younger days I would have recommended to myself some form of exercise to combat the D word but you don’t really feel like exercising when you feel physically crap although I completely support the idea that exercise combats D. So moving seemed to be the answer.
Usually in these blogs, and I know I’ve written this before, I will be reading the papers or the news on my phone and I will come across an article or whatever that prompts thoughts about retirement and this blog. I did it recently in my blog about living to 100, an accomplishment that seems even less likely this last two weeks than it did before and it didn’t seem wholly likely then. But in this case I had the idea that I would write a blog about keeping on the move or something similar and I stumbled across the following article in The Observer colour supplement. Underneath the headline Quick Steps to Mindfulness, an area I have asked Mrs SH to address in one of her future yoga blogs, was the sub-heading – from a heart-felt chat on a long walk to Dynamic Running Therapy, motion moves minds. I didn’t much care for the Dynamic Running Therapy but I thought there would be other useful information. I didn’t need to read far. The article began:
Movement is critical in our lives. Often in order to grow or to overcome strife we need a sense of undergoing a passage of transition. Movement shifts perspective and, in so doing, provides clarity, firing up hope, drive and possibility. This seemed nicely supportive of my need to move, certainly last Friday morning I needed a change of perspective but I didn’t intend to start running again (which is what the article recommended) but a change of house should do the trick. Admittedly in these politically correct days, having four properties when some poor sods don’t even have one, might seem a bit self-indulgent but they’re only small houses and one was derelict when we bought it and another an inheritance from my late mother, so four isn’t really a lot. Anyway, no time to get unhappy or guilty about this or further down in the dumps. Time to choose a property and move.
The Derbyshire cottage, about which I shall write shortly, was out because of on-going plumbing, electrical work, so that left two other choices – the Pateley Bridge cottage and the barn / vineyard. What the heck we thought, in for a penny, etc, we’ll do both. So packing the pups and all the supplies we needed into the Land Rover we set off first for the Pateley cottage, which was warm and civilised with all the different perspective I needed (it requires me to light a coal fire with all that that involves) and then to the barn which is neither warm nor civilised but, if you’ve read the vineyard blogs you will know does a hell of a good job on the perspective front, the view being magnificent. After a few hours of heaping logs on to the word-burning stove and turning up the Calor gas stove to maximum, it even felt warm, relatively speaking. There’s nothing like the threat of hypothermia to take you mind off of feeling a bit down in the dumps. We spent the night there and then moved again, back to the cottage, yep, we were on the move and although I still felt physically grotty I didn’t feel so terrible mentally.
I’ve written elsewhere in these blogs that the D word and retirement can seem like uneasy, or is it easy, bedfellows. Problems with your self-esteem, feeling useless and all that sort of stuff can make retirement a tricky time for some of us. I do actually think that keeping on the move helps folks like me and, I suppose, this is why lots of us retired people like to take regular holidays. We have several friends who, as I’ve written before, seem to live only for their holidays. Well, each to his own. We can’t do this but, as an alternative, we will keep moving between our properties and I realise that this is an option not open to all retired people but if you are feeling a bit less than chipper (the things I write to avoid use of the D word) then maybe just get off the sofa and move to another room. Retired people need to be creative in dealing with the downsides of being retired, and keep moving.