I seem to remember that a while ago I promised LesI would write about the good, the bad and the ugly* (I think there was a Les Dawson joke about ugly – see end) of retirement. The more perspicacious among you will realise that this weighs the odds two to one in favour of the negative side of life. Despite this I think I have managed to keep a fairly upbeat perspective on my retirement happenings. Generally in my retirement I’ve been seeking out the good and making it a part of my retirement life. That’s is until now. These last few weeks have definitely been a bit stuck in the bad and the ugly. First, there was the disaster of the vineyard. I’m not going to say any more about this because it merits and, will produce shortly, a blog all to itself. Then there has been the on-going saga of the jazz workshop. Actually things have been looking up here, albeit from a pretty low baseline. Again this deserves a blog of its own.

I know what happens when I feel life is weighing me down, I roll all the crap together and, as I’ve written elsewhere, I make one big, messy problem which appears unsolvable. When I get like this I lose my resilience and at the risk of repeating myself I intend to write another follow-up blog about resilience, a topic which has always interested me both professionally and personally. There would have been a time when writing my troubles in my diary would have been sufficient therapeutic support but not any longer. Now I feel I have to somehow commit my woes to this blog and thereby lies another problem. The fragility of life on the internet. This week my blog has gone wonky, as the tech people say. All my tabs, categories disappeared, I could not insert images into the blog, the blogs didn’t publish on one laptop but did on another. Of course I’m helpless, I have no technical knowledge at all. My only action is to email my tech guy like a whiney baby and plead for help and then wait until he decides to respond. I tell you I hate it, I hate the fact that my well-being (that term again) is in the hands of others, my self-esteem is bumping along the bottom and I feel at a loss to act positively.

I’ve added to my dilemma by spending quite a lot of what would normally be blog writing time by working on what I had hoped might be future E books, which incidentally, according to my IT guy, seem like a much bigger and hence more expensive venture than I thought and if they’re for free, not a good idea. Maybe I need to charge for them if I’m going down this road, just to cover costs. This E books idea includes working on my Better Thinking, Better Driving project which you might have noticed lurking at the bottom of the page on the right hand side of the blog and which I have offered for free to the ‘Think’ campaign run by Department for Transport, they couldn’t even be bothered to acknowledge my offer which also pisses me off. Which is why if I publish it, it will be as an E book and maybe one I charge for. Some people are sooo rude.

There’s no sense of completion in this aspect of writing, at least in the short term, no sense of discrete project, no feeling of having achieved something. Unlike writing a thousand word blog. Again bad for self-esteem. Anyway what this means is that this week I was down to my last blog. Not a good feeling for me. Normally I have 4 or 5 waiting to go and from which I could choose. Add to this the option of publishing another New Zealand chapter, or a ghost story or a yoga blog, well, you get the idea, a land of plenty. But not this week, this week has felt like a land of famine.

I’ve also undermined my efforts further by taking time out of my schedule trying to make some wine, again more of this in a later blog. And would you believe I’ve joined an on-line jazz improvisation class. Since I got my certificate from Coursera for song writing, you will remember, they keep sending me – ‘courses you might like’, and, low and behold, they sent me one about jazz improvisation. I said things had been going better in the workshop but my default setting is still that of moron who just happened to wander in off the streets or who was looking for picture framing class in the same building. So I thought maybe I could learn a bit on-line away from the class. But, and here’s the thing, I have decided not to take part in this course. I’m turning things down, not taking risks, not rising to challenges, which is not like me, at least not like me at my best. I also said no to appearing in a short video clip for a building society about being retired and while we’re on this topic this building society asked me to write some articles for them for their blog, but they have been ages in letting me know if and when it’s happening and this pisses me off a bit or rather it does when I’m in a blue funk, which I am or rather was before I started this piece of therapeutic writing. I feel a bit better now, so I’m not bothered about being their psychologist / retirement consultant.

Just one other whinge to do with my blog. A complete lack of comments,  when I get like this I get very negative, so negative in fact that for the first time since I started writing this blog I wondered why I did it. Why put pressure on myself when in all likelihood nobody gives a damn? I think I’ve gotten over this but, I’m not sure. Oh and I’ve got a cold – at least, not quite man flu but heading in that direction. Mrs Summerhouse acquired it on our short plane journey, that’s her theory and then she shared it with me, and now it’s all rolled into to my pot pourri of negativity.

So there we are my little cup of poison about retirement. Yes, I know there are far worse things going on in the world that make my small problems seem insignificant but I just thought I’d let you know that planning one’s retirement, having retirement projects, trying to be proactive and in control isn’t all a bed of roses, not all beer and skittles as they say in this part of the world. But you know I do feel better for having written it out of my head, for having made a blog out of my miseries. I’ve teased my big, messy problem apart. As I wrote earlier in this blog, I’m going to say more about this in relation to the idea of resilience. Hard work this retirement business at times though.

*To finish on an up-beat, I think the Les Dawson joke was something like, “I’m not saying my mother-in-law (inevitably) is ugly but when she comes in the house the mice throw themselves on the traps.” As best as I can remember.

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