Retirement blog reviewing 2018 Every year about this time I write, it’s about that time of year again. Which is an awkward way of indicating it’s time to review the year of 2018 which has lasted about 8 months or so it seems to me, certainly hasn’t been the full 12 months. Only an idiot would think it so.

As regular readers will know, in order to ensure this exercise is carried out with complete objectivity, I consult my diary, see above, to first, measure the year against my goals for the year set back in January and second, browse the pages at a more general level to get a sense of how the year has been.

And I should of course be describing the activity not simply as a review of the year but more precisely what kind of retirement year has it been? In the scheme of things, how did this last year match up against the notion of the perfect retirement? Accepting of course that such a thing is impossible. No such thing as perfection and all that malarkey. Still it’s interesting to reflect on the idea if a perfect retirement year is a 10, then where on that scale would this last year rate? Mrs Summerhouse with her tediously upbeat view of the world gave it a 9 when I asked her. The rating can’t be wrong although you do have to give it pretty much the first number that comes into your head otherwise procrastination and dithering on one hand and careful reflection on the other combine to render you decisionless. Think too hard and you’re doomed. So 9 it was for Mrs SH.

Myself of course a more balanced (some say miserable old git) kind of guy might just have squeezed it up to an 8 but 7.75 feels more like it. So between us you can see we’ve come up with a reasonably decent retirement year. The question then is why? Well first up, nothing terrible has happened, at least not so far. Don’t want to tempt fate but so far, not so bad. In the positive column, we’ve sold one house which is good. At one point we had hoped to sell two houses but that didn’t happen and now that it hasn’t, we think that probably this is a good thing. For a deeper insight into this apparent contradiction see my de-cluttering blog above. In this way the failure to sell becomes a positive for the year as well as the success in selling. If you follow my drift.

Right up there, alongside house selling success, is our performance in the vineyard. Simply put, we’ve had our best year ever. Granted this isn’t saying a lot given the harvests or lack of we’ve had so far in the five years we’ve had the vineyard, but there’s no denying it was a good one. In true Yorkshire fashion I can hear the ‘ah buts’ but that’s the way of it. For the full story of the ‘ah buts’ you need to read the last vineyard blog. What I will say is that there’s definitely a downside to having grapes which briefly put is that it’s going to cost us quite a lot of money I reckon. But that small matter aside, the grapes are in the positive column.

Then there’s the jazz. Granted it went a bit wobbly half way through the year when I left my Otley group but picked up nicely when I re-joined the Heart sessions this time as a keyboard player (last time in this setting I was a guitarist). A definite downside this year has been my arthritis in both ring fingers which have impeded my guitar playing but not, on the positive side, my keyboard playing. So I’m snatching victory from the jaws of defeat at least as far as I can. See last jazz blog for further insights into this retirement area.

The fingers etc bring to the next important review area – my health. I’d be the last person to suggest that my health is significantly improved over the last year but I’ve taken back some control in this area and you know how I feel about that. Specifically I’ve lost about 3 and a quarter stones (about 20 kilograms I think) from 15 and a half to 13 and a quarter, roughly speaking, by controlling my calorie intake. In turn I’ve stopped taking insulin, at least thus far. Another example of some positive reworking of a bad happening with the medical experts.

I can’t say my fitness levels have greatly improved but I’m still walking the dogs a couple of times each day. I’m definitely wobblier on my feet these days but perhaps this could be positively reframed as meaning I walk further as I rarely walk in a straight line. How I laugh but I admit the spectre of Parkinson’s hangs around a bit. My grandfather had it, so who knows. My rating of 8 might drop a bit next year.

It’s true that elusive, well it would be wouldn’t it, missing link, the one that will make my retirement perfect, is still missing. I often think it is to do with our lack of proper travel and we’ve done our best to travel with the pups – Ireland in May and the dreaded Scottish caravan trip in September. Throw in London, Scarborough, Ravenscar and our trips between properties and it’s not been too bad. Not great, but not bad.

I suppose this blog, another key part of my retirement life, hasn’t been too shabby. It feels to me like a 5 out of 10 maybe a bit more. On the positive side I’ve written over the last year probably 80 or 90 blogs of, what seem to me, good quality. On the negative side my readership figures remain modest although consistent. As do my subscriber figures. It seems every time I gain a subscriber, I lose one and so the overall figure remains irritatingly about the same. But I keep writing. I said a while back I was only going to write one blog a week. I’ve sort of done this but perhaps it’s significant that many weeks since that decision, I’ve continued to write two. So I must like writing whether people read it or not. Mrs SH says she admired my ability to come up with new ideas and I think she’s right. So overall a positive.

And there we have it, 2018. I said, at the beginning, in the past, I’ve reviewed the year against the goals I set myself. Hard to do this when you haven’t really set any. The more retired I’ve become the less inclined I am to set myself goals. Make of that what you will. Looking at the start of my diary for this year, there’s some fluffy stuff about relationships, health, finances, that kind of thing although nothing about embracing becoming 70, which both of us have. But overall I’ve done what I can to be a reasonably decent kind of retired person alongside Mrs SH who is of course a decent sort of individual. So, as I say, 2018, not too shabby, maybe an 8.

Have a good new year from The Summerhouse Blog.

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