With retirement comes a lot more time to complete unfinished works and plan new ones. I’ve had a few months to think about what I want to be doing with this new year, this new chapter in my life. Oddly, nothing jumped out at me as I might have expected. I guess it’s more about doing small things that will amount to a year of days filled with satisfying activities. I must admit that I’ve always enjoyed quiet, solitary activities like crocheting, sewing or reading. I even prefer taking long walks by myself. Yet, in recent years, I discovered that I am a very social learner, preferring group work or at least lively discussion on the projects I am attempting to launch. Luckily, my husband has a similar style and we can give each other long periods of companionable silence. This weekend has been spent mostly in writing, reading or completing another crochet project. I feel I should be more active or productive at least, yet the results of my efforts clearly show I am productive, if not physically active.
Over the holidays, I picked up a book to read in Mexico called The Happiness Project. As usual, I never did get a chance to finish it, but I started to reflect on what my own happiness project might look like. I know one thing about myself: although I like to attempt many different things, I am happiest when I complete them. Sometimes reading a book in its entirety is a big challenge. I just never seem to find the time to sit down for such a long period. It’s been a frustration to me since I had my children and used to sneak in a few moments to read while they were in the tub. Of course it was difficult to get the continuity of a book when I read about 5 pages per day if I was lucky.
In recent years, I discovered blogging, which is a reflective practice. I’ve gotten used to reflective practice while taking some of my Masters courses. For the most part, it is very satisfying, albeit time consuming, to keep up regularly. However, I am rewarded by pages and pages of great stories and pictures about my life in the past 5 yrs. It brings clarity to my fuzzy memory. I also “meet” some great people in this environment.
Back to upcoming projects – I was cleaning the camper the other day and found a bunch of road maps and tour books that needed recycling. I looked through a few and decided to store them on the bookshelf for future reference. While I was looking through the shelves, I decided to pull out a group of books I want to read or finish in coming months. Here’s my list in no particular order:
- The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
- The Scottish Prisoner – Diana Gabaldon
- The Time of Your Life – Margaret Trudeau
- Down Under – Bill Bryson
- Age Erasers for Women – the editors of Prevention Magazine
- A year in Provence – Peter Mayle
- Simply Yoga – Yolanda Pettinato
- 9 Years on the 7 Seas – Nor Siglar
It’s a rather diverse collection but it reflects my tastes well.
Another project that is ongoing is this blog as well as the one I write for CLEE Canada. I am trying to increase the readership and improve my use of social media. I’ve recently tried the paper.li app which is basically a compilation of some of my Twitter feed. Let me know if you like it by subscribing – https://paper.li/cteachr/1452908748.
Leon and I are planning more trips, of course. The first one should begin at the end of January. We are planning to drive south to San Diego, then over to Arizona to visit some friends, see a bit of New Mexico and perhaps make it all the way to the Gulf Coast of Texas, time permitting.
We are still involved with the riding association of Langley-Aldergrove, so we want to be back for some of those events starting in March. And then there are activities related to exchange teaching where we host teachers from other countries and help them discover our great province and country. The BC group is much smaller than the one in Ontario. I am trying to increase our visibility through social media. Right now I have the blog but am considering a Facebook page as well. It’s a matter of me coming up with a strategy.
Lastly, there are the ongoing crochet projects. So far, I’ve made a dozen hats for 25000 tuques – Vancouver. These will be distributed to Syrian refugees as they arrive in the lower mainland. And I will be attempting to make socks. It seems like a small and portable project that would be compatible with long drives.
I haven’t mentioned physical activity, I know. I hurt my toe in Mexico and it’s still not very comfortable to wear shoes, so long walks are not exactly what I am planning in coming weeks. We are hoping to bring our bicycles on our trip south though. That is always fun. And I am continuing my Aquafit classes 3 times a week.
There are a lot of other interests I haven’t been able to link to future plans, such as lifelong learning (do I go back to school? Take a few classes? Get a designation?), mentorship and volunteering. Perhaps the upcoming trip and a chance to complete some of my reading will yield more concrete steps?
I may have few big plans for this year but I’d say I do have a bit of a roadmap.