Sunday, 13 October 2019

My day-to-day life

A lot of friends have expressed concerns about how I would cope after retirement, and I won't repeat my grand plans, some of which I am already successfully implementing, but will attempt to give a glimpse of a retired academic's day-to-day life, to keep you all reassured that I am doing fine.

I get up at seven, just as I always did before. I cook my breakfast. I have had the same breakfast for the past twenty years, except I used to have a slice of ham, and I don't anymore. My breakfast consists of freshly pressed orange juice, cottage cheese, a boiled egg, three vegetables and coffee with frothed milk. I drink my coffee on the balcony, and if the weather is bad, in a sofa in my sitting room. I don't read or surf during breakfast or any other meals. I eat sitting down and set the table nicely (see Gatehouse rules, still valid).

Then I check my email and social media, still wearing my fluffy bathrobe. The amount of work-related email has magically dwindled. Private emails are mostly invitations to various events, which feels good. I spend some time on social media which includes news and features.

Then I shower and dress (see Gatehouse rules). Depending on the planned activity of the day (see below), I either go off to the relevant activity or do something at home or go for a walk. I have mid-morning coffee at 10.30-ish, again, sitting down and not doing anything else. I have a biscuit with my coffee. If I am still at home, I do whatever I am doing (which can be work-related, like reading student drafts or writing references), taking short breaks every 30 minutes to take out garbage, prepare a meal, clean the bathroom and things like that.

For lunch, unless I go out with a friend, I have a home-made soup or a hearty salad. Then I go on doing whatever I was doing, with breaks, etc. I may go and get groceries in the afternoon. I haven't yet managed to sync my consumption of eggs and oranges so my shopping is irregular, as demand dictates. Otherwise, if I haven't walked in the morning, I go for a walk in the afternoon. Sometimes I have a goal, for instance, return library books and borrow more. Sometimes I make up a goal or just stroll around. If I am at home around three, I have fruit. Occasionally, I feel like having a cup of tea, but for me tea is a social thing, not something I do on my own. The Swedish Consumer Board recommends three snacks a day, but I really cannot see where I could squeeze another snack break. For dinner, I cook something nice. I have almost stopped eating meat, but I eat fish and allow myself to buy fresh fish from a local fishmonger every now and then. I have become really skillful at cooking for one.

 Monkfish cheek on a bed of spinach

After dinner, I might make miniatures (which I probably was doing in the afternoon or even the whole day) or read some more social media, or write. By 8-8.30 I am usually tired and call it a day. I have three bedtime choices: watch a movie, read or listen to music. I rarely do more than one of these things, and I have periods when I just do one of them every evening. I watch movies on my computer, and I read and listen to music in bed. I don't do anything else while listening to music, and I never listen to music while doing something else, particularly not when I am walking. I also write my journal before lights off, in a nice notebook with a nice pen.

Regarding my weekly activities, on Monday mornings I go to gym in town, a bit far away to walk, so I take a commuter train, which is more convenient and faster than the underground. I am back in time for lunch (and my, am I hungry!). On Mondays, I water my plants. Sometimes I have to water them more often, but it's good to have a fixed day to do it so that I don't forget.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I walk with a group. Tuesday walks are longer and more demanding, and if they are more than 10 miles, that's too much for me. Thursday walks are shorter and classed as “easy”. Some require travel to the starting point. However, unlike my Rambler group in Cambridge, they never require a car (I found it frustrating that fifteen people would drive thirty miles to the meeting place in fifteen cars). Sometimes I walk on other days with other groups, depending on what's on offer. There is always something on offer. I am getting to know people. I have already been asked to become a leader. I said not yet, but maybe later. 

Every other Wednesday I go to a concert. I have bought an expensive subscription to the Concert Hall, but if you spread it between individual events, it's not too bad. And I get 15% off other concerts. If there is no concert, I may go to the cinema, and there are theatres as well to consider.

I have no regular activities on Fridays, but there is a lot to choose from. I walk either in the morning or in the afternoon and do something else: make miniatures, meet friends, go to a museum, or write. Most museums in Stockholm are free, and those that aren't often have one day a week when they are free. Since I can decide when to go, I can choose a free day. I have bought an annual senior pass to Skansen.

On Saturdays and Sundays, if there is no interesting group walk, I go to flea markets and car boot sales. There are several choices every week. Even if I don't find anything, it's great fun. If you wonder what I am looking for, it's mostly plastic and wooden dollhouse furniture that I can upcycle, but occasionally I find treasures. I am also looking for various recyclables for miniature-making: cheap scarves, men's ties, lace and other fabrics; buttons and junk jewellery, and various odd objects I can turn into something interesting.

 Found at a flea market on a lucky day

On some Saturdays, I attend miniature-making classes or get-togethers. I haven't yet started studying a new language, attending cookery classes or volunteering at hedgehog rescue, because I have been quite busy as it is.

In between, I meet friends and family.

While you may think my life is monotonous and boring, I find it peaceful and enjoyable. 



Stroppy Author said...

This does not sound monotonous. It sounds enriching and nourishing for the spirit. I am pleased to hear you are doing well, Maria.

Anonymous said...

What are you writing, asks Lydia