Reflections on Retirement – Looking back over 12 months

Now I feel officially one of those people who ‘do not have time to work’ ?

I had thought that statement was, at best, an exaggeration and, at worst, a comment made to make the ‘Retiree’ feel better about their ‘non-working’ existence. But – it is True, I never have a spare minute and still need to keep a diary, so I don’t double-book myself.

So, what do I actually do with all this time? I thought it would be useful to re-visit the past 12 months. Although I left work in the summer of 2017 there were a few ‘things to tidy up’ as well as planned family events so I only consider myself a retiree from November 2017.

I had planned two major activities for my first year – to renovate the house and to become a Lifestyle Blogger. Neither went to plan.

The house renovation is still ongoing – 12 months should have been doable. I watch ‘Homes under the Hammer’ where new owners complete amazing refurbishments in approximately 14 weeks. They obviously have secrets that they are keeping to themselves as I now accept I will be lucky to complete our house in 24 months. ☹ The main delay has been organising tradesmen – I have learnt that good plumbers, joiners etc have full diaries and you have to wait your turn. Patience is having to become a character trait.

The 2nd thing I have learnt is – nothing goes to plan and will cost nearly double the original quote. So far we have – fully refurbished a bathroom and the downstairs Washroom, had major roof repairs, replaced all external windows and doors, replaced all radiators, upgraded the central heating system from a one-pipe to a two-pipe system (no, me neither) and had 30 years of Ivy removed from external walls – along with 3 wasp nests.

I gained new skills by decorating 3 bedrooms – thanks to YouTube I learnt many ‘hints and tips’ to make a better job of this than would have occurred otherwise and now regularly use this website as a source of learning.

Still to undergo – refurbishment of small bedroom to a formal study, new staircase and major modernisation of hall and landing (sounds simple when the Joiner talks although I know it will be a nightmare!). A new sink is sitting behind the settee waiting for the plumber to find time to insert it into the kitchen – so far it has waited 3 months and I fear it will still be there at Christmas ☹

Designing and uploading a website was as confusing as I had anticipated so I completed 3 web-based courses and read 2 books on the process – then employed a web designer to complete the task. At least I understood the words he used even if I could never have done it myself. I do manage the day-to-day stuff which is an achievement. There is a lot more to ‘Blogging’ than I realised, and self-discipline is a must.

Alongside of this I have volunteered to take on two roles. I recently contacted and was accepted as a Regional Outreach Volunteer for the Silver Line organisation ( )  raising awareness of the work of the organisation to alleviate loneliness in older people. I also support the pre-retirement course presented by Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Mental Health Foundation Trust to members of staff shortly to retire, sharing my experiences both in planning my retirement and of retirement itself.

I have joined some local interest groups, to ensure I leave the house, to support my ‘Blog writing’ and to keep my brain active. So far, I regularly attend a local Book Club (which has widened my reading material), a local Writing Club (which has improved my writing style – I hope) and a local Family History group (offering insights in the local area and its ‘people’ history as well as providing an opportunity for support in researching my own family history).

And – I never turn down an invitation to go anywhere. Unless, of course, I already have something in the diary.

I challenged myself to achieve ‘Stuff’. There were two main targets – general fitness and driving anxiety. The first involved completing the ‘Couch to 5Km’ challenge (  ) – follow the links to the tale of my achievement. Now I have to maintain fitness!

Secondly, I aimed to regain confidence in driving longer distances and so widen the opportunities for walking in the country etc. For many years I had only driven from the house to the local train station. So far I have driven to York (120 miles round trip) and to IKEA at Gateshead. This statement, I know, does not look much of an achievement but I have a bad history of driving north on the A1 and so this has become a road I avoided with a plethora of excuses, it was a bigger challenge than it sounds – but I did it and without a panic attack. Much to the relief of my passenger! And then we had the joy wandering through the store gazing at the number of items we had not realised were essential for our well-being ?

So -is retirement what I expected? Yes and No

I expected to be able to ‘do stuff’ that working prohibited, which I have done to the point my days are full and I looked forward to the weekends to relax. Except I manage to fill them as well! I also expected to have excess time to do things that hadn’t occurred to me – like laying on the sofa, eating chocolate and watching daytime TV. Luckily retirement has proved too consuming to be that boring.

(PS- have you noticed the content of daytime TV adverts? Funeral Plans and Chairlifts! Someone needs to have a word with Advertising Executives)


Photo Acknowledgements:

Man using Phone – Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Person Running – Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

House renovation – Photo by Milivoj Kuhar on Unsplash


Author: Terri Larcombe

Terri is recently retired and commenced this site to share her experience of retirement, both as an information resource and a Lifestyle Blog

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