59 and counting…

Birthday dinner selfie

Well this week I entered my 60th year. How did that happen? To be honest, I felt quite sad and a little depressed briefly when I woke up. 60 years and I haven’t really realised my potential, or been really successful at anything…this is how the voice in my head greeted the day. When I voiced this train of thought to my dear husband, he quickly disabused me of those ideas, pointing out that we are living in Morecambe, are mortgage and debt free and that I was going to Windermere for dinner to celebrate my birthday with friends and family. Hmmm…ok then!

It is just so easy to fall back into old habits. To listen to those negative voices and let them take you back to places that are best left behind. But birthdays bring their own brand of reminiscence. They are markers in your life that resonate like the bongs from Big Ben.

BONG! Another year older

BONG! More wrinkles

BONG! More aches and pains

BONG! Less time ahead

BONG….well you get the picture.

It has not been a good week. We went off on our annual trip to Car Fest North last Friday. Yes, me in a field at a festival. Cool. Well it should be. The weather was rubbish, Nigel forgot our suitcase (honest, it was him – cue marital squabble on arrival) I got soaked through shivering at the side of a race track waiting for the husband to experience the ride of his life in a Mark 1 Jaguar with a lunatic at the wheel. I sat there in the rain for nearly 2 hours waiting for his moment of glory. Only to miss him in his crash helmet zooming past before I could get the camera out from under my waterproof (yeah, about that…) poncho where I was keeping it “dry”. I did see him, I just didn’t get the picture. Big time wifely fail. At least we were equal now, with him forgetting the suitcase!

Feeling fairly bad tempered I gathered up my things to retreat to a friend’s tent to wait for the adventurers return, and somehow managed to pull a muscle in my rib-cage while closing my folding chair. The rest of the weekend consisted of returning to Morecambe to retrieve the suitcase, and pain management, culminating in leaving the festival early and sleeping for several hours in our hotel room! Not the joyous escape from reality that this event usually brings us. And to top it all, I missed seeing my girl crush, Sharlene Spiteri of Texas. Heartbroken we returned home on Monday via a visit to the very first IKEA in Warrington. That cheered me up a bit!

But who would have thought that something as simple as a pulled muscle could cause such misery? This is the thing with growing older. Small things become big things. Recovery time is longer.

But I am better. I recovered in time to enjoy a fabulous evening with gorgeous people in a lovely restaurant in Bowness. Something that I would never have dreamt of just a year ago. Another reminder that dreams can become reality.

We have been existing in a bit of a dream bubble. It still feels a bit as though we are on holiday. As though at any minute we will be packing our bags and returning to our old life. Perish the thought! The days merge into one, week days and weekends, punctuated by dog walks to the sea, discussions about the weather and many episodes of Gray’s Anatomy, which has become a bit of an evening addiction. Oh and coffee, quite a lot of coffee.

With neither of us properly working there is no daily routine, nothing to drive us forward and motivate us. There are still plenty of boxes to unpack, but still decisions to be made about rebuilding the kitchen, and decoration etc etc. We have been ambling along, taking our time, revelling in our new life. But I am beginning to understand how many people hate retirement. Most of your working life you dream of having more time, not having to live your life by the clock. But when you have spent most of your adult life living by that clock, you enter a strange void. Where time zooms past without you really noticing. Minutes, hours, days, weeks. We have been here for nearly SEVEN weeks! Its weird.

We are less than a month away from our next visit to Greece. When we return after the break my new life will begin in earnest. I will be visiting Mum and Zoe for a couple of days before starting my coaching training course. At the beginning of October my new business will be launched, and Nigel will probably be working! It will be time to start living and working here, outside of our bubble, back into reality, albeit a much more relaxed and gentle one.

My newly set up office on the second floor is beckoning. Bright, clean, with a view of the bay. That pretty much sums up that new reality. I will be spending some time there in August, preparing for what is to come. And those negative voices? They can dissipate into the clean north western air out over the sea and not bother coming back. Well, until next August 3rd, the next birthday, the big one!

By the way – next year also marks my 10th wedding anniversary! There is going to be a celebration. A big one. And my new friend Alexa and I have started a list of 60 things to do in my 60th year. There were a couple camping at CarFest and the flag over their tent read “Adventure before Dementia” – they had a list and camping at a festival was one of the things on it. I am open to suggestions. But not camping or a skydive. Please!


Nigel with Grant Williams (the lunatic) and the Mark 1 Racing Jaguar
Words fail me!