A retrospective

I’m just short of 11 months after I made the decision to start writing a blog. I initially took the decision based on the feeling that I had entered middle age, hence the title, after the children (who are no longer children) had flown the nest and I wanted to (a) find a new adventure with my wife (Karen) and I (Andy if I haven’t yet introduced myself to you) (b) I’ve forgotten because someone just sent me a Facebook message on another topic (c) the ambition to begin a new lifestyle where we worked for ourselves rather than a big corporation and (d) to document the whole thing since I’m getting forgetful in my middle age. So I decided to look back at the posts I’ve made and see how far we’ve come.

In my first blog I wrote that my ambition stemmed from a resolution a few years back to document my life from photos downloaded from my iPhone and, with my failing memory, document the new adventure and that remains true. I continue to use Instagram (@scottishram) and facebook (@Andy York) to document memories but think I want to go back to downloading and documenting pictures once a month after my recent experience of (mis)diagnosing past history of hard & digital copy photographic memories.

My memory isn’t as good as it was, but I put that down to age rather than dementia, ……. for now. I have also stated of the will to change life from a focus on work and earning dollar to one of enjoying the simple pleasures of friends and family. More simply experience over possessions, which has always been true for me but now is more paramount in weighing the money I have versus the money I need.

Karen and I set out in 2019 to sell the big house and find a new, ideally remote away from city life, home with the safety net of a flat in Glasgow (which son currently occupies) to fall back on in cold winters. We were successful in buying a flat for son in 2018 and selling the ‘big house’ in 2019 but have yet to find the next ‘home’ still in 2020. We identified somewhere we would like to live approximately 1 year ago and, whilst we continue to persevere, haven’t yet turned that into a reality. We both feel it’s close but not close enough to tell the whole story. Currently we have employed an architect to convert the flat to a two bedroom to better suit our future needs and are very happy for our choice in @hokodesignltd. Hopefully, in the coming weeks I will report more on future home and our choice of architect helping to build a bright future.

I have also written about taking time to enjoy what I have, simple pleasures is a phrase I have quoted many times. Life treats me well but I am acutely aware with death at a relatively young age for my parents and health issues experienced by my friends of a similar age to me that we all should be more focused to issues of health, friends and time together, recognising what we have, rather than pursuing greater riches and being grateful for that.

To that end I’m posting a photo of my afternoon pursuits that exemplify what I’m saying above. I’m currently without a contract of works again and whilst searching for my next employ taking time to do the things I love. I started the day with a swim, followed by a walk with my wife. In the afternoon I took refuge in the kitchen, indulging my passion for cooking. Very pleased with a dinner of potato and leek soup, roast chicken with a plethora of vegetables and what would have been a dessert of lime jelly and low fat chocolate mousse had the former set! Chocolate mousse from the James Haskell perfect fit book has become a firm favourite. All this whilst watching England versus Ireland rugby; I can see from the blur that my photography needs some work!

Many blogs have also featured my want to improve my health through better eating, more exercise and less TV watching. Karen has convinced me of the benefits of a plant based diet but I cannot fully commit to a vegetarian lifestyle. I continue to eat meat a couple of times a week to satisfy the craving but for the rest of the week we both enjoy my growing repertoire of vegetarian dishes that I am finding. Our current favourites being from the Hairy Dieters go Veggie. Both have found regimes that work well for us – I fast for around 16 hours each day whilst Karen uses Juiceplus products to great effect in her health journey.

Again whilst not working this month I have committed to exercise via a gym membership and spin classes, which I thoroughly enjoy. Well endure. I am very grateful that Argyll & Bute have a programme that allows me to do this at a reasonable cost and can see why those that have only private memberships to rely on think twice about such commitment. I recognise that I didn’t manage to exercise and eat well whilst working and need to figure a way to do this when I next find a contract – balance – as I put it in a previous post.

For my mental health the daily crossword has become much more a feature again and my memory has been jogged by a recent inventory of photographs. I have loved remembering past generations of the York family and, even more, reliving the memories of times when the children were younger. It reminds me again of adventures we have continued to have both in young married life and throughout our time together. The next chapter being exactly that, another adventure that has yet to be written. Our children have already started their own, new, adventures with their partners and that excites me as well!

I hope that in the near future I am writing of how we are fully converting our living to a new lifestyle in that remote location. That I am balancing work (that brings the finance to the start up of that life) with the healthy pursuits of gym and eating that I currently enjoy. Adventure awaits, of that I’m sure!

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