semi-retiring, work life balance, lifestyle block living




New Zealand went into lockdown on Tuesday last week. The last time I was in lockdown was for five or so weeks last March/April 2020.

It is weird living in lockdown – almost other worldly. Where we live the traffic is always light; it is now even lighter. Working from home, mask wearing, social distancing, bubbles and sanitizing are the words of the day.

In spite of its challenges, this lockdown has completely removed any doubts I have been harbouring about retiring early. Indeed, it has categorically demonstrated that it is the right thing for us.

The fact is my enthusiasm and self-motivation levels have increased significantly this last week while at home, even though I am working remotely. I guess rolling out of bed at 7.30 instead of 5.45, and the no travel means I am not exhausted by the end of each working day.

Certainly this weekend, besides the never-ending cleaning and washing, I had the energy to finally start stripping the wallpaper in the kitchen, a job that I have put on the back burner for months. I also made bread, baked a slice, went for a walk, and spent quality time with the grandchildren in our bubble. I also managed to finish my book, and start on a new one. Bliss!

Bread – didn’t know if was going to be successful as yeast was old!
Wallpaper stripping – an OK job when you get into swing of it

The garden beckoned too – truthfully, I have ignored it since I started back full time 21 months ago , but this weekend, I rediscovered the itch to get my hands dirty working in it. Pity I ran out of time, but I now know that when I am no longer time poor, I will be out there getting it back into shape. Hallelujah!

Early retirement will mean we have to watch our dollars a bit more, but the man and I have no doubt whatsoever that the pluses of a more satisfying and balanced lifestyle makes this sacrifice absolutely worth it.

Roll on retirement.

Time to hang around the fire pit and toast marshmallows. The teenage grandson camped in the tent.

Sunday musings

Yesterday the man and I went to the library to get our fix of books.

Avid readers, it is not surprising that joining the library was one of the first things we did when we moved here.

And we have not been disappointed: our local library has a great fiction selection and a comprehensive non-fiction offering. The latter genre in particular hits the spot with the man who reads across many subject areas, including boating, engineering, biography, crafts, history, and travel. Occasionally, he will add a fiction book to his pile, but not often.

My taste is eclectic too. I read more fiction than the man. I read this purely for enjoyment, so it tends to be light stuff that I can either pick up and put down over the course of a week without forgetting the plot, or alternatively devour in a one-sitting marathon on a wet weekend afternoon. I like a good crime novel, but also read aga sagas, historical novels and some chick lit. Actually I read anything that takes my fancy! Like the man, I also take out non-fiction. This is often related to my latest information finding exercise and can be anything from how to prune a tree to a biography to history,

Which brings me to this week’s choice: I picked up a book* I had reserved by NZ journalist, Adam Dudding, about his father, Robin Dudding, who published the literary journal ‘Islands’ through the 70s and 80s.

I didn’t know Robin, or Adam, but I knew of them as they were a local Waiake family and I had been in the same year at secondary school as the second of Robin’s daughters.

I sat down yesterday afternoon and started to read it. I finished it this morning. It was enjoyable and thought-provoking – the measure of a good book.

My next read is called ‘Faith’ and is by Jimmy Carter. I am not sure how I am going to get on with this one, or the one I have about world religions, but I am interested in the topic. Why? I am working in a hospital where the pointy end of life and death is raw and exposed. Yes, it is often far from pretty, or fair.

But, much to my surprise, I have found many staff who are working with those who are so, so sick have some kind of inner faith. So agnostic me has questioned them and talked to them about what they believe and why?

So I have decided I need to read about it and learn more. And at the end of my reading, even if I retain my agnostic status, I will still hang out with my mate, the young chaplain, as she is one cool woman and definitely makes the world a nicer place!

*’My father’s island’ by Adam Dudding

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