I'm spending a month in the UK, so I'm away from my normal routines. I missed doing my normal post last week, instead I found myself taking a nap on a couple of afternoons, and there was also some vegging in front of the TV watching things that I'm not really interested in.
In reality, none of these things are a problem. After all, I'm retired, so who cares if I miss making a blog post, have a snooze or watch some extra TV? Well, maybe the one person who cares is me - I want my early retirement to be active and productive (at least by my definition), and I don't want to find myself on a slippery slope to laziness and slumber. Believe me, I could easily head in that direction, even knowing I'd regret it in hindsight.
Routines might not be right for everyone, but I believe they can be a useful tool. We all use them, even if it's just to ensure we brush our teeth each morning and night. It might sound boring, but instead I see routines as a way to ensure I get to do the things I really want to do. I consider them to be a key part of my successful early retirement, which is why I've touched on the subject in a number of previous posts, including some of these headlines:
Routine can help with the transition from work life to retired life
We still have chores, and routine helps us get them done
Our retirement time is still valuable, and routine helps us to not waste it
Routines ensure that you do the things that you want
Nobody said that your routine can't include luxury
And your retirement routine can even include work!
These heading were part of a longer post from a few years back, Routine Early Retirement, in case you want to check out each heading in a little more detail.
In addition to routines, there are challenges, things that test us or take us out of our comfort zone. During our careers, challenges often come with the job, but they might not naturally form a significant part of early retired life. I feel some challenge is good for me, to keep my mind and body active, and occasionally taking me to uncomfortable places as I stretch to achieve an objective. Uncomfortable might not sound like a good thing to aim for, but what was uncomfortable one day can be more comfortable the next as we progress. I know that's not a good explanation, I just naturally think that being stretched and testing the edges of our comfort zone is healthy.
I promise that's not just made up so that I can talk about running again - sorry for regular readers, who have already had to listen to me droning on about my recent marathon!..but just in case you missed it, you can read it here. Anyway, three weeks after Lucerne Marathon, I ran a half marathon and got another new personal best time of 1:22:39. That's over five minutes better than my previous best, despite being four years older. It wasn't comfortable, and I didn't think it was possible, but I'm now very glad that I set myself a challenge of getting quicker.
For me, running gives me a whole bunch of benefits.
I make it part of my routine, it is one of the things that keeps me busy.
It can be a challenge. Whether that's simply ensuring I go out when it's cold or wet, or because I'm stretching myself training for an event or targeting a new time.
It helps keep me fit and healthy, and I believe that includes mental as well as physical health.
It's something that can be enjoyed alone, but equally it can be a good social activity too. In our town, Morzine, we're trying to get a weekly running group going. It's been great fun meeting new people, running with them and of course rewarding ourselves with a post run coffee.
It burns calories, so I can keep eating cake😁
To be honest, I can hardly believe I made that time, but now I'm wondering what else is possible, what will the next running challenge be?
So there we have it, a short post about two things, routines and challenges that are an important part of my early retirement - just enough to ensure I don't snooze this afternoon, gets me back into my blog writing routine, and sneak in another tiny bit about running🏃♂️