Sunday, 15 January 2017

My New Year's Revolution

Here we go- stream of consciousness time.  This post will be written and posted sans editing, sans pictures just straight and raw. An idea and a feeling that just needs to be put out there and gap created for me to rethink and come back afresh.

A couple of weeks since my last post and this being a retirement based blog, a few people may have thought, "Oh poor John, long time since his last post and he is at that difficult age when anything can happen, well I hope he he didn't suffer...." but they would be wrong. Feeling fit, dry January and a shiny new exercise bike; all good in the physical shape department. No, the gap in posting has a different cause or rather many interconnected causes.

  1. My last post was about co-housing. Great idea.  My post was intended to bring it to people's attention.  It's a relevant subject. All fine, noble and worthy. And yet..... My partner had a read (she doesn't leave comments on my blog, rather tells them to me face to face), I asked for her views.  Well written she said. Ok, said I. But what did you think? Well, she said, (long pause), it was a bit dull wasn't it?  After several days of indignation and hurt pride I  realised she was right.   It was a bit dull.  I had several other posts in the pipeline; all noble worthy subjects; the scandal of the group of women in their early 60's who will not get their state pensions until 66 despite them banking on receiving it when they turned 60, my voluntary work and the organisation I work with.  All interesting topics, all needing careful research and some crafting but essentially articles about stuff that's out there and about which plenty of other people have written. 
  2. Linked to the above is the re-evaluation of what a blog or my blog should be about.  I started with the vague notion of writing about issues related to my newly established position of being retired. So you start writing and reading other blogs. Some blogs are like extended Facebook posts.  Today I did this, tomorrow I'll do that. Here's a picture. Or you cover topics; what to do with your pension, maintaining health, the meaning of retirement, nostalgic meanderings. For me I was finding it difficult to establish  a style.  Do I write article type posts or go for personal diary type posts; go for laughs or keep it serious? Then a deeper concern hit me.
  3. The title of my blog.  I started the blog at the moment I retired as I thought it would be interesting to chart this new phase of my life.  As I have now been on this phase for 6 months  I realise that it is very narrow to be defined by being retired. Yes I am retired from full-time work but  I am very busy doing various types of work, both paid and unpaid.  Being retired is a small part of what constitutes my existence at this point in time.  I want to write about things that have nothing to do with retirement and yet my blog title in itself could be a barrier to potential new readers. I suppose it's simply that being retired is no longer the big deal that it was for me 6 months ago and I no longer want that to be the overarching theme that I write about.
  4. Time.  6 months on from retirement as a full-time educator I have established some new work and interests. Drama teaching, working as a volunteer with  people in crisis, learning Spanish, and wanting to set aside time to write extended pieces outside my blog.  These developments mean I can no longer allocate as much time to write the kind of posts that I have been writing. And do people still want to read these types of posts?
  5. These ideas and questions have been floating around for the last two weeks. I started a couple of posts but my heart was not in them. They have been deleted. It was writing for the sake of writing because that's what you do when you have a blog.  It started to feel a bit false. I do not want to become a blog slave. Then I watched a film called Anomalisa by the incredible Charlie Kaufman. Stop motion film and yet one of the most human films I have ever seen. A  film that stops you in your tracks and makes you question why we all do the things that we do.  The main character goes through the motions, playing his roles in the manner expected and yet his life is hollow, devoid of passion and real connection to others. That does not describe my life, and yet it made me question some of the things I do.  Why are you writing the blog?  Who is it for and why are you being so cautious?
There it is.  A newbie blogger's existential crisis. The outcome? I shall stick with my blog's title for now but I shall move away from defining myself or the blog entries in relation to simply being retired. It's narrow and restrictive.  The blogs will be looser, more spontaneous but hopefully more personal and heartfelt. I may lose some readers but gain new ones.  I shall stop looking at the stats. That's not what this should be about. For me it is going to be how I feel. It may get opinionated, even confrontational.  I hope it will sometimes be funny but it will, I promise, always be me and always be real.

Thanks for reading.