dEAr diary ~ mEAndering and rEAsoning

Life has been busy recently but today, right now, is the start of my new journey.  We have a bit of a gap this week between our commitments and obligations – paid work is behind me, at least for the moment,  though I haven’t as yet ruled it out altogether and I just need some me time, time to think or rethink my life, time to ponder and reflect.

We had a lovely few days in Yarm with my mum and we took her to see Mount Grace Priory which is nearby.  If you are ever in the area then do go and see it – I found it a fascinating place.  Most of the priory is in ruins but they have reconstructed one of the 25 monk’s cells to look around, however, don’t be misled by the term ‘cell’ as they are more like small houses which served as a private monastery for each monk – 3 rooms downstairs; living room, study and bedroom with a private chapel and a large work room upstairs for spinning and weaving. Outside each house had a walled garden to grow herbs and vegetables and a covered walkway to the latrine as well as a private cloister for meditation. I imagine they were pretty comfortable living here.

The Carthusian Order is a solitary order and the Monk’s spent many hours each day in prayer and meditation with vegetarian meals being brought to them and left in the little hatch to the side of each doorway.  Only on a Sunday did they socialise and pray together.

I was quite taken by the peacefulness and simplicity of the place – set in beautiful surroundings and everything in the house made of natural materials (no plastics to be seen) which gives it a very earthy, solid quality that feels timeless and you are left in no doubt that as it has been there for many centuries already quietly following one season after another, it would still be the same many more centuries ahead.

Compare this with my lifestyle at the moment and my own abode – I have to confess I am in catch up mode, as my house is basically a mess added to which I have no idea on our financial situation, our diet is not as healthy as it should be and I am desperate for sleep and rest as well as exercise.  I feel like I have just completed a marathon in the last three weeks and my lack of posts and comments are proof of just how busy I have been.

After leaving mum we collected Little L on the way home to stay with us for a few days.  Each day we packed a picnic and set off for an adventure.  We didn’t have to go far – a few swings, a river to paddle in and ducks to watch and this is more than enough to keep a 4-year-old content.  On the final day we baked buns and made jellies with custard topping all decorated liberally with sprinkles.

After taking Little L back to her mum we came home and just flopped on the sofa and watched TV too exhausted to move!   It has been a long and tiring few weeks and I have been yearning for a few days rest and time to gather my thoughts.  I desperately need to change all this busyness for a calmer, simpler lifestyle but with so many conflicting demands I know it won’t be easy.

I don’t doubt there are many of you reading this that can identify with my plight – ‘not enough hours in the day’ syndrome.  My challenge now is to turn this around one day at a time and get my house in order.

To help me capture my random thoughts and tasks I bought some of those coloured index cards, from a well-known store, each of the four colours representing a major area of my life.

I have chosen pink for Health, yellow for the Home, blue for Finances and green for Self, Lifestyle, Hobbies and Socialising.

I have made a start giving each card within the category a sub-heading such as meal planning, skin care, exercise or decluttering and these will be the areas to focus on at some time as I get to them.  This may all seem a bit drastic but for me having the cards is a bit of a prompt and I like to get my thoughts and ideas down on paper so I can see clearly what I need to do;  declutter, clean and maintain – with what I would like to do; sketching, gardening , healthier lifestyle.

It is all a question of balancing.  At this present time my life feels very unbalanced and reactive as different situations present themselves.  I am struggling with minor health issues that I want to address to prevent them turning into anything more major and I often feel daunted by the amount of tasks and maintenance that needs to be done.

I have until the weekend to make a start before we have my mum for a visit over the bank holiday and possibly followed by Little L again.  So next week will be a slight interruption to my plans but come September my time will be my own once again.

One of my first tasks is to go through my kitchen cupboards and check for food going out of date and restocking.  I am not sure what I will find lurking at the back.

Have a lovely day – back tomorrow x





4 Replies to “dEAr diary ~ mEAndering and rEAsoning”

  1. I think the cards are a splendid idea – I wish i had thought of that!
    I faded out of teaching rather more slowly – I had a temp contract of a day a week for half of the first retirement leave to cover maternity and I then went in to ‘help out’, something I still do. But, like you, everything felt a mess and I dealt with that physically by taking one room at a time and de-cluttering. I also took on a half share of Beth’s allotment which we now co-own and that got me out a bit. It took me a while to sort finances out but eventually it all got dealt with.
    I still think my life is a bit cluttered but it’s a nicer clutter than it used to be and keeps me busy and usually very happy. Maybe I don’t need a grand aim!


    1. I had cut down to 3 days but found this a worse position than working full time or even 4 days as everything happened on the two days I was off and I felt quite out of touch at times with other people making decisions on my behalf that I had then to try and work with and it became too hard to manage a team this way. My leaving was much more sudden than your phase out but I decided it was the right thing to do as I was frustrated both at home and work. At the moment I just feel like I am on holiday – not even sure of what day it is!!


  2. The discombobulation you are experiencing is perfectly normal. Not sure I know anyone who has retired that doesn’t experience that to one degree or another. Your previous schedule is no longer relevant, so the pattern of your days is disrupted. Think of this time as resetting your mind/body clock. The note cards are a good idea for someone who is a visual thinker, which it seems you are–probably has something to do with you being an artist. The cards, and the thoughts on them, are a way to organize the picture (painting) of your life as you would like it to be. Given how well you sketch, I think you will find yourself in a better place (physically and emotionally) before too long. But don’t hurry this process. Take your time — maybe create a little ‘monastery cell’ of your own. Try not to take the former pace of work demands with you into this new phase of your life.


    1. I am starting to go through some kitchen cupboards – even this is hard work deciding what to keep and what to go – I am finding I want to get it all done quickly but I really need to pace myself more.


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