Diary of a Retiree: Day 273

Mt Wombat Road

Fitness

While walking along the Goulburn River a couple of days ago, I realised I was getting a bit short of breath going up hills. I haven’t been doing much strenuous exercise in recent months and I think it is telling. So, I got on the bike for a 10k tester to see where I was at. I need to get the cardiovascular system pumping again! The legs felt heavy and I was puffing away on inclines that have never bothered me before. My conclusion is that walking is a wonderful form of exercise for keeping you active, the joints mobile and getting some fresh air into your lungs, but you most certainly need to get the heart rate up on a regular basis as well.

Getting back on the bike mid-winter around here is something of a challenge though. Even on this sunny afternoon, the chill factor on the downhill cruise was quite uncomfortable across my chest. I will need to pick my times and use the resistance trainer in between. Still, these are good options and I think I am in the right frame of mind for regular cycling again.

I also started a Quigong class a couple of months ago. This is an ancient form of Chinese martial art practiced in a fluid, slow motion, somewhat like Tai Chi. It is excellent for coordination, balance, mind / muscle control and range of motion. I am yet to remember the 64 sequential movements necessary to take myself to the most basic level of fluidity, but that will come in time.

Company

There have been quite a few visitors lately. The most recent, a lovely visit from Lyn, an old school friend. This weekend brother Keir and nephew Caleb are arriving for some riding and bushwalking. It has been wonderful to see so many friends and family make the effort to come here. We really value and appreciate their stays. Interestingly, I don’t always know the people that come. Recently we had a visit from Mitch (who used to work for Mary) and his wife Jacqui. In their mid 20s, I had only briefly met them at their engagement party a while ago.  What a delight to have such vital, intelligent, young visitors in the mix. They were great company and I really hope to see them again.

I love it when we have people of all ages come. Mary’s Melbourne book group is a case in point. 10 of them, half in their late 20s / early 30s, half in their 60s, are a highly entertaining bunch. I am lucky to be able to sit in when they meet at our place. Their birthday book club lunch meeting celebrating Darren’s 30th and Mary’s 60th was a real hoot. There was lots of laughter, perceptive book talk and conversations all over the place. I was sorry to see them go.

It is also great to see people arrive with their baggage and begin to leave some cares behind as they settle into the groove of just being here, no pressure to do anything, time to talk and walk, to look around, become part of the landscape and change down a cog, to begin to match the pace of the place. At least, this is the way I see it and I hope this is the way they find it to be.

 

Sean

Where Have I been?

Diary of a Retiree: Day 247

181 days since my last diary specific entry.

Where have I been?

I have had this question a few times. Maybe it is time to answer it. I have been in a headspace called preoccupied. A week or two ago, I had a realisation. I realised that I may have finally arrived somewhere else. Where? Well, I think I arrived at some sort of understanding or reconciliation with the fact that I no longer need to be preoccupied with the concept of working under the instruction of others. It has taken eight months.

Admittedly, particularly in the last five years or so, I enjoyed a significant degree of autonomy in my work – a very fortunate and often rewarding circumstance. On the other hand, I found plenty of reasons to be dissatisfied, especially when I felt outcomes could have been better. Instead of settling systems into place, I have seen widespread and rapid change with poorly considered impacts on work groups become the norm. The recurring, patronising platitudes and executive level incompetence I have seen offered up in approaches to radical change management have been gob smacking. I have felt stymied by management incumbents and structures that do little other than promote power plays, churn and corporate memory loss. I have seen stabilising, value adding loyalty between employees and employers evaporate.

I have worked with some brilliant people. I miss and take my hat off to so many of my ICU and HITH nursing colleagues for their enormous depth of experience, their vast reservoir of knowledge, their diverse skill sets, their advanced professionalism, their teamwork and individual initiative, their collegiality and their highly-developed sense of empathy and compassion. How blessed to work with such people! I have been Supervisor, ANUM and Educator working with some outstanding Nurse Unit Mangers and fellow Educators. Very sadly, after 36 years of working in healthcare I can’t make the same observations about the medical profession. I have worked with some good medicos, but as a generalisation, I would have to say self-serving and arrogant are still the words that come to mind. The medical culture is toxic to efficient and cooperative healthcare institutions.

So, where have I been? Coming to terms with the haunting of my working past. Lifting the weight of working to protect colleagues and patients from harm at the hands of my employers.

The frustration is fading. I am beginning to look ahead, toward the possibilities of the future. The new question is, where am I going? It feels like an optimistic one.