So, what have you been doing after you stop working? That seems to be the most common question I get. It is almost as if people think that without a job, life would be meaningless. On the contrary, my life has been quite full and fun, until Covid19 which basically suspended all my activities, forcing me to stay home like everyone else.
After I started my career break, and before Covid19 lock-down, I kept myself busy and entertained. Top on my to-do list was to get mom out of the house more often. It was too unhealthy to be coped up at home watching those mind-numbing Taiwanese serials. Twice a week, I took her to the senior activities sessions at Brahm Centre in MacPherson. There were simple exercises, games, dancing and singing along with other senior citizens. Lunch was also provided, sponsored by Lee Gardens, although we were encouraged to do potluck for sharing. I usually bring biscuits or coffee bags. Sometimes I buy fried beehoon when mom decides to attend early enough for me to run to the market to pick up food.
Another top-of-the-list to-do thing is to keep fit. I aim for 7 to 8 hours sleep every night and go for two or three 1-hour Zumba sessions every week organized by the Health Promotion Board, which are all FOC. I even go on the treadmill in my condo gym for 30-min walk/run on some days. Eventually, I hope to swim laps in the pool. Might as well make use of the facilities that I am paying for in management fees!
I also hosted a few overseas visitors which gave me many fun days of sightseeing and eating. I had a Taiwanese friend in Sep, my sister living in the US visited Oct-Nov, another Taiwanese visitor in Jan 2020 and my niece in Feb. During this time, I managed 2 short trips – to Penang in Nov and to Jogyakarta in Jan – and several day trips to JB.
On one of these JB trips, I went in search of inexpensive sofa and dining sets because things are said to be so cheap in JB. But I found that after you add on the GST and documentation costs, even with free delivery, the savings do not quite compare to the pieces you get on sale in Singapore. In addition, these JB shops do not help you to dispose of your existing furniture – you need to make your own separate arrangements. So, unless you are outfitting a new house and it is not during the sales seasons, it can be quite troublesome. I finally decided against replacing my ceiling fans, AC and sofa and dining sets. After all, my sister’s HDB will be ready early next year, so I might as well wait to see what furniture and fittings she would need since it is highly likely that I will move in with her and rent out my place. If I buy new furniture now, it may not fit her new place and then if my tenant does not want it, I would be in a fix.
My 2nd Taiwanese visitor stayed with me for 3 days before her family joined her and then they stayed in an Airbnb apartment in Potong Pasir. Of course, Airbnb rental is illegal in Singapore, but that hasn’t stopped homeowners from renting out their place. I would like to do short-term rental as well, but I am too scared of getting into trouble with the law. Also, I am not so sure about sharing my personal space with strangers, albeit short duration. Perhaps once I am settled into my sister’s place, I will be ready to rent out my whole house.
My goal for 2020 was to learn new things. I signed mom up for a colored pencil drawing class. After attending the first coloring class, mom decided it was too difficult for her. She didn’t like having to DRAW the thing she was to color. Since no refund was allowed, I attended the class in her place every Mon. This was suspended after 6 sessions (I missed 2) because of Covid19. The remaining 4 sessions would be via Zoom.
For myself, I signed up for a 2-year TCM Assistant course at the Singapore College of TCM in Toa Payoh, which was supposed to start in mid-Feb, and a 10-session patchwork and quilting class at PA starting in Mar. The TCM class didn’t have enough students to start but they had enough for the 1-year foundation course. So, I decided to go ahead while waiting for enough students for the 2nd year course. This has since been delayed till May. So has the patchwork and quilting class. So, I wait.
Now that life has almost grind to a standstill, what do I do at home every day, besides watch TV?
- Exercise at home
- Read (and being read to)
- Spring clean
- Organize my digital photos
- Organize my bank documents and financial statements (and while I was at it, I read and compiled a good view of my financial situation)
- Renew old ties via email and social media
- Bake and cook
- Wash my car
- Write my blog
- Plan my next travel. I don’t know when I will get to it but there is really no harm doing my research now and laid out options.
I will expand on each of these in my next blog entry. Otherwise, this will become a very long blog! I welcome you to contribute more ideas about what we can do at home, especially for those of us not working and with no children and parents living with us. I don’t know about you, but I am still enjoying my me time tremendously!