Now that all my group activities have been suspended and required to Stay at Home like everyone else, am I still enjoying my retirement? Yes, I am, although I do worry about my mom and sis who live 15-mins drive away. I miss not being able to join them for dinner every day and not being able to bring mom for her activities. Most of all, I feel bad for not being able to give my sister a break from mom. It is tough putting up with mom’s negativity and complaints all hours, every day. Like many others, I hop the situation will improve soon and we can all return to our lives.
In the meantime, let me share more about these activities that have been keeping me occupied and entertained. Of course, I do spend quite a bit of time watching TV and movies online as well. People who knows me know that I LOVE movies – I am someone who can watch movies that I like over and over again; like, Iron Man (all of them), Toy Story (all the sequels), Forest Gump, Bourne Identity (all the sequels), etc. I never get bored.
- Exercise at home regularly. I used to walk about 45 mins to clock in my 10,000 steps, on days when I don’t have a Zumba session. But now, with the crowd and virus situation, I don’t even venture outdoors. Instead I now spend about 15 mins every morning doing floor exercises. Best time now to work on my core muscles and flatten my tummy. The picture shows all the variations of plank. I usually do about 3 mins of elbow plank and 2 min of side plank, 1 min each side. Trying to work up the strength for leg raised plank – I haven’t been able to last more than 10 seconds! After the planks, I do about 10 mins of stretching exercises, varying it with leg lifts and scissors up and down 5 times. My focus is trimming my tummy. Sometimes in the afternoon, I would do an hour of Pilate from an old video that I have or sweat it out on Dance Central games on my underutilized X-box.
- Read (or being read to). I don’t even have to go to the library anymore. Using the Overdrive app downloaded on my phone, I borrow ebooks and audio books from the National Library for free. I can borrow up to 14 books in total at any one time. It is so easy and once I am done, I can just return these books to the library on the app. Even if I forget the due date, the app will automatically return the books for me once they are due. I only need to delete the “Expired” books from my “shelf”. I have enjoyed so many romance stories – such a sucker for romance in the olden English times with dukes, duchesses, earls and marquesses, and gowns, gloves, balls and carriages. Oh, so romantic!! More seriously, there is so much to read to keep up to date with the developments relating to Covid19 in Singapore and around the world.
- Spring cleaning. It is a great time to clean out the storeroom or kitchen cabinet or wardrobe. I find that there are always things to throw out the longer you have stayed in one place. Or, perhaps it is time to change that old drawer lining. Or, throw out some old clothes, socks, shoes, underwear, etc. No better time than now to put your house in order. A word of advice – go at your own pace. There is no need to get through everything in one go. What I do is, I target one area to tidy up each cleaning day; and I only clean my house once a week – I don’t want to be a slave to my house! So, one day I tackle the kitchen; another day the cabinets in the living room; next the storeroom; then the bedrooms, and of course the bathroom cabinets and shoe cabinets. I estimate that I would probably need a couple of months to get through everything because when I don’t have the motivation to do it, I wait for the next cleaning day! I need this to be something I enjoy doing – it cannot become a chore, or I will lose motivation.
- Organize digital photos. Now, that is a project that will consume many hours because I have photos everywhere – in my old phones (I have 3 of these!), current phone, camera (yes, I do have one still!), not to mention the many physical photos that I have in my cabinets. My Google drive is full, and I know my One Drive and Dropbox are also full, with many repeat photos and albums all over the place. So, I know a clean-up and good organization is way overdue. As in spring cleaning, I too need to do this over time so that I don’t become overwhelmed and lose interest. I think it may take me a few months!
- Put paperwork in order. I know most of us have gone digital, but I am also quite sure a lot of us still have many documents and financial statements filed away from years gone by. It is time to clean these out and throw out outdated documents. And while I was doing this, including annual reports from companies where I had bought shares, I started to compile a list of my investments and savings. By going through all my old paperwork and throwing out some, I am now clearer about my financial situation. In the past, I had always relied on my Relationship Managers or some bank notifications to keep me informed. Now, I am in a better position to ask them questions and keep track of what’s due and when. More importantly, I know when investments will mature, and money will become available. For a retiree, this is important because I can plan travel and major expenses accordingly.
- Renew old ties. It is difficult with social distancing but with emails and WhatsApp, WeChat and Telegram, it is now so easy to get in touch with contacts, even if it is just to ask if they are doing ok. Remember, our friends may also be feeling isolated and struggling to find things to do. Let’s help and be there for each other.
- Cook and bake. I don’t use my oven nearly often enough but now that I have inexpensive boxes of muffin mixes that my niece brought from the US in Feb, I can look forward to more baking. I typically cook on Sundays for my family but now, I also cook on Fridays when we don’t have tingkat service. Looks like I will be dropping off the food for the time being rather than join them for meals. Regardless, it is time to expand my repertoire of dishes and I am in search of recipes of simple but nutritious dishes to cook for my family. Suggestions anyone? Non-spicy (for mom), no pork (because the domestic helper cannot take pork), low cholesterol (for sis), and easy to chew (for mom).
- Wash my own car. It is so easy to go to a car wash but by washing my own car, I save money, get some exercises in, and have a sense of achievement when I see a clean car in front of me. I only wash my car like once every 2 or 3 weeks because I am just too lazy. Sometimes, when there is a heavy downpour, I drive my car out just to get it wet so that all I need to do when I come back is wipe it down. I don’t even worry about soap! Being kind to my hands.
- I should be posting more blogs now that I have time to sit down and write. But to me, writing isn’t just a function of time. It is also a function of inspiration, which seems to come from within. I can only promise to keep trying.
- Plan for the next trip or project or whatever. It doesn’t hurt to be ready. Once the Covid19 situation improves, there will be pent-up demand for all sorts of things. So, why not take the lull time now to do some planning and online research. For me, I would like to see the Northern Lights at some point, and I know a friend of mine was in Iceland to do just that with his group of friends last year. He has kindly sent over all the info he has from the trip and I am going to read, research and plan my own itinerary. So exciting.
Share what else you can do at home during this difficult time. Together, we can live and love the journey.