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Adjusting to retirement - and everything else

When we headed off from Australia, full of dreams and with four suitcases between us, we really had no idea what was in store for us. This first year has been an adjustment, to say the least. Before we left, we had only lived together for 8 months. As you know, those months were filled with stress while we finished renovations, had a honeymoon and tried to sell everything we had. Oh, there was also three months where I did a house sit in Vanuatu, without Marty for two of those months. We hardly had time to get used to living together when we started our life sharing a hotel room...

Fortunately we had apartments booked for the majority of our first year. It was a handy thing to have some space. Trying to get used to not having something to do was initially not something we thought about because our first year consisted of moving around a lot and seeing friends and family. Having said that, somewhere near the 6 month mark, we started to realise that having all the time in the world isn't a good thing. We got lazy and fat.

Since arriving in Phuket just over 5 months ago, we have been in hotel rooms. There was sufficient space for us, but the lack of kitchen meant eating out most of the time. Occasionally we (the Royal we... I mean Martin) made salads, but it's so cheap eating in Asia! We discovered fried chicken (from AUD$1.50) at the street carts, which was amazing, but didn't help our waistlines. The meals wherever you went were delicious, cheap (most meals, including a beer each was at the most AUD$20) and available almost 24 hours a day. Banzan Markets were the cheapest... I got a delicious curry with rice for AUD$2 and couldn't finish it. We also never had a set meal time, which I am certain isn't a good thing. We were sort of rebelling against the clock. Figured we can do what we want when we like. Stupid!

Due to the lack of kitchen, Marty had nothing to do. I'm usually fine, as I'm happy reading, sitting at the beach or by the pool, swimming or walking. So we sat around a lot. Teamed with food that contained a lot of salt and sugar (mmmmmmmm!) it's no surprise we gained kilos. Late nights, poor sleeping habits and a lot of booze just made things worse. When you're in your 50's you really can't live like a 20 year old and not show signs of deterioration.

Left to right from the top: 1)We had made up a Cocktail and our friend Rob at Gringo's (Phuket) added it to his menu. We're FAMOUS! 2)Some of the culinary delights in Lembongan - how can you say no? 3)The AWESOME team at Kalut Beach Bar in Langkawi - special shout out to Tam. 4)Another spectacular team at Ah Chong also on Chenang Beach, Langkawi. 5) The Place, Patong, Phuket. THB99 for awesome cocktails...say no more. 6) Rick's 60th after party at Wee Barr Chalong Bay, Phuket. Start at the Yatch Club - Taco Tuesday has a breakfast in a bag raffle. Worth it!

Fast forward to here and now. Bali, has been the place where, after a few false starts, we have finally started to look after ourselves better. Aside from catching up with my 'step Dad' who is here in Sanur at the same time, we tend to live quietly. We're drinking more water, less booze, eating less, exercising and sleeping better. We're getting there.

One thing we aren't doing well yet is appreciating our retirement. Well, we are as we realise that we are a tiny percentage of the world population that can do what we are doing without having to worry about anything. We appreciate that we are so much better off than most. What we aren't (in my mind) appreciating is that we have time. It's that one commodity everyone wants more of.

That's what I really mean about adjusting to retirement. We talk to a lot of people about it. Most agree that it takes up to 3 years to understand what to 'do' with all the new found freedom. I can see how some people don't last that long and end up either going back to work or at least working part time. It's the lack of routine that hinders most. I used to think how lovely it would be to get up when I want, do what I want, when I want, and now that I have it, I'm flailing around with no direction.

I believe everyone needs something that they must achieve. If not daily, then a few times a week. As I have not written for a while, I'm aiming to start by sitting down and adding to my dodgy blog at least twice a week. I'm fantastic at procrastinating, so I have to try small things first. Let's see how that goes.

As for my lovely husband, he is doing his exercise most days, which means I'm trying to do something during that time as well. I really don't enjoy being so soft. I like it less than having to do laps or squats and sit ups though, so here's hoping I get results soon. No, I will not be doing a before and after thing. I am way too vain for that. Instead, I have included some shots of us overindulging and being slack.....except for the one I obviously took while cycling. Let's see if I make it back here again and write some more before the end of the week.

Rent a bike in Sanur, Bali for around AUD$2.50 a day (monthly rate). Nice way to get around.

I'm writing this while sitting outside our hotel room in Bali. I think as a reward for getting back to my blogging I shall go for a massage. An hour for AUD$12! You can get one cheaper, but I found a brilliant guy, so I go there. I usually ay AUD$15 as I like to tip here. Keep in mind that the majority of workers in Bali make THB1,300,000 a month. That's less than AUD$130 so don't be stingy!

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