I am known for my relentless positivity. It has served me well at work and at home, even if it can be irritating for those around me. But I have to confess that this past week has been tough to stay positive, even for me. No family at Christmas. Significantly increased risk for me and others catching Covid-19. Friends getting sick. Our Orkney trip in January looking increasingly unlikely. Christmas is my favourite time of the year, and with my retirement this week it was meant to be special. I feel cheated.
But that is an unhelpful feeling for me. So I am determined to find a top ten reasons to be cheerful.
I am healthy and if we stay isolated I expect to stay healthy
I have many friends and family
I am super lucky to be able to retire at a relatively young age. Mandy & I look forward to many adventures.
I am so grateful to my many friends at NatWest for an incredible set of virtual leaving events.
I have had some amazing Christmases and will do so again
This too will pass. In just a few months we will look back on this sad time as something from history
Our Orkney trip has not been cancelled, just postponed, and maybe this takes the pressure off for when we move our narrowboat to England
We are still having a lovely day on 25th, when this blog publishes, with excesses of fine food, drink and seasonal cheerfulness
Zoom means we get to see as well as hear our relatives
The days are getting longer.
To quote Bollywood film “Om Shanti Om”: “Today I believe that just like the films, in life too, everything is okay in the end. Happy ending. And if it’s not so, it’s not the end. The film isn’t over yet my friend.”
I think I am from the first generation when IT was available to normal people. Yes I know about Bletchley Park and the first computers in Universities in the 1950s and 1960s But when I was about 16 I had Computer Studies lessons at my school, the first time they had been introduced. We wrote programs on Commodore PET computers – 2 kilobytes of memory and no hard disk. Compare that with the iPhone that I bought this week, with 256 gigabytes – over 100 million times more memory – in a phone.
In order to program these computers we really did have to understand how they worked. I progressed through a Computer Engineering degree to work in IT and I remember writing software in machine code using hexadecimal numbers, rather than a programming language. These days we get used to everything being really easy from us. I am writing this blog using a WordPress app on my iPad. The app guides me through the whole process, lays out the page and publishes the blog.
And yet, dig under the skin just a little and the complexities of technology remain. I bought the domain name petesblog.uk this week, and wanted to use that for the blog. It took me nearly a day to work out how to do that, working with my domain name provider, my blog provider, choosing domain name servers, getting stuck with cache held at my ISP and more. The complexities of some of the settings no doubt give me options but were well beyond my understanding.
Does this matter? I have very little understanding of how my car works anymore, but that does not mean I can’t drive it. But we are all so dependent on tech these days. As I was navigating the world of blogging on Monday, I was sent a gmail with a link I needed. The email did not arrive, not for once because I had done something wrong, but because google services failed for 30 minutes.
I have probably turned into an old fogey. I love the technology toys we have these days. But I do miss understanding how they work. How about you?
For nearly 20 years I have written a weekly blog in my work – at the Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Nationwide, the Co-op, Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest. Hundreds of my colleagues used to look forward to reading them each Friday.
I am now retiring and the time has come to go public with my words. For those that want to follow me, I will tell you stories of my retirement journey, currently planning to spend time in Orkney and then travelling the British canals on our narrowboat. I will also reflect on life lessons and what they mean to me.
I promise to keep my blogs short, and if they work, to write them weekly. They will make you smile, and make you think.