We moved to Kamloops in December 2004.
At that time I was grossly overweight, suffering with fibromyalgia and arthritis (walking with a cane for the most part), high cholesterol and high blood pressure, stressed out and depressed and totally unsure of how this move was going to affect me.
Today is 4 1/2 years later. I am down fifty pounds and still losing slowly. My cholesterol and blood pressure is under control. I still suffer the effects of fibromyalgia, mostly the lack of sleep, but the pain managment is working without heavy meds. The arthritis is still progressing and will eventually lead to knee replacement, but it's manageable. The stress and depression still poke their heads up occasionally, but now I have various methods of dealing with them...no meds involved.
The reason all of this came to mind, was that I was in the garden this morning and when we were finished, DH looked around and said...".it's getting there"....and it occurred to me, that for the first time in many years, I have had a hand in "getting it there" Gardening, in fact any outdoor activity, has been absent from my days mainly because of the inability to "get around".
I now can bend easily, dig, pull weeds, plant seedlings and sit and repot seedlings.....in fact, I am slowly gaining back some of the joys of gardening that I experienced many years ago. I have found that my most productive times for anything is in the morning and late afternoon. I need the downtime after lunch to recoup energy....and so...it's all about realizing how my body works and how I can get the most out of my day. We have even been taking long walks on the river dike by the airport with the dog.....and I'm not afraid to use my two canes to take some of the weight off my knees. I'm also not afraid to say when I've had enough and I sit down on the bench and peruse the scenery whilst DH continues on with the dog.
Granted, I still have days filled with angst and depression and stress.....but I also have tools to deal with it, which I didn't have before. It never occurred to me to journal or pray, or even just cogitate to ease my troubled mind. Those are tools that I have begun to make use of to push back "the beast". The winter up here is not helpful if you are prone to less than happy thoughts. When it gets cold (and I mean cold) I'm motivated more to stay inside and hibernate....which can be a problem. I tend to read voraciously in the winter and explore my artistic side in my workshop....more tools.....although I have been known to indulge in some Harry Potter movies!!
I have to say that music....playing in the Kamloops Symphony and volunteering with that organization... has also been a bit of a saving grace for me. Music has always been one of my main avenues to go down in stressful times, and I've not only re-discovered and revelled in the challenges of an orchestral musician, but I have expanded my listening to include various and sundry classical CD's. I am also not adverse to other genres....I have been known to dance (albeit carefully!) between my studio and workshop with music blaring!!
Retirement has been a challenge for both DH and myself. When two people are together all the time there are a few things that become evident. Conversation tends to lapse.....it doesn't seem necessary. Sitting on the patio with a glass of Chardonnay engrossed in conversation with your spouse isn't reality....at least not for us. We're just as happy sitting with that aforementioned Chardonnay and a good book, exchanging humorous quotes and commenting about jobs to do in the garden. However I have learned that if there was something I definitely want to discuss, the time to do it is in the car....that way he's a captive audience and I'm not competing with a book for his attention. Routine is a huge factor, and one which I abhor. It sneaks up on you without you realizing it. I realize that some routine is necessary but it's not in my personality to do the same thing everyday at the same time....so the conflict is there and sometimes it gets quite funny. Occasionally I do things differently just to jump out of the rut...so to speak.
When we moved up here, we had to start the whole process of making new friends and acquaintances....as happens whenever you move. The move, because of our location (and a spare bedroom), has caused us (much to our delight!) to become a stopping point for friends going to and from Lower Mainland and of course our children (and spouses) also have spent time with us here. Both of my brothers are now in Kamloops, so family dinners are a regular occurrence.....and we have a good neighbourhood, with watchful and friendly neighbours (who DH sees on regular walks with dog).... and a few friends who I had thought disappeared have reappeared in my life and we are becoming reacquainted!! So the blend of old and new friends and family is working well.
I have no idea how long we will live here....I don't think we will spend the rest of our lives here....but for now....life in Kamloops is good, all things considered!!