Just now I'm really keen to get focussed on what matters to me during the next two years.
The key event in the future is the start of my State Pension on 6 November 2014. My eyes are on that. It will make such a difference. A second pension will give me more spending choice, and the ability, at last, to save significant amounts towards all the things I'd like to do - or will need to do - by age 70. But I will not feel the full benefit of that greatly improved financial state until 2015 dawns.
So: two complete years ahead of watching the pennies! In the meantime I'm looking at what I can do to get fitter, make new friends, and travel extensively.
First, my diet. I've responded all too well to the oestragen sloshing around inside me, and it's been a losing battle to stay trim.
I've got to fess up, and admit that no measures I've taken in the last 22 months have done much to curb a steady weight gain. Yes, I've eliminated the sweet stuff from my fridge and cupboards. And I've tried not to overload my dinner plate. But my goodness I love my food, and my appetite is as brilliant as ever. So my weight has risen, and remained stubbornly high. It's now 95kg - that's fifteen stone! Heavier than I've ever been in my life. I really don't know where I put it all, because although I bulge here and there, I'm not exactly a blob. But my weight is unhealthy, and has got to be addressed.
I hadn't actually resumed strict calorie-counting, which had proved so effective in the run-up to my op in early 2011. It was a bother, but the discipline of it led to very good results.
So calorie-counting has now started again. This time using a convenient spreadsheet on my tablet, weighing and recording everything I eat or drink throughout the day. It's still a pain, all that weighing and recording, but it's revealing why I wasn't able to reduce my weight in recent times.
Basically, I was eating too much high-calorie stuff, taking in what I needed to maintain my weight, but not to reduce it. The steady-state intake level is presently around 2,300 kcals a day, given the light exercise I take. But I must have been exceeding that on many an occasion. So now I'm adjusting my diet and portions to get the daily intake down to 2,100 kcals - a 10% reduction. That's significant without being drastic. It's sustainable, and over time I will now certainly lose weight. And I will lose it faster if I step up my daily exercise.
I'm not aiming for instant results. This is a project for the entire year ahead. In particular, I want to go carefully on fat reduction. A few less bulges will be fine; but I mustn't lose those girly curves.
Second, serious exercise. I've first looked around the house to see what I can do at home at no cost. Ah, the spare steps for the caravan - perfect for step-aerobics! And look, an exercise mat I can lay on the lounge carpet for muscle-toning exercises! So now, after a light breakfast, I do 50 steps starting with each foot in turn, wash the dishes, and then lie flat on the mat and go through a further series of exercises to stretch and tone the muscles in my arms, legs and stomach. Afterwards I just move gently around freestyle to relax everything. It makes me feel I've accomplished something good.
As I feel fitter, I can do more steps and more mat-based stuff. I chiefly want to make myself supple and bendy. I don't want to build up visible muscles - I just want to stop them wasting away, and to give myself a bit more strength.
Exercise to build up overall stamina and to avoid breathlessness is something else again. So after 22 January (pension day) I'm going off to the leisure centre to renew my lapsed subscription, and join a fitness group or class.
Making new friends
Over the last year, some old friendships have become firmer, and some new people have come into my life. But I still need a wider local friend base. Joining a fitness group may lead to some new friends, and I would be delighted if I get to know some local natal women that way. I'm also thinking of looking at Meetup.com and other online sites that focus on social activities that both sexes can enjoy together, but not mere dating. I want to avoid dating, because I don't want a close relationship and all the intimacies and commitments that go with it. But an interesting set of amiable new friends would be very nice! And I'm quite capable of plunging in and finding want I want. Frankly, shyness is a luxury I can't afford.
I can't afford foreign holidays. Nor country hotel breaks. Nor even posh bed and breakfast. The best I can do is to hitch up the caravan and take it somewhere on the UK mainland.
Far and away the major cost of caravan touring is diesel for the car. The pitching costs are small by comparison. Roughly speaking, it costs me £100 to tow the caravan 400 miles. So I need £200 for a trip to the north of England and back. Phew! That said, I'm looking at two big trips in 2013 - a 'Wales tour' and a 'North of England and East Anglia tour'. With visits to friends and family along the way in both cases. These will eat into my holiday budget, so there will have to be fewer trips to the West Country. But you can't do it all.
So there you have it. Three broad areas to tackle in 2013: fitness, friends and seeing fresh places.
I hope the little Leica can handle it: my handbag-sized camera has taken over 36,000 shots since June 2009, and although it shows no signs of fatigue, it is not immortal. I just hope it won't pack in before 2015!