I Admit, I Use Discipline, I Think That’s What It Is

I’m retired and have been for seven years, from the age of 60. It’s quite probable that when I was at work they would have said I’d retired before that! I had the good fortune to be more or less my own boss, though I was employed, and I can clearly remember getting to a point months before retirement and thinking ‘why am I still working – relax.’

In the morning when my wife gets up she is well aware of my ability to feign sleep, suddenly waking up when the noise of a coffee cup rattles near my ear. I also manage to check out of one eye on occasion to see if it is a nice day or not, and also to check if I need to keep my eyes shut as my wife is still present!

If the day is a good one – that is, not pouring down with rain or freezing everyone solid – and particularly if the sun is out in a blue sky, I’m up with a fair amount of speed. If it is not so then the temptation to listen to the radio or read is strong.

My aquarium is in the hall, located just outside the bedroom. Even with my eyes shut, my ears are accustomed to check the hum from the equipment – it tells me if all is hopefully well, with the equipment anyway. I don’t absolutely rely on this of course, and do physical checks as well from time to time.

I’m not a lazy bones, honest, but there is one occasion when I sometimes have trouble. It doesn’t happen in the miserable winter when all is grey, though on occasion it might. It happens in the spring, summer and autumn, spring and summer being the worst.

I maintain my aquarium on a Sunday morning. This is ‘the day.’ One week it is what I call a full clean, when everything is checked, major items are cleaned and a seawater change done. The next week it is a short clean, when the glass is cleared of any algae, and the protein skimmer is cleaned (the skimmer is actually cleaned twice weekly).

So it is a lovely day. I have opened my eyes as coffee is about. Up I get having spotted the blue sky and I take the coffee into the garden. Everything is so fresh, and the warmth is very inviting. If is a short clean day then not so bad, cleaning algae off the glass and checking the skimmer takes very little time. I have to make myself get on with it though, and avoid thinking it won’t take very long so I can stay out longer.

It is the full clean day when the weather is wonderful. Why is it that everything is so extra inviting outside on that particular day? It always seems that way, and before long I get tempting thoughts such as missing one won’t hurt, maybe do it this evening, perhaps the weather will worsen later on in the day and the like.

So I do the clean, I go to it and carry out all tasks methodically without break. It helps that if the day is nice my ability to ’stay asleep’ is abandoned (much to my wife’s amusement) and I am up much earlier than I would normally be, perhaps two hours or so, around 7 am. The clean takes about two hours, particularly if I have to deal with some of those irritating aiptasia anemones – which I usually do need to (anyone got a sure fire way of getting rid of them once and for all?). So anyway, I don’t miss out on a good sunny day.

My wife usually stays in bed on these occasions and gets a long read in peace, with coffee delivered. Well, to be honest, coffee is delivered to her on more occasions than that.

So what’s the point then? I don’t know. Maybe I’m showing off my ability to feign sleep (not very successfully my wife would say).

Actually I’m just showing the ability of my 67 year old brain – it can work out that if I get out of bed earlier and get on with it then I won’t miss out on anything – and to check the weather forecast the night before.