There are some circles you cannot square.
I am 62. On my 66th birthday I will be eligible for free bus travel. Until then I am not.
My husband is older than I am, so he already has a free bus ticket, but he almost never uses it because he prefers doing things by car.
We live in a sprawling coastal town with steep hills. Our house is at the top of a hill plunging down into a beautiful park. Walking in the park is nice but there's an almighty hill to climb whichever way home you take.
My work is very sedentary, and doesn't pay much so I have a small income so I rarely go anywhere. Holidays, trips out, weekends away, are not a thing in my life. I don't mind this at all — I have a very happy life, and I have certain health routines that make staying away from home a problem. Also my legs aren't good for sitting in trains/cars/buses for any length of time. My feet have to be elevated or ambulant. But with all this not really doing much, I notice my muscles atrophying significantly as they do in people of my age group. When I climb a set of stairs the muscles in my legs burn. When I climb a steep hill I feel like I'm going to die. I need to walk more. But I need to increase it gradually, starting somewhere flat. The seafront is flat, and long; perfect. But the seafront is about two miles down the steep hill at the top of which we live. By the time I got there I'd be knackered. Too tired to walk by the sea. And then I'd have to walk the two miles back up the steep hill.
Ideally I'd catch a bus down to the sea front, walk a couple of miles along it, then back up the hill as far as the station and catch a bus home. Which I will do, once I've got my bus ticket. In three years time.
I can get a monthly (paid for) bus ticket which gives travel at a reduced rate — £56 for 28 days. I have a special card for this, and can top it up online. You have to allow two days for any top-up to take effect. How the hell do I know if I will want to go for a walk in two days time? It might be bucketing with rain, I could be right in the middle of working on an important bit of text while it's still in my mind, there could be a notification of an Amazon delivery...
Alternatively, I could buy a daily rider for £4.50. Today the sun is shining. I want to go down to the town to buy some tooth powder from the new scoop shop. I don't know how much the tooth powder costs, but it'll be very expensive tooth powder indeed if it has £4.50 added to it for a bus ticket, won't it?
I could walk down, but there's that very steep hill to climb back up, and I just feel too old and too tired. Unless I'm with someone else and we can walk home together. Which scenario does not exist.
My husband points out to me that on Friday we will be going down to the town to get my mother's groceries and I can get the tooth powder then. I know this, but the reason I want to go down on the bus is so I get the exercise of walking to the bus stop, then up the hill to the station in town to get the bus up the big hill, then walking home from the bus stop. It's easy enough to get tooth powder, but I want a reason that will take me out of the house and make me walk. But not if it trebles the cost of the tooth powder — that would be silly. But will I have any muscles left at all by 2023 when I can have a free bus ticket?
I walk to Asda, which is at the end of our road — not much of a walk but at least it means moving instead of sitting still, and it's not at the top of a hill that feels like it's going to kill me.
I think I'll grow a beard and develop a deep voice and use my husband's bus ticket. That would solve the problem.
Well, I wrote that yesterday afternoon, then last night my blood started clotting in my leg veins. When this happens I can usually fix it with yarrow oil, which is brilliant and fast, but I've run out — got some on order but it won't arrive until Friday, so I've stocked up on aspirin instead and drinking lots of water. I do have yarrow in the leg ointment I make, but sometimes you need the undiluted and undispersed stuff put straight on. And of course there's none growing in the garden at this time of year; the juice from the plant doesn't pack the punch of the essential oil, but it works. Anyway, it kind of solves the conundrum — nothing like agonising pain when you try to stand up, as a gentle reminder from on high to drink more water and get some exercise! 'You've gotta move when the Spirit says move.' I went for a walk late, when it was starting up, but the thing goes inexorably through its course. I have, as you might say, varicose veins to die for. I'm going to get that bus ticket...
... I made myself some rosemary tea, took some cayenne pepper, went for a brisk walk round the park as soon as I could actually stand on my legs, pinched some hawthorn tincture from Ted the cat (who has a heart murmur), had some raw garlic, and all that has helped considerably. I think it was the long evening sitting in uncomfortable theatre seats at the ballet, and travelling to and from on the train, that probably set it off.