Grandpa, Billy and the Museumplein

16 Feb 2021 / Topical / Blog Henk

Last week I celebrated my birthday. Not at home this time, but somewhere in the south of Limburg with my wife. It wasn't an escape, but when we're at home the kids come by, and we wanted to stick to the guidelines more or less. Two wonderful weeks in Limburg. Hiking, good glass of wine. That of the wine that was legal though. I had already completed the first IkPas period of 30 days. It was great that our grandson Billy, 7 years old, just showed up on the doorstep. After all, school was online and that is also possible with grandparents in Limburg. They also have wifi there. Billy is a football player, goalkeeper and tough defender of FC 's-Gravenzande. He had his football book with him and I think at least 500 pictures. "Put it all in grandpa". 400 pictures were of course duplicate, but you have to figure it out first. A day job I can tell you. I had to do something for it, but Billy is for Ajax. The whole family, except for a few black sheep, is for Ajax. The nice thing is that we secretly played a game with a Feijenoord ball on the museum square in Amsterdam. Well secretly…. “Grandpa I am Berghuis, and then you are Dumfries”.

I saw a group of boys, black hoodie and a familiar logo, quickly look back.

A Feijenoord ball, Berghuis, Dumfries and that on a Sunday on the Museumplein in Amsterdam. Could have been an exciting day.

A Sunday on the museum square, playing football, that grandson (and of course my other grandchildren) was the trigger for me to think about my alcohol use. 4 years ago my employer offered me to retire. Of course I couldn't pass up that opportunity. State of affairs then? 94 kilos, a glass of wine every day, and a bottle on weekends. I soon thought that if I continued like this I would soon reach 100 kilos. In the distant past I did a lot of sports. Running, half marathons and once a whole one, but due to a chronic injury to my ankle that was no longer possible. Free time means more time with the grandkids, more time doing odd jobs with the kids, and that means you just have to be fit. On Saturdays fresh and fruity to football, handball or swimming lessons. Do the garden during the week, or do one of the other 1000 chores with the children. The conclusion was clear, things had to change. It was clear that I didn't want to be an old grandpa, and that the grandchildren would say "careful with Grandpa's big belly".

Step 1 was a radical one with no alcohol Monday through Friday, Step 2 moderate on the weekend, and Step 3 was the most challenging one hour of exercise every day. Letting go of the alcohol takes discipline and I benefited from developing that discipline by exercising regularly. In January 2018 I participated for the first time in Dry January, and in 2019 I also did the 40 day challenge right after it. Now 3 years later I am at 85 kg, (almost) no belly, and I trot after a ball, swim along, do a handstand against a door, and therefore sometimes fall asleep on the couch exhausted. You can also enjoy without a glass of wine. IkPas has been a fantastic challenge for me for the last three years and without doubt a support to change my lifestyle. As of today, I'm participating in the 40 day challenge. And you too. Good luck!

More about Henk

Hi passers, I'm Henk Spraakman, 66 years old, and this year I've been married to Bea for 43 years. I am a father of 2 sons and have beautiful daughters-in-law. I am also a proud grandfather of 5 grandchildren. I retired at the end of October 2016. I worked for a large oil company for 36 years, the last few years as a manager in the Intellectual Property department. In recent years I have worked for the professional group of administrators working in this sector.

My life is first and foremost about my family, and now that I'm retired I of course have time for that. Going out with the grandchildren, going on holiday together, that's the best thing there is. That is also my challenge to participate in IkPas. Staying fit to spend as much time as possible with the family, and especially with the grandchildren. The grandchildren are between 4 and 10 years old so we have a lot of fun, play games, soccer, stand upside down, make the craziest antics and we are supposedly very serious when we are busy on the IPad. I also have various hobbies such as reading, history and every now and then I write an article about the Second World War. I am also secretary and treasurer of the Foundation Old Indies Meppel Foundation. A busy life with fun, but also with very serious aspects. There is of course also the great alcohol temptation. It is of course great fun to open a bottle of wine with each other, or to pour an old drink if a serious conversation is being held. After all, we are retired and it should still be possible.

As a retiree I want to live a good life for as long as possible. Can I influence that? You can't control everything, but I think you definitely have influence. Rhythm, food, alcohol, there are plenty of hijackers on the coast that you well being can influence. We probably know the headlines: Alcohol problem in the elderly or alcohol abuse by the elderly. Is there really a problem, or are the media making a problem out of it? In the coming weeks I will be allowed to write a blog during the 40 days challenge, and as an 'experienced' retiree I want to write about that.

Not smart, but cheerful and positive, and what I do myself to avoid the alcohol temptations. During the 40 day challenge I will definitely be challenged. Do I have a glass of wine or do I say no. I have now entered the 30 day challenge for the third time and now I am going for the 40 days without alcohol for the second time. Will you be reading along in the near future? Cozy.


March 9, 2021 / Blog Henk

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