Tag Archive | time

It’s Thursday? Really?

Which wayThis morning I awoke at seven o’clock and looked forward to turning on the television to watch Lester Holt on NBC’s weekend “news” program. I was totally convinced that it was Saturday, so I made coffee and settled into my cushy recliner, picked up the “zapper” (my pet name for the TV remote) only to learn that it was Thursday. Damn.

That’s the trouble with being retired. Every day is pretty much the same. No weekend anticipation like there was when I worked nine to five. No. It was just Thursday.

Retirement for me wasn’t a fanfare. It was more like a fart. You know, those silent but deadly ones that seek up on you and nobody takes credit for the stink. It all started in 2009 when I left my job and then couldn’t find work closer to home. I wanted to continue working because I wasn’t even 59-1/2 and not ready to retire. But I had become that magic age when businesses don’t want to invest in somebody who is seasoned and actually knows something.

But by 2011, I had papered the landscape with resumes and frankly I just gave up. By now, Ken also needed me to be home, so here I am. Oh, I kept myself busy designing costume jewelry, painting,  and getting several novels published, but I did miss the camaraderie of workmates and going out to lunch.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love not having to fight traffic every morning. I like the fact that I don’t have to shower, dress in a business suit, and rush out of the house with a pop tart in my left hand and my briefcase, keys, and purse in the other. I do not miss having an alarm clock catapult me out of a sound slumber either. I don’t miss having to take orders from somebody dumber than me, sitting in a “cube” as small as a phone booth, and interfacing all day with computer keyboard.

But not realizing it is Thursday troubles me. Has my world shrunk to such a small size that I don’t even know what day it is? I think it must have. But when did that happen? And why?

A shrinking world seems to be another part of being a caretaker and having to stay home most days. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t change things—at least not until I can’t properly take care of Ken any longer, but what does a person do for inspiration when nine to five is not possible any more?

I’ve come to the conclusion that time is a curious critter. It goes too fast when you’re young, and it slows down to a turtle’s crawl when you retire. I haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or not.

Am I Waiting for Godot?

waiting rooms (1)I feel a little like the characters in the famous play, Waiting for God, by Samuel Becket. Lately, like Estragon and Vladimir, I am not even sure what day it is half of the time. Like Vladimir, I feel like I’m basically living the same day over and over. My past life of travel and new explorations are over, and   I find myself waiting all of the time these days.

Because Ken moves so slowly, whenever we are going someplace together, I need to wait for him because his walking has become so labored. When I take our friend  Patrick out for coffee, I have to wait for the two of them, only running ahead to open the door. Now, I’m waiting for the “next shoe to fall” with my father’s ailing health. The waiting goes on and on. I wait for the UPS guy to deliver my latest novel to my front door. I wait for inspiration to come for a new post everyday for my blog. I’m also waiting for my editor to get back to me about “Stephania in America.”  And so it goes.

Am I really living a life like the play where  nothing really happens, but yet audiences stay glued to their seats?

As in the play, years pass. Time has no meaning, but yet it changes both characters. Even with the sameness of everyday, time seems to go faster for me. Here it is Saturday and I really don’t know where the week has gone. The only exciting thing I did was teach a writing class and cut the grass.

But everyday brought a surprise. On Monday, a dear friend had us over for lunch. We talked about her daughter’s wedding that would happen on May 31 in Cancun, Mexico. On Tuesday, we enjoyed a lunch outside. On Wednesday, I had one of my older students open up to me about her struggle for a better life. Our life stories have been very similar, so I could encourage her with what has happened in my life. I asked her if she ever had a house plant that no matter what you did, it failed to flourish until you moved it to another location, and then it flourished. I told her that she just hadn’t found her place yet and she needed to keep exploring. On Thursday, Ken and I enjoyed a date at a nice restaurant because he finally felt strong enough to get out of the house. On Friday, I got the best gift of all. My father had rebounded from wanting his angel wings to routing for another Chicago Cubs victory against the Southside White Sox team. And here it is Saturday already. How did that happen?

Unlike the bleakness of the play, which has gotten audiences to guess at it’s true meaning for years, my life seems to be a quest for peace and joy. I don’t see my surroundings as dull, even though they are very mundane. So what does it all mean?

Perhaps the true joy of life is in the waiting to see what the day has in store. I figure it’s my  job to make the wait worthwhile. Forget Godot. Go on without him. I’ve found my path in caregiving for people I love and my joy in  writing. Who could ask for more?

What Day Is It, Anyhow?

pill sorter“I wouldn’t know what day it is, if I didn’t take pills.”

Yup, that was the first thing I said this morning. Then I realized how just how much things had changed for me in the past three years. I am now learning what day it is by a pill sorter.  Being home with Ken everyday has suspended the outside world in certain ways, and this is one of them. Knowing what day it is has become more important to me than what time it is. Interesting isn’t it?

Time is such an interesting concept. It changes with age and circumstance. When you’re young and have the world by the tail, you measure time. An alarm clock wakes you to get ready for work. You go through a morning routine and drive to your destination. If you have a desk, there’s a calendar sitting there, showing you what day it is. If you don’t have a desk,  there are certain activities you must do in a given day. It’s not like that when you stay home everyday. Believe me, I don’t miss being jarred from sleep by some digital nuisance or fighting traffic and construction work on the highways. But I do miss knowing what day it is.

When we all lived on farms, knowing what day it was wasn’t important. People worked from sun-up to sun-down. Arriving a few minutes late didn’t mean we’d be “written-up” by a on-time supervisor. Measuring time came about during the industrial revolution. Factories and offices had to run on schedule to fulfill orders and get goods to market–on time. Days of the week, hours, and minutes became more important to keep things moving in an orderly fashion.

It isn’t until you are disabled or retired–or at home with someone who is– when the concept of time slows down and hours and minutes don’t matter as much.  So strategies must change. Now, I turn on the television to discover what day it is–or I just take my pills.

A Fast Week

time flying byI can’t believe it Saturday already. This week went SOOO fast. I find this curious because I’m a person who has no schedule, except for my writing hours in the morning.

I’ve always found Time to be an interesting concept. I wonder if the neanderthals or the early homo sapiens ever felt the same way about time as we do. Probably not. Instead of chasing deadlines, they were consciously just trying to stay alive and not be eaten by some saber-tooth tiger or something.

I understand there are scientific reasons why time behaves the way it does, and it’s an interesting topic for novels–specially science fiction stuff, but I see time as some finite quality that I have to make the best of my life.

Maybe time went fast this week because I found the energy to do things I’ve been putting off for quite awhile. I can’t tell you what precipitated the change from a slothful lump to a ball of fire, but I did things like get the tax papers together, call numerous agencies for one reason or another, make appointments with doctors and arrange payments with creditors. But to balance these taxing realities,  I took time to create a painting. Write my blog everyday. Add a few chapters for the next novel. Make a few necklaces and earring sets. And I went to see a caregiver counselor.

The latter was the hardest of all my tasks because I had to face the fact I can’t do everything. I had to admit, I need help. This was haaaaaaard.  You see, I like to think of myself as a strong, self-sufficient, independent person, and when I can’t “deal,” I feel weak and pathetic.

I know. I know. I’m terribly hard on myself. But when a person grows up a leader and a person who is perceived “STRONG” by others, showing  human weakness is humiliating.

Ken has struggled terribly for two weeks, MS is a frightening disease because the patient, as well as his or her loved ones, don’t ever know what the day will bring. The worst part is, you don’t know how much time you have left together. (Remember that FINITE element.)  So, maybe the week went fast, because Ken’s frailty scared me into action.

By admitting I can’t do it “ALL,” I realize there are helpful resources out there who are ready to help me stay sane. I can call them any time when I need to say that four-letter word HELP.

In the meantime, I’ll meet with a friend for an hour or two to connect with the outside world, and have a laugh over a cup of coffee. That’s the best way to spend TIME I’ve ever found.

Tick, Tock, Manipulate the Clock

Today we got an extra hour of sleep. I suppose to some folks this is important, but I am not a fan of the switch from Day Light Savings Time to Standard Time. I think the whole idea is outdated and only annoys those of us who own digital clocks.

This simple change has a profound affect on me. I get cranky and want to be in bed by 9 p.m. because, of course, it feels like 10 p.m. I whine about it getting dark at four in the afternoon, and the sun waking me before 6 a.m. I get so sluggish during this time of the year, I just wish I had been born a bear so hibernation would be a natural occurrence for me, and I could sleep through this crazy practice of fussing with the clocks.

I don’t even know how an author could use this outdated practice in a piece of writing except maybe to complain about its implications on one’s psyche, or maybe to miss a travel connection!

The practice started during World War I, but that was almost over a 100 years ago. Surely, the practice should be reviewed again, wouldn’t you say? When most of us were farmers, the extra hour of daylight was necessary to get in the harvest, but nowadays, how many farmers do you know? I don’t know any, and I’m from the dairy state! Some of our more progressive states like parts of Indiana and Arizona don’t bother with it any more. Does the rest of the world “do” Day Light Savings Time? Yup. Most of Europe, a few areas in South American and southern Australia still manipulate their clocks with most of the United States.

I vote for getting rid of the time change all together. For those of you who cherish your extra hour of sleep, just remember you have to give it back in the springtime. So there!