For some strange reason, I have a lot less spare time these days than I did before I retired completely. In working days, I had an excuse of limited time to do things. This, in my head, justified bringing in someone to do something for me that, given spare time, I could do myself.
Now I have no excuse. Retirement equals unlimited time coupled with absolute freedom to organise that time. Machismo knows no fetter. Only wimps get someone else to do things for them.
In reality, there are still only twenty-four hours in a day. But Resident Cat wakes me up irrespective of day of the week, impervious to clocks going forward or back. I never had to get up this early to get to work in pre-cat days. So my waking day is actually longer than in the past. I have more time. My days are planned the day before. I have targets. Usually I meet them. Trouble is I’m not that good at planning tasks. Well, really at estimating how long they’ll take. So coffee breaks become coffee break. It’s worse if I’m outside in the garden. Half-way through pricking out seedlings I notice a weed growing somewhere. The pricking out becomes digging out as I progress around the garden, trowel in hand. OK, I’ll skip lunch to catch up with the task schedule.
I notice that aches and pains seem to start far sooner in any period of activity than in the past. The old body is getting even older. But my mind is still there. Mind over matter as they say. Co-Codamol is my friend; morphine an occasional visitor. I find that if I keep pushing the old body, the mind ignores the aches, with a soupçon of help. For long enough.
Then it dawns on me. My mind is the problem. There is so much I want to do. So many plants to plant, so many weeds to remove, deadheading, pruning, tidying. I’m happy doing things like that. My mind joins in the happiness. We slog away together. Indoors, decorating, cleaning and any amount of DIY occupy the rainy times. Don’t mention ironing, please!
But then I want to relax. And my mind says “I’m knackered! I’ve been fighting back the aches all day. Now I need a break.” So no easy time watching TV; reading is spasmodic. That I have a bookshelf next to the loo says it all. I rate books by how long they keep me sitting there, absorbed, risking piles. If there were a little graphic to represent piles, you’d give a book so many stars; I’d give it so many piles. The more the merrier.
But when my buttocks are supported by a proper seat, they let my brain know and it goes into relaxation mode. I nod off. This, I conclude, is the great dichotomy of age. I’m either physically active or asleep. I am simply not conscious of having any spare time. Because I’m not conscious. Period.
Which is, as it happens, why I don’t blog as often as I’d like as I usually sit down to wri……
13 thoughts on “Reflections on Life, Part 1”
Hey John, sounds familiar. Getting a job finished before you eat, so that your food goes cold, or diving into so many tasks so that you forget what the first one was – the most important one 😉
I know what you mean. How do people find time to go to work?
It’s when you fall asleep in the middle of eating the wonderful meal lovingly prepared by a thoughtful partner, that you feel that some adjustments for the ageing body must be made to the gardening time table.
Reading on the loo? Oh no, I don’t fancy that.
You have described it all so well, love it!
Ah, you are truly a “Wainwright” … I know another person, or two, who spent all day in the garden then fell asleep 5 minutes into a film only to wake at the end and expect the complete run down on what happened!
I read the synopsis online before the film starts. Then I don’t need to watch it right through.
Power napping is essential to us Chief Executives!
Very true. You can never have too much of that!
Perhaps you will wake up like Rip Van Winkle
There is something attractive about the thought of sleeping through Brexit and only waking up again after we’d rejoined.
Or waking up, only to find yourself in the shower and that it was all a bad dream. Which it must be, surely.
Nice thoughtful post, John and with much I recognise … though perhaps more toilet detail than I needed. You’ve reminded me that I have a draft post a little about getting older too. I should crack on with it whilst there is still time.
p.s. what is this ‘ironing’ of which you speak?
At least I just sit and read. I’m not really interested in smelling the carpet.*
I said “Don’t mention the ironing”! My annual ironing day is approaching.
*This allusion will be explained if you visit https://thewalkinggardener.com/2017/10/27/norfolk-coast-path/
Yes totally agree about having tons of time but always feeling there are too many things to do. I call it running up the down escalator. I find I have to build in empty time or else I’m just running around all the time. And when I relax, I too fall asleep! Lovely blog by the way.
Thanks. I’ve developed the “sleep diet”. Does wonders for the waistline. By the time I wake up, it’s too late to cook dinner.
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