Day by day, bit by bit, I’m working to accomplish my goals for time management, exercise, and project completion. As an aside, what is this compulsion we have for accomplishing something, anything, rather than just letting our days flow? It feels almost inherent. Since I posted three days ago, I have accomplished a few things. Two days ago I took a nice long walk from my house to Montgomery Park. As illustrated to the left, spring is budding and blooming there, and really all around me.
It’s so much fun to look out the window from day to see and to see things getting greener and greener. Yesterday, after maybe overdoing the walk the day before, I didn’t exercise. The long walk made my new knee leg hurt all night. Guess I’ll make the lengths of the walks a little more gradual. Today for about an hour I did one of the exercise videos I screened the other day. I’m feeling pretty virtuous about that. When I’m done here, I think I’ll take a shortish walk. The weather is getting warmer as the days progress.
I’ve also been sewing. I completed one of Anne’s table runners and am working on a second one. I have enough left over fabric from the second on to make placemats and napkins. Sewing is a creative outlet for me, so I’m having fun with this.
I made chocolate chip cookies yesterday. They are good but not as good as Anne’s. They never are. She claims she uses the recipe on the bag of chips, and I do that, too. But they’re not the same! Oh well, that’s her signature dish, so I guess it’s just magic.
In an earlier post I mentioned the idea of creating a sort of block schedule to organize my days and increase worthwhile use of my time. Since I’m determinedly retired, I don’t want to use “productivity”, since that word reeks of corporate management.
There are a few discouraging things I realize about myself that relate to this attempt:
I am terrible about creating an exercise routine at home. I loved my exercise class and was as consistent as I could be at attending, but I have ALWAYS been bad about doing it at home.
I tend to be loosey-goosey about timeframes when I’m in charge of my day. I don’t want to say I’m lazy. I’m not lazy. Well, sometimes I’m lazy.
I can tend to procrastinate the things I’m not so crazy about doing and rationalize by doing something else instead. Oops! Ran out of time for that.
Due to all of the above, I’m afraid to do a block schedule, even though my better self wants to.
What to do, what to do. I guess I’ll just blather on about something else (see #3 above) until I make up my mind.
On the national scene, California, home of my daughter Rebecca, has issued a shelter in place order and shut down most non-vital businesses and services. Much of the rest of the country will probably soon follow suit. While this certainly makes sense in terms of containing the Covid-19 virus, the social and economic effects in the short and longterm are almost incomprehensible. The government is taking sweeping measures to help individuals and businesses and to stabilize the economy, but at what cost to our already monumental national debt? History will tell the story. Rebecca already works from home, so will probably be ok, at least for now.
Daughter Rachel and her family are all being treated for strep throat. Not great, but glad it’s nothing worse. I woke up last night worrying about the family’s restless teenagers, who are, of course, immortal and don’t want to be confined to home. The consequences of them exposing themselves to this essentially social disease might be minimal for them but deadly for the younger and older members of their family.
Yesterday I cleaned out the files in my drawer containing the most current and active stuff. Felt pretty good, but is just the tip of that iceberg. Also, I got the material sister Anne mailed to me for her sewing projects. I like sewing projects. Today I need to update all the online accounts that use my expiring credit card. Fun times.
8 AM – 10 AM
Get up Morning routine – teeth, meds, etc, coffee MWF – Exercise video, other days-recumbent bike
10 AM – Noon
Household chores, blogging, reading
1 PM – 2 PM
Take a walk, work outside, hike
2 PM-5:30 PM
Work on projects, read, write to friends/family
5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Cocktail hour, begin dinner prep
7:00 – 10 PM
Dinner, TV, reading, unstructured time
Go to bed
Tentative Shelter in Place Block Schedule
There. I did it. I hereby remind myself that there will be no recriminations for straying from the schedule and that it will be amended as necessary. I consider this a social experiment. Furthermore, I exempt myself today, since I’m already off from the plan.
What with the whole country cancelling every type of gathering and the need to stay home, I no longer have the option of going to my 3 times weekly exercise class at the Senior Center. I’ve never been good at the self-discipline required for consistent exercise at home, but I know that it’s necessary if I am to stay healthy. So, maybe this will keep me on track. Resolution: do something active every day – exercise routine, or stationary bike, or walk. Here’s what i did.
Ride recumbent bike for 20 minutes
Screen exercise videos on Prime Video (It counts! I need one for tomorrow!)
So, I decided that while I’m confined to home my sanity and productivity would benefit by having a list of possible projects and activities to keep me active and entertained. As a side note, I saw a post on Facebook from someone who is keeping herself in order by creating a loose general block schedule to shape her days. While I’m not always terribly organized with my time or particularly self-disciplined, I thought that was a pretty cool idea. It’s related to this listing idea, but less specific. So, I see another organizing post in my future. For now, let’s start with the list. Just as a means of self-encouragement, I’ll begin with items I’ve already completed. Note: Items on this list are in addition to (and sometimes instead of) regular household routines like getting up, eating, doing dishes, etc. This is an ever changing document.
Clean debris from front and back yard
Clean rug on patio
Prepare and file taxes
Start blogging again
Yet to Be Done
Season my new wok (more laborious than you’d think!)
Sort through and organize file drawers
Sort through and organize desk clutter
Sew table runners for Anne
Sew pillow covers for Anne
Download and edit photos from camera
Complete the online photo classes I’m signed up for
Here’s my little conspiracy theory. I’m hoping it’s just sick and paranoid. Our current President has been likened to Hitler or any other similar dictator. There are those who believe, not without ample indicators, that in his heart he is an autocrat. So here comes Covid-19. His first attempts at “Never in MY America” were failing. Damn it! Now if he were a rational person he would have taken a moment to regroup and (re)evaluate. But that’s not his way. Fortunately, he has advisors who say, “Donny, if you ignore this and many people get sick and die, your chances of being re-elected will be in the dumpster. On the other hand, if you take charge and institute drastic measures, you’ll be remembered as the President who led his country through one of its greatest crises in history.” [Now, let’s not lean too heavily on the veracity of their claim, just stick with me.] So Donald thinks for a moment. [I know. Just try to imagine that scenario.] A lightbulb goes off over his head. Now he can order people to do exactly what he wants them to do! And they’ll all have to do it. And when the crisis is over, they’ll all be in line. Right where he wants them. Personal freedom? Balderdash! I’m in charge here. Mission accomplished!
On a more personal level, what will I do with all my time as I shelter in place (see previous post)? I thought I’d compile a completely random list of possibilities. Since it will be a document in flux as ideas enter my head, I’ll start the list as a separate entry.
A world pandemic is changing everything. On a global scale, healthcare systems are being overwhelmed, people are getting sick, and some are dying. Two terrifying things about Covid-19 are that little is known about how it plays itself out in the sick person and that it spreads exponentially. In addition, like most virulent diseases, it is most deadly in at-risk populations like the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. All of this is widely known now, and drastic measures are being taken to contain the virus and to identify and care for those who have it. Throughout the country, public places are closing, events of all sizes are being cancelled, the stock market is plunging, and people are being asked to stay home. The full effects of all of this on our economy and our way of life are yet to be determined. There you have a brief summary of the news.
On a more personal level, my way of life is changing. There is a difference, of course, between staying home because you want to and staying home because you must. So far, the psychological hardship has not been too profound for me, but it feel it baying at the edges of my consciousness. I’ve always been pretty good at fighting any tendencies toward depression, but the struggle has already been real the past couple of years because I relocated to Albuquerque from my longtime home in Indiana. While my reasons for doing so were solid – nearness to family, starting my life over at 70 has been challenging. I left behind many family members and friends and a happy and active social life and community involvement. I’ve been very diligent at working to make connections in my new home, but it takes time, hard work, and good fortune. Now, all my outside activities have come to a standstill because of the virus. My age puts me among the at-risk populations, so I am taking the shelter in place mandate seriously. While all this sounds a little whiny, I have to say that I’m finding the challenge rather interesting.
For example, here I am writing in my blog for the first time in several years! (I must admit that I’m rather embarrassed about that lapse.)