For the 47 years I worked, free time was precious. I devoted Saturday mornings to chores and errands that had to be done: cleaning the house, laundry, any needed repairs, shopping for food and other necessities, banking, etc.
The goal was to finish by noon and I usually did – I was a whirlwind in those days – so there would be nothing nagging at me for the rest of the weekend. I’m slower now, but I operate each day pretty much the same way: get the obligations, commitments and onerous chores done so the time remaining is free for me to choose what to do with it.
At about 5PM yesterday, when Ollie the cat alerted me that it was his dinner time, I realized that I’d not written a blog post for Wednesday (today, as you read this).
It had completely escaped me and there wasn’t a thought in my mind – unless I ranted on again about how House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) now wants TRILLIONS in immediate budget cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. (By the way, that cannot be done without savaging Medicare and Social Security.)
Ugh. Late afternoon is no time to work on something that so disgusts me and there was nothing else in mind to write about. What had I done all day? I wondered. Well, it went something like this:
Read a lot of news, blogs and websites in the morning
Answered some email, though I’m still behind
Sorted some of the loose papers and general detritus on the desk, but did not finish
Played with Ollie the cat
Puttered around in the kitchen and then went to the store with a short list of items
Made a salad for lunch
Planted some trilliums (trillia?) that had arrived on Monday, which took all of five minutes
Shuffled through some magazines that have piled up, without reading much
Tried to pet the cute, little, stray cat I feed and got whacked on the hand
Re-read the instructions for my internet radio to refresh my memory for a couple of functions
Took a short walk when the sun came out in mid-afternoon – short because the temperature was chillier than it looked
Watched part of Chris Matthews show
Tried to figure out why my email seemed to have stopped working and gave up after 10 minutes (maybe it will fix itself)
Went out to get the mail. Nothing but junk and another magazine for the pile
Watered the orchid plant I got for my birthday last month which is, miraculously, still living and abloom
Started thinking about dinner after feeding Ollie the cat
That looks like a long list, doesn’t it. But take note – I did absolutely nothing. The best that can be said for my day is that at least I showered and got dressed in the morning.
If I wasn’t going to write a blog post, I could have read one of the books that are stacked up. I might have done some gift shopping for a couple of upcoming birthdays.
It would not have hurt to run the vacuum cleaner around. Or wash the window where Ollie the cat’s nose marks it up. Or visited the Portland Japanese Garden that’s on a “wannado” list. Or even just watched a movie. There are a zillion things I could have done.
But, instead, I frittered away the day. I almost never do that and I’m kind of embarrassed about it. It’s a long way from how I used time during that half century of work.
I’m wondering if you who are retired have such days and if so, I’m hoping you have more interesting fritter activity than I do.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Stress