Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?



T'aint So, T'is Too

Jackie Spinks

                                                Ch. 6 Times A’Wastin”


My most precious commodity is not my income (such as it is) or my good looks, (ha! ha) or even my family and friends, my most precious commodity is time, and my time is running out.  And that’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever written up to now.  And even more depressing than that, I’m pissing away-- my most precious gift.

If I write a chapter, check the windshield wipers, wash my dishes, and get dressed I’ve done my days work.  Anymore work than that, well, it should be posted somewhere.  I’m what my mother referred to as a lazy good-for-nothing.

My biggest time waster is books—college text books mostly—I like them because they’re only about 20% blarney. After books comes TV with “Law and Order,” “Morning News,” “House (about a cranky doctor I can relate to) and documentaries. 

And the only reason TV doesn’t take top billing in my pantheon of time wasters is that TV didn’t come into my life until I was about 30 and books came in when I was 6, so TV didn’t get the addictive edge on me that it has on some. I could live with the loss of TV without going into cardiac arrest, but the loss of books, well, that’s another story.  Without them, just roll me six feet under and be done with it. 

The worst illness that could befall me would be losing my eyesight.  Learning Braille at my age—well I can’t even seem to learn computers, so that’s probably out, although my motivation to learn Braille would be greater than my motivation to learn computers.

Anyhow, to kill some time --what’s the matter with me, killing my most precious commodity, am I insane-- I’ve volunteered here and there, even though today there’s so many volunteers (college kids get credits, or something, for volunteering) that when I went looking for volunteer work they had to hunt for things for me to do.

For example, my job at the food bank was rearranging bread.  Useless job.  Or maybe that was all they thought this old codger was capable of--that my age disqualified me for any heavy- duty jobs.  So anyway, I’ve given up on this volunteering business.

Probably the most important reason, I fritter away time, but then again this may be a cop-out, is because I’ve become a routine person—no more impulsive, impetuous moves that thrilled and energized me in my youth.  Now change causes me stress.

I can’t understand my elderly cohorts that like to go to country dances, take up snow-boarding, move to Arizona, substitute spouses, etc., etc., for no other reason they tell me is that they need a change. What’s so great about change?  I don’t understand it.  My motto for living is—as long as I can scrape up a laugh somewhere, bore me to death with the same old stuff.

So I’m up at 4:00 a.m. put the toast in, coffee water on, textbook opened to the page where I left off, and pillows propped.  And then I slurp coffee and read. I use instant coffee I’m embarrassed to admit. Most of the people I know are coffee aficionados.  They grind their own coffee beans and the pedigree of their coffee bean is important.  I regret to say I have about as much refinement in taste as the mouse that used to come in and out of my basement.—so  instant coffee does the trick.

Now, I’m all set until 6:00 when I get up and watch the news, which is usually going over one more time, how this or that person thinks Barack has got to go—as he’s either a socialist, corrupt, a Kenyon, a Red, a White Raciest, or a “whimp with rhetoric.” The “whimp with rhetoric” is supposed to be the ultimate in put-downs, but I see myself as a whimp with rhetoric and I’m proud as Hell of it.

After the news I take a walk up the hill.  Watch the dogs cavorting around, see the cars in the distance speeding by on the freeway—wonder where they’re going in such a hurry, smile and say, “Hi, nice day,” to a neighbor outside working and stop, if they want to talk and discuss which neighbor has kept or lost his/her job, how can they manage—and will they keep their houses?

I observe the well-kept yards and feel guilty because mine isn’t all that well kept.  And on the way home I admire the flowers and wish I could remember their names. And occasionally I break out of my rut.  Like one of my risky adventures—I bought a new car—which has become a worry to me.  I worry about putting dents and scratches on it, so it’s not as much fun as my previous dinged up, old car.  Ah, but regrets, where would we be without them? 

I also bought a new frig and stove—both white.  They now reside across the kitchen from each other like an old married couple and I’ll pass on a word of caution—those flat top stoves, after you’ve had them for a while are hard to clean—they is, if you’re into cleaning.  I’m not, but I listen to Darla complain.
As for wasting my time on the computer, well, I have some hang-up about learning this new technology.  My kids tell me technology is so easy to learn and makes life so much simpler, easier, more fun, etc. etc., I feel ashamed about being so old-fashioned and clottish, but I think part of my hang-ups about computers consists of a moral dilemma. 

When I was young, I was constantly warned, “Don’t touch.  You might break it.”  So now, I’m afraid I’ll do something wrong.  Maybe push something and everything breaks down.  Now what?  And then I’ll never get back to square one.  Hit this.  Hit that.  Nothing.  Horrors---now what?  And, to put the frosting on the cake of klutzy, my brains has not been wired for  computer language. So while learning the computer could be a worthwhile enterprise.  I mean I could impress people-- this old poop had joined the 21st century, I can’t seem to learn it.

Yeah, computer knowledge would be a feather in my cap.  Forget impressing others—for myself, I’d feel confident and proud.  So maybe in the future, when I’m not wasting time.
I glanced through a book on Time Management.  It’s full of recommendation. Here’s a few.

  1. Keep a written record of your activities. My activities are: wash car, call my brother, pick up library books get some eggs and bread.
  2. Decide on a goal.  Wake up to another day.
  3. Figure out what I need to do to achieve this goal.  So I’ve achieved my goal. I’m here. And I’ve still got my wits. Plus, I am grateful for friends, along with their conversations and a lot of laugher.  So I’m a doofus on computers, nobody’s perfect—and, hey, world I’m still here.




Follow Retirement Talk on Facebook: on Facebook