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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Mental Health Day No. 1

Do you ever just feel like throwing it all in for awhile? Don't get me wrong. I like doing this blog. A lot. Although at minimum it gives me a reason to get out of bed every day, that is the least of it.

Until 17 or 18 years ago, I never much thought about my age. Then came that day I realized I was old enough to be most of my colleagues' grandmother. Not even mother; grandmother. And then I got fascinated with what aging is all about.

It still interests me. We – scientists, the medical world, sociologists, psychologists, writers, thinkers, poets, etc. - don't know anywhere near as much about elders as we do children, teens and adults so there is a constant stream of new information to learn from – at least provisionally until further study comes along to support or refute new findings.

That's on the macro level. On the micro level, it interests (and amuses) me to watch my own aging – physically, cognitively, emotionally – and it is my good fortune to have so many who seem to want to read my meanderings about all this aging stuff.

Which reminds me - I don't tell you frequently enough, dear readers, how much I appreciate you every day. For your support, input, kindness and interest – among other attributes you have.

The first thing I do every day is check the computer to see what you've had to say overnight. It is as embedded nowadays in my morning routine as feeding the cat and starting the coffee. On the rare occasion the internet is down, I am at a loss.

But now and then, I need to stop. I feel brain dead. I'm behind in simple living – you know, wandering around without having something nagging at me that I need to do.

Hmmph. That's a lot of something to tell you I have nothing to say and that it might go on for a few days.

There will still be a word or two here each day (rerun? poem? a wave of the hand?) so that there is a page on which to link to The Elder Storytelling Place. I'll be back in full form when it feels right.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Maureen Browning: Another Way


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Hi Ronni,
Boy, oh boy, do I understand this post. I have been going through similar for months. And a "what's it all about Alfie" period. I think these periods are refreshing and necessary. I truly hope that you enjoy yours.

Enjoy your MH days and simple living! I think everyone needs them once in a while, and I always appreciate you letting us know when you are stepping away.

Being a lurker only, I'm wondering are there others who read but do not blog. I began reading several years ago attempting to learn what a blog was. At 83 I do not have time for writing or FB. I do enjoy and appreciate your effort and wish I had known you personally. I suffered in your behalf when you left NY. My husband and I moved "back home" after being away fifty years (to be near the cemetery). We never regretted that but he has used his space in the family plot. Thanks for all that you do.

Happy holidays! See ya later, alligator.

Good idea, Ronni...enjoy an Easter/Pesach break and re-charge your batteries. And while you're doing that, Ollie can have the sole use of your office chair.

Reading your blog has become a morning ritual for me. I connect in so many ways with what you write and think about.

I also blog and understand wanting to stop at times. I don't get near the comments you do BUT I find blogging actually drives me to do more in my offline life because it forces me out to do things so I'll have something interesting to write about. So, "throw in the towel"? No, but a mini vacation once in a while is nice! Do what you have to do for you, Ronni. Just don't stay away for long.

A poem you say? Here's one of my faves:

A Little Bit About the Soul
Wislawa Szymborska -- translated by Joanna Trzeciak

A soul is something we have every now and then.
Nobody has one all the time
or forever

Day after day,
year after year,
can go by without one.

Only sometimes in rapture
or in the fears of childhood
it nests a little longer.
Only sometimes in the wonderment
that we are old.

It rarely assists us
during tiresome tasks,
such as moving furniture,
carrying suitcases,
or traveling on foot in shoes too tight.

When we're filling out questionnaires
or chopping meat
It's usually given time off.

Out of our thousand conversations
it participates in one,
and even that isn't a given,
for it prefers silence.

When the body starts to ache and ache
It quietly steals from its post.
It's choosy: not happy to see us in crowds,
sickened by our struggle for any old advantage
and the drone of business dealings.

It doesn't see joy and sorrow
as two different feelings.
It is with us
Only in their union.
We can count on it when we're not sure of anything
and curious about everything.

Of all material objects
It likes grandfather clocks
and mirrors, which work diligently
even when no one is looking.

It doesn't state where it comes from
or when it will vanish again,
but clearly it awaits such questions.

Evidently,
just as we need it,
it can also use us
for something.

Perfect, Ronni!!!!
Enjoy your time... walk on the beach, or....stroll the bluffs above the Columbia River. Whatever.... Commune with nature.
Gail

Enjoy yourself whatever you do. I am taking a few days out of the moving in process to reconnect with friends and family. Different views, new thoughts for me.

Enjoy your break, your blog is a daily activity for me for the past several months. Thank you for all the information and your thoughtful insights. New reader.

I fully understand your ennui. I have been there, done that so many times and the times become more frequent with the passing years.

I retreat more into introspection of past events and who wants to read about that? I would even bore my daughter, who is my greatest fan. So I continue to putting off starting another blog and now I doubt that I will ever do so. Politics has gotten so nasty that I just don't want to think about it so I retreat from reading all of those articles that used to excite me. With nothing but the musings about my life to write about I can't get the energy to start.

I think it's remarkable that you have continued to find so many things to interest your readers week after week. You have my undying admiration, Ronni. So take however long you need to refresh your batteries and we will always be here after you have something interesting to fuel your creative juice.

A little off topic but you my want to catch the 6-episode Britsh TV series called "Last Tango in Halifax". It's currently available on Netflix. It revolves around two older people who rediscover each other 60 years later after their short teenage romance was quickly interrupted by the girl moving. Time hasn't inhibited their feelings for each other but aging does create parameters for them that younger couples don't have to face.

How often have we thought about the "what ifs" of that earlier romance had it been the one we committed to?

And though these two characters are the focus of the series, their lives revolve around their family members who are reflective of individuals who deal with multiple issues, especially relationships.

For a little known series here in the U.S. I find it a compelling, quality-done program with excellent performances, making it worth the time to watch.

Evidently it is popular enough that they have already put together a 2nd season that will be airing on PBS this June.

I hope this post doesn't violate your rules Ronni.

I'll miss you, but understand completely. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!!

I too find it remarkable that you are able to generate an interesting and beautifully written blog six days a week (yes, Saturday's counts). Your writing is so honest and direct. From the heart and the brain. So rare, especially these days.

Most of us need to slow down as we age. I often wonder how you can produce at this rate. Whether it's taking a few days or weeks off every so often or offering fewer blogs each weeks, your readers will relish however much you feel like offering.

Will miss you. Your post is a daily treat and the only blog that I always read because I relate closely with what you say. At the same time I can see how much time and effort it requires, and how you have other things to do and achieve - or just take it easy, or read and maybe write a book. Good luck and will await your occasional posts. Thanks for enriching my 70s.

I was just reading an article in Medium titled "The Crossroads of Should and Must". It's a great short read and nicely points out the value of both, but emphasizes the importance of realizing when we must do something for our sanity, our soul, our health, our very life. You must take these short breaks. Enjoy the R & R!

Enjoy yourself! Consider a full blown attach of Spring Fever.
Mary

Ronni, you are lucky. You have an extraordinary group of followers who are perfectly capable of carrying on a conversation among themselves. All you have to do is give us a one line topic and we'll take it from there.
This is why I cut my blogging down to once a week. I love to blog but never wanted to become a "slave" to it.

Have a well earned rest and recreation, Ronni.
Lurker Betty, I'm not a blogger either but I find this blog and a couple of others a daily interest and delight.A good blog sets trains of thought going that can absorb you for a whole day!

Ronni, it's your blog and you can take breaks whenever you want to.

That's a great perk.

You aren't alone in ennui. Since we came back from Florida, cold weather, snow, more snow, cabin fever.

Good thing we love reading.

It's not warm enough for gardening, it's that in-between time.

I signed up for Zumba Gold and badminton lessons.

First person I bumped into at Zumba Gold is someone I taught with and didn't like!

Now I am dancing beside her.

Why didn't I like her?

She has a voice like Ethel Merman on crack. To this day I can still hear her hollering down the hall.

"Where's your projeccccctttttt?"

So I'm in the library right now, recovering from seeing Ethel after ten years.

I needed a mood changer.

Oh yes.

A book "Napalm & Sillyputty" by George Carlin is in my bag.

I know you like GC.

Here is a bit:

"Instead of having truck scales on the highway, I think they ought to get one of those guys from the carnival and let him guess the weights."

Pg. 58

Give Ollie a big Montreal hug, Ronni, see you soon.

One more I stole from the comedy club:

A horse walks into a bar... bartender looks up..

"Why the long face?"


I've never imposed on myself a requirement to post something every day. Sounds too much like work! We're supposedly retired, remember? Enjoy your hiatus.

Ronni, thanks for all you do. and blessings for all you are.
-steve

Totally understand! This week has not been a happy one, and it's only Wednesday! So, I hear you.

As for that grandmother thing, I have a story to share with you: I have very bright red hair. When I taught, my high school students loved the hair and loved me for having it. I thought I would give up the red when I retired, but found that so many people liked the color on me, and I don't have pretty white hair, so I kept dying it.

The other day, while out working on a research project on city parks, I stopped at a skate park. The skater dudes, sitting atop the bleachers, hollered out at me as I passed by, "Hey, lady, that's great hair." "Love the color of your hair." "How old are you?"

That last question made me stop and laugh. I looked up at them and told them that my hairdresser would be pleased to hear their compliments, and as for me, I was old enough to be their grandmother, or maybe even great grandmother.

They seemed to be in disbelief. Love young kids for that reason.

Enjoy a sabbatical. Get recharged. We'll see you when you get back.

Go for it Ronni--or rather, don't go for it.
You so deserve a break, and somehow, somehow, we'll survive. :-)

I've often wondered how you did it-- have an interesting thoughtful blog post every day!! It is time to rest and refresh. Perhaps, once a week you could do as Bruce Cooper suggests and throw a topic out for your readers to discuss?? Anyway, enjoy some well-deserved R&R.

I am new to the Story Telling Place and have been searching around on it for several weeks now, and I can't begin to imagine how much time, effort and work you must put into making it the success that it is! I hope you have a long enough break that leaves you feeling refreshed.

Ronni, everyone needs and deserves a break. Have a wonderful one. Wouldn't it be grand to take a vacation from aging? Just a thought!

Ronni dear
Thank you for your blog I look forward to read every day.
I will be 75 in May and in the last nine months I start to have some health problems with teeth, blood and spine.
I am blessed by having good dentists and doctors that are taking a good care of me but I learned that my happiness and well being in this life depends very much on my soul and on my hability to love.

I love your blog.
Why your call yourself a crabby old lady?
Everybody is old after one day old. To be old is a fact of life.
You are a wonderful PERSON that happens to be old.
You put yourself on a separate shelf, you give yourself a stigma.
You are so responsable to this world as a newborn child, as a teenager, as an university student or as anybody else.

You fight for a better world in all your posts.
It is nothing wrong on being old.
But I feel that crabby old lady put you as a different person from the rest. It can be funny, but is not what you really are.

When we age we should learn to accept the innevitable, swallow it and go ahead. And love every minute of our lives.

I live in Brazil and today I just received the book you recommended The December Project. I an enjoying it very much.

Enjoy your rest. We will miss you.
Do not regret so much do not be in New York. If you go there know you will see that everything is very different than you have imagined. Anf you can be there everydau throught the net if you want.

Have a good rest and pick up some good books to read. Are you familiar with Doris Lessing or with Alice Munro?

warm regards

Bia

Everyone above has said things completely and perfectly and it was good reading all the responses. Mental health days are necessary and if this is really your first one, you have a lot of credit stored up. For sure you have it with us ... as others have said, we'll miss you but we'll be here when you get back. Re-reading old posts will be fun and keep us busy till you're ready again. REALLY give yourself a break, please. And thank you, always.

I discovered your blog late so will have a chance to read old posts. Have you noticed that most 60 year olds now look 30 - some naturally and some surgically. Not me. I prefer looking like a woman who aged in a not-so-flattering way - It helps set priorities.

Dear Ronnie,

Take care of yourself. You deserve it. Thanks for all you do. I love your blog. It's part of the "good" for the day.

I dream of living a quieter life, but I'm trying to create a new career as a writer. I only just turned 60 and I'm going to go balls to the wall for another five years, then jump off the speeding train and whatever happens, I gave it my best.

So if it helps you with your own decision-making, here's what I did. I stopped blogging so often and lost a bit of ranking, but I am happier now. My true Internet friends respond with enthusiasm whenever I do blog, so I know they're still out there.

Now I'm doing a website redesign to make it into my Internet studio. I offer you this for what it's worth. I'm tired of being scattered on social media. I'm going to create a cute little shop/studio to house the things I love doing, and to welcome people inside if they want to come.

I'm going to have a page for blogging when I feel like it. A page for book reviews, which I do anyway and enjoy doing. A page for talking about my Work In Progress (novel). A page for The Writing Life (to commiserate with writers). Etc. It's going to be my little studio on the web. If nothing else, I will have fun.

I decided to see my own enjoyment as my north star, and stop feeling obligated to blog. Maybe that will feel good to you, too.
Best wishes, Ronni. You are a quality gal and I have benefited from your thinking.

A day without Ronni? That calls for a good sulk.

I'll survive...somehow.

Bruce's idea is a good one. You do all the heavy lifting. Why not let us help? Give us a topic, and we'll all take off.

Great post today & thank you!
How did I get to 80 so fast?

"You go, girl"....go and do whatever thrills you, provides mental nutrition, a fresh perspective, or a desired rest. Whatever you choose.

You'll be missed.

Dear Ronni-
I found your blog ca. 2 years ago when my health and work situation took turns to the dark side.
Your daily posts were a blessing and helped me through some difficult times.
I so admire your energy and wisdom. Please take good care of yourself.

Just wanted to say thank you and I hope you will take breaks but keep blogging. You are a great source of information AND entertainment!

Happy MH Day #1! Enjoy--you deserve it. As far as wanting to throw it all in, yeah. I'm finally contemplating full retirement at 77. The field I've devoted the past 40 years to is hardly recognizable thanks to changes in the healthcare law (which I supported), including the messed-up implementation. The agency I work for is struggling but may survive--I hope so! It provides much-needed services and has given me a great 3rd career.

But, do I want to spend my days (and evenings) trying to absorb pages and pages of new regulations? I'm not so sure about that anymore. Maybe not feeling my best for the past few days has something to do with it. . .but retirement is beginning to feel more real than it has in the past. One thing, though: I'd sure miss the paycheck.

I read your post each evening and have often thought 'How does she do it?' Presenting something fresh and relevant each day is no mean feat. As well as writing it all in a way that is easy to read and understand.
Take time out until you feel in the mood to continue.
Thanks for a wonderful blog!

Simply living is a nobel goal in and of itself. Have a splendid time! And I'm grateful for all you do to keep me informed about my own aging and the interesting things folks do at this time of life. Keeps me growing and learning.

You need a break you go girl.I am afraid that I am mostly a lurker as I do not blog myself.But as everyone else has said you are retired so go with the the flow or not.Thanks to you I am looking forward to the Second wind event in early May.Thanks again Ronni.
Lesley

Ronni. I can appreciate MH time off. In fact, I am scheduled to retire, 6/30. I may have to start my own blog, for my own MH. I lasted to 66.5 years, now your blog will be more important to me than ever--go Ronni go!

I just discovered your blog today! I'm sure you have deserved a long rest and I hope it is fun and relaxing.

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