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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Ordinary Day

By Mary B Summerlin who keeps a photostream at Flickr

Ahhh the pleasure of an ordinary day, the kind of day where there are no appointments, no deadlines, nothing that is a “have to.” But those days are hard to come by.

I’m retired so you’d think well, isn’t that what most every day is? No it’s not. That old demon balance keeps raising his head and it seems to me you’re lucky if you can get old balance to hang around for a day.

Of course, I’m coming from a point of view where my days have been so filled with doctor appointments and that is part of what I’m rebelling against. This winter has been particularly difficult with health issues.

A friend pointed out that you can always tell where Mary is these days: at home, at doctor’s office or at the pharmacy. That’s pretty much true – what a sad state of affairs.

I’m yearning for the day when I can casually get up, have my morning cup of coffee, read the newspaper, heave a sigh of relief and plan my day. I’ll choose which of my passions has the biggest tug on my heart.

It’s spring time and my country roots usually demand some attention. Maybe today is the day to take all the plants from inside to outside. Then they’ll need to be repotted, cuttings taken and shared with others, finding just the right pot and then the right place, sun or shade and where is looks prettiest.

Of course I’ll sit and take a rest ever so often - think and look at my plants as we progress through the day. Now that’s an ordinary day that is an extraordinary day.

Or maybe I’ll feel compelled to continue a project I’ve begun that includes writing and photography and organizing a program or book or whatever. At the moment I’m helping organize a reunion of my elementary school classmates. It’s so exciting - I’ll see people I haven’t seen in 70 years.

I’m also putting together a memoir book of stories collected from my years of leading workshops. I always have projects in the works. Bored is not in my vocabulary.

Bird watching can fill a whole day. The feeders need to be refilled and I can quietly sit in a corner and watch the birds come and go. I can wait for that perfect picture and/or plan or replan the bird feeder placements.

Sometimes it is just the perfect day to do nothing. I can do that beautifully, just do this a little while and that a little while, think, suppose, sit awhile and then walk awhile. I think this is called day dreaming. I think it is also where creativity begins.

Grabbing my camera, walking around my porch and yard carefully looking for pictures is always a challenge and delight. I find I see beauty in so many places, places I’d overlooked other times. Maybe I’ll get in the car and go to one of my favorite spots - for its beauty and birds.

A wonderful delight is a spur of the moment picnic down by our beautiful Hudson River. This is not a planned everything is just right kind of picnic; it’s the kind where I take raid the fridge and take a little of this and a little of that and wish I had some more of something. But the ingredients are there: me, some food, the river, my camera and paper and pencil. What more can one want?

Too many times, it’s hurry up and get ready for the doctor appointment, organize my day to take care of bank business, post office needs and just everyday living. Taking care of myself and my life seems to be a full time job.

But I do keep on the look out for an ordinary day – one I can steal away from life’s demands and then I sink into that very special day. It’s the way I take care of myself. It comforts me.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

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


Your "ordinary" day sounds more than extraordinary! It sounds delightful!

I too enjoy 'ordinary days' as you describe them. I have changed my expectation to 'ordinary hours.' My plan is that after 3 p.m. is 'my time.' Reading, crossword puzzles, story writing, phone calls to distant friends, internet exploring, deck sitting to watch the birds (weather permitting), and anything else that takes my fancy. As you describe it, 'time to take care of myself.'

One of my dearest friends has a husband with serious physical and mental disabilities that requires much of her time throughout the day and night. 'Ordinary days' are out of the question for her. She finally hired a cleaning lady but has a hard time leaving him for more than a couple of hours. I try to share my 'ordinary time' with her each week: Coffee break time at a nearby coffee house, knitting together at my house, short shopping trip at local thrift shops, etc. I encourage her to find someone to come in for longer periods of time to relieve her enough to 'care for herself.'

I loved your story demonstrating such insight into the needs our elder lives.

You are an inspiration and I should follow your way for you seem to make the most of even the little things in life.

This is a very nice thoughtful reflection of our lives these days as we move up in age, with all its new old issues and sometimes frantic schedules. Ordinary takes on new meaning, these days.
You have found a very beautiful and practical philosophy in your life. Thanks for sharing it.

Friends, thank you for your kind and thoughtful words.

A nice, thoughtful piece, Mary.
Yes, our ordinary days are less extraordinary than they used to be, but there's comfort in that, and in quiet times. I'll take a little-too-quiet some days over hectic, the way life used to be!


I really enjoyed reading about your "ordinary" day. Especially the picnic by the Hudson River part.

When we visit our son in Connecticut we cross the Hudson on the Tappen Zee Bridge and you are so lucky that you can go to that beautiful place to relax and write and just take in all the sights and smells of the river.

It's not just your age...I remember the blissful age of pre-marriage and kids! I could enjoy the morning paper and coffee, brunch with a friend, etc. Today it's run, run, run. Ordinary days would be very welcome.

Thanks Lyn, Nancy and wearmanyhats. I appreciate your comments too.

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