A TGB READER STORY: After Hours
Some Things I'm Finished With Forever

Shopping With Terminal Cancer

It's impressive, I've discovered, how a terminal diagnosis simplifies one's life. Today's little change in how I now spend my time was a surprise. It snuck up on me having been in effect for awhile before I realized it.

In fact, it might not even be worth mentioning except that I think it could be one of the ways people in my predicament (and possibly others) begin to disengage from the world around them in increments to be able to leave peaceably when the time comes.

For starters, in the past few weeks I've been clearing out my email subscriptions so that many fewer show up in my inbox.

One category is news and politics. Do I really need four newsletters from The New York Times and an equal number from the Washington Post? Hardly. Headlines are enough.

That applies to 40 or 50 other publications I've now pared down to one email each and unsubscribed altogether from about three-quarters of them that are duplicate points of view.

It was a shock to find out that I had 103 Google Alerts on a variety of political and ageing topics, each one of which dropped an email on me at least weekly and often daily. I certainly didn't read most of them.

I've kept only 11.

Gone too are computer- and internet-related newsletters. I don't need to know that stuff anymore. Also music, TV and movie promotions. I don't spend much time with those now. Besides, I have access to more than enough to keep me entertained.

But the biggest category of email I've dropped is shopping. Undoubtedly you know how that works: every place you ever bought anything online, even once 20 years ago, emails adverts forever and sells your email address to a bunch of other retailers who also email you and sell your address and so on – it piles up over the years.

Worse, retail may be the biggest category of website I've noticed where many do not honor unsubscribe requests. I got fed up trying and now I just label them all junk so they don't land in my inbox.

Here's what I've learned about shopping while terminally ill:

The only things I need to purchase now are food and bathroom tissue. You can quibble over such items as toothpaste but you get the idea: Necessities only. I've never liked shopping in general and now I've lost all interest.

I don't need to buy clothing ever again. Books too, unless wildly compelling; there are already too many unread ones in my house that won't get read before I die.

The computer and related paraphernalia will last until I'm gone. There is no reason now to replace bedding, towels, kitchen equipment, worn furniture, carpeting or any kind of decorative item.

I'm done with all that and happily so while thinking it would have been smart to have applied some of these measures for the past 40 or 50 years. Oh well – too late now.

But wait. My shopping abstinence is not total and I cannot explain why this happened:

Long before my cancer diagnosis – maybe four or five years ago – I saw a rocking chair online I wanted. Then I thought better of it. Until I didn't and I stared at it on my computer screen from time to time. Years went by in this manner.

The rocking chair came to mind again shortly after the doctors told me there is no treatment for my cancer. For reasons I haven't worked out, I still wanted it – strange when your personal sell-by date is imminent - but there you are; we humans are nothing if not inconsistent.

And so it arrived yesterday.

Matilda+Rocking+Chair

And now, having reduced my computer screen time by ridding myself of hundreds of emails a day, I'll have plenty of time to use the rocker of an evening by the fire.



Comments

Ronni, we need to have a photo of you in this GREAT rocker. 😊

Oh, I am so glad you got the rocker. And that is a beautiful one.
I find rocking one of the best things I do everyday.

There are so many reasons to indulge in a good rocking chair. I did that several years ago, when I purchased a mission style similar to the one in the picture. I hope you enjoy your rocker as much as my husband and I have enjoyed ours.

You can sit in that fantastic rocker and read the books you have not read yet.

Nice looking rocker!

Cutting down or out for me has meant eliminating non-preferences online that no longer are minute-long fun(home 'decor'), presumed or told-to-be important(politics, politics, politicians, way beyond election and personal usefulness) and getting rid of all those scratches of paper, magazines and articles that bark "Do something with this!," some beyond yellowing.

Every time I go into email, after all same-day ones are read, I must read and eliminate 5 ones stagnating on the site. I used to put them into folders to read later and have discovered many older ones no longer exist, with the Sender having them erased. So there's that.

Each day I spend 1/2 hour on either organizing, rearranging or giving away certain parts and spaces of the house. I feel good at the end every time.

At 76, I want interest, relevance and engagement with my mind and spirit to fill my spaces within myself and my home. It's letting go of treasures or junk that gave me pleasure in different ways. And creating a stage where all the new can nest in.

So pursuing the new (ad)ventures is my goal for this year and all of those are new for me. Who knows, I might not recognize myself in 6 months. Won't that be interesting.

Looking for ideas from others here, too!

Thanks, Ronni. Now I lust after that rocking chair. Seriously, it reminds me of my youth, of being rocked in my mom's lap and of going to elderly aunt's houses and getting rocked in their laps. Plus the design of that rocker is perfect. Enjoy it to your heart's content.

Wow. I'd been having similar thoughts the other day and realized, truly, that 90% of my life has been lived (if I am been lucky - I'm 75 and not free of medical challenges) - and accumulation should be long behind me.

I'm into "sparking joy" now and sorting through existing possessions and placing value on them and tossing those that are not adding to my life in any way.

Very timely, Ronni. And that chair. I bought a luxurious (to me) recliner when I simplified my life in this 1 bedroom apartment and it continues to thrill me a year later.

May you rock out some good thoughts.

XO
WWW

Glad you broke down and got it. It's a delightful craftsman piece, and I know you will enjoy it. Rock on.

Yes , Ronni rock and enjoy your good thoughts!

Oh! I want that rocker too! But all that you mention above has been growing in me as I've aged, starting when was 66. I started feeling weighed down, got rid of stuff, got nervous, waited awhile and got rid of more stuff. Repeat. Have just started getting rid of art supplies, the last of my excess.

I think manyof us hit a certain age and recognize that aging is about preparing for death. Not in the same shocking way a terminal illness does, but in a slower gentler way. Preparing for a journey.

Your last two posts are of such value Ronni, thanks again.

That is a great purchase. You will enjoy it every day.

My situation does not even come close to yours, but I too have started buying less and less. I still spend a fortune on food and books, but I have all the clothes and shoes I need for the present time. Our home has the same furniture for the past 38 years. I like the furnishings. They are comfortable, though shabby, and I have no desire to shop for newer pieces.

Not sure why I have this image but I am picturing you rocking in this lovely chair, listening to Willie Nelson’s “God’s Problem Child!” Remember when you recommended his album to us? It has become our favorite!

When we moved to "the farm" in 2017, we downsized tremendously. Old habits - well you know the rest. Now I need to downsize again. LOL.

I am too impulsive. MUCH I would rather do than work, but, reality bites. (I am speaking to Yoda-woman *smile*)

START ROCKING! Rocking chairs are almost better than wine for soothing. So just pair the two and Voila!

Love you,
Liz

I, too, love my rocker, that I bought at a used furniture store and then painted.

Cleaning out closets and cabinets is what I've been doing for the last week too, and it's thanks to you. I've been following you for years, and realize how suddenly life can change. I have no family, and, when the day comes, I don't want to leave my friends with too much stuff. I found clothes I haven't worn since I retired more than ten years ago, and will never wear again, but, oh, they were so nice. Nonsense, and I've taken them to the hospital resale store. Now I just have to do the kitchen cabinets, and I'm done.

Thank you for being my friend all these years.

Good for you! It's gorgeous.

Jan

I'm so glad you got the chair. Why not indeed! And the rest? Like you, I have been paring down for some time, unsubscribing from things online, not buying books any more as many are available as ebooks, and clothing? Just the minimums, and not much of that. I think I have finally learned the distinction "need" vs "want" and the "need" category is surprisingly small.

That rocking chair may not be technically a "need," but if it gives you joy, I say joy is a need, now more than ever, so good job! And isn't it fun just to look at such a beautiful thing?

Many blessings to you, and so much gratitude for your willingness to share and skill at doing so.

Love
Lola

What Faith said! It’d be great to see a photo of you in the chair with a good book and a cozy afghan.

I think it's wonderful that you bought this beautiful chair! And now, if anyone asks if you are off your rocker, you can honestly say that you are not.

What a wonderful comfort item is that rocking chair...both emotional and physical comfort. May you enjoy many hours in it!

Adding beauty to life is never frivolous. Love it!

I wish some comfortable cushions to support your back and head, and many soothing rocking evenings. It is a thing of beauty.
Love from Amsterdam

Good for you, buying that gorgeous Mission-inspired rocker.
My Mr. is in the same boat as you, he just bought a whole bunch of ammo (we are in CA, where all things gun-related keep tightening up). He didn't need that ammo but if it makes him happy, so be it.

If I buy a rocker it would be that one too. Happiness. Rock on friend.

What a handsome rocker! No wonder you were smitten. I've got a big old rocker recliner, in no way classic in design, but comfortable. The grandkids fight for it when they are here.

I've yet to start cleaning the clutter from my house, but certainly have started thinking about the mess I'll be leaving for the kids if I don't do something. Like Joyce, I have clothes I haven't worn since before I retired, boxes I haven't been through since the last time I moved, dresser drawers that haven't been opened in years, etc. I've given a few items to the kids as Christmas gifts (crystal goblets, silver tray), but there's still an overwhelming amount of what others will call junk. Not fair to inflict that on others.

Rock on, Ronni. Rock on!

I find that much of your thoughts about being terminal are also lessons for those of us just living. I had a health scare back last June, and one thing I decided: not to be so frugal I deprive myself of something I truly want/need. Or maybe just a luxury now and then. Hard habit to break, as I've always been obsessively frugal/thrifty/financial saver.

Love the rocker, enjoy!

I don' find it inconsistent to buy something that gives you pleasure. If not now, when?

I denied myself things I wanted that were not necessities for so many years I found it hard to change my habits. Recently I decided to buy anything that I wanted even though I may only enjoy it for one day or week or until the bell tolls for me. I will have had that one day, week or ? of pleasure.

I think you were completely logical in getting a beautiful Mission style rocking chair while, at the same time, giving away things that no longer have meaning for you.

The headline triggered this thought: "green bananas".

Rock and roll Ronni!

One would think a rocker named Matilda would bring a twofold joy. Once on the rock forward and once on the way back. Rocking is the simplest form of yoga and maybe the most effective. Thanks for sharing the photo of your rocker, and as we say out west may your ride it into the sunset.

Ronni,
All I can say is YOU ROCK !
and thank you for your amazingly personal, intimate tutorial on teaching all of us how to die a good death.
You are one very cool lady.
Love,
Lynn

Glad you bought the rocking chair. I can picture you rocking and listening to some soft music. A snack and maybe a glass of wine. Calm and relaxed.

Ronni. My pen name was Chancy on my blog. I have followed you for at least 10 years. Stay safe my friend

Good for you! Rocking soothes my soul!

So pleased you got that beautiful chair. Now is the time to treat yourself and enjoy every moment you can.

Love the rocker!

For some years I have dumped all free newsletters, sales pitches, and politicians emailing me in January with the message "annual email cleanup" in the unsubscribe. If I miss 'em, they'll almost always creep into my email again. But I can imagine not wanting them, ever. Mental hygiene.

A totally sensible purchase, to my way of thinking. And . . . is there any chance you'll share where that came from if it wasn't a local purchase?

I hope you get great comfort from your handsome rocker, in every way.

For the last several years, I have tried to "practice dying" as a practical approach to life. That approach led me to cleaning out the garage and the hall closet, both of which were amazingly full of useless and even ugly crap. And I threw away a number of old photos.

I also have been trying to apply this to my emotional/spiritual life, with good results. I've investigated natural burial, local hospice resources, and gotten a DNR tag to put on my refrigerator and wear around my neck. And I had a conversation with my son that has led to a real change in our relationship (for the better).

It's also led to a lack of much interest in most of the news. The murders, child abuse, robberies, and so on are so repetitive that I just note the headlines and move on. The political scene can stir me up still, but mostly because I fear we are embracing our doom as a species and as a country. And I'm glad I'm old so I won't have to see it (I hope).

There are worse things than dying.

Perfect! Rock on in YOUR beautiful
chair.

Stay safe and rock that night away.

xoxo

Excellent taste. I have a mission oak recliner that I love. I wish for you a matching ottoman. Maybe it doesn’t have to match, but wouldn’t you like to put your feet up?

Dear Ronni - I did laugh when I read today's post - thank goodness imminent death doesn't make one boring and sensible - combined with your psychedelic
journey - way to go!

You deserve that beautiful Rocking chair. It is an awesome vechicle to enjoy all your senses in luxury.

How gorgeous. Good for you. Rocking is a primal comfort.

How great you purchased that beautiful rocker to enjoy now. Even with your terminal diagnosis you are alive now and should enjoy your time.
I started the downsizing process after caring for my parents and shutting down their living spaces.

Also over 20 years ago my late husband and I spent a year living on an old wooden boat while our lives were in a transition phase caused by a forced early retirement by corporate downsizing. We sold our house and told our friends to take whatever they wanted. The rest was donated to charitable organizations. We moved out with 4 boxes.it was the most liberating experience of my adult life.
As we lived on the small boat the rule was if anything other than food was purchased, something had to leave. It was a great way to live!

I love, love your rocker. It gives you joy, it’s beautiful and useful – so, why not. I fully agree because I just did about the same thing. After my husband passed from Alzheimer’s 3 months ago I have been traveling back and forth from Atlanta to Nashville trying to clean out the old house and to bring some old possessions to the new house. My husband bought me a Lazy-boy recliner in 1973 – after kids and cats, the recliner is not looking good. I always wished to have a Mission style recliner but thought it would be a luxury to buy it now at my age. But last Saturday I saw it advertized on sale and succumbed - the Mission style recliner should be delivered soon – it looks about like your rocker, apart that it has an upholstered back and no rocking legs. Sometime little pleasures are so worthwhile.

Rock on, Ronni!

Rock on, Ronni! Oh dear, I knew someone else would say that too! Well, enjoy the wonderful soothing repetition of movement.

Rock on, cool lady!

You are amazing Ronni, and you deserve the rocker. Would you be willing to share where you got it? (I realize this goes against your rules about sales plugs.)

What a beautiful rocker! I hope you have much longer to use and enjoy it than you think.

What a beautiful rocker! And if it gives you the deep pleasure of both enjoying something beautiful and the soothing comfort of gentle rocking then it will be worth its worth in gold.
Until our hearts and brains are stilled we are living, not dying. So live your life to its fullest, and rock on!

Generous hugs from a friend in Canada


Ronni Bennett
Email: ronni@ronnibennett.com
Phone: 212.242.0184
Blog: Time Goes By

On 11-Jan-19 8:45 AM, Typepad wrote:

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A new comment from “Beth
Backus” was received on the post “Shopping With
Terminal Cancer” of the blog “TIME GOES BY”.

Comment:
You are amazing Ronni, and you deserve
the rocker. Would you be willing to
share where you got it? (I realize this
goes against your rules about sales
plugs.)

Commenter name: Beth Backus
Commenter email: bbackus1@att.net
IP address: 99.169.248.191
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Oops...

I just hit a wrong key and you got an empty email from me. Just
letting you know where I got the chair: a good price at Wayfair.
It's called the "Matilda" chair and is available at other online
shopping places.

Ronni

Ronni Bennett
Email: ronni@ronnibennett.com
Phone: 212.242.0184
Blog: Time Goes By

On 11-Jan-19 8:45 AM, Typepad wrote:

Typepad HTML Email





A new comment from “Beth
Backus” was received on the post “Shopping With
Terminal Cancer” of the blog “TIME GOES BY”.

Comment:
You are amazing Ronni, and you deserve
the rocker. Would you be willing to
share where you got it? (I realize this
goes against your rules about sales
plugs.)

Commenter name: Beth Backus
Commenter email: bbackus1@att.net
IP address: 99.169.248.191
Authentication: None

Enjoy!
The Typepad Team
P.S.: Learn more about replying to
comments.








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