Let me say right up front that the thoughts in this post are speculative. I have not discussed them with anyone (except for you today) and it could be that there is a term for this I don't know that caused me to come up empty when I tried an internet search.
Nevertheless, it is a real and important issue in my life and I wonder if its an old people's thing more generally.
I have always kept a detailed calendar. It relieves me of trying to remember if we said we would meet on Monday or Tuesday, and it is a central place to keep notes about the items on the calendar I might otherwise misplace.
Nowadays, electronic calendars make themselves even more useful than the pre-computer paper ones with such conveniences as reminders and syncing phone to desktop. And a calendar is no less important to keeping track of my life in retirement than when I was working.
What has changed, however, is that I am older, sicker, tireder and, compared to my work years, have much less time to take care of what's necessary each day, set aside time for leisure and be sure to meet the obligations I have made with others.
Thank god for calendars.
All that is to say that I curate my time and energy via the calendar. If I have medical tests or doctor appointments, I make no other plans that day and often not the next. With travel to and from, those usually eat up three hours of the day, sometimes four.
And for some reason activities away from home are extra tiring than whatever I'm doing at home.
One of my greatest pleasures is keeping up this blog. That involves setting aside hours of time on certain days, sometimes full days, because there is never any telling how long it will take to get something written that is good enough to publish.
I rest more often than I once did. A couple of times a week, I feel the need for a nap. If not, I usually stop whatever I'm doing now and then to just sit. Sometimes to meditate, sometimes to be still and let my mind wander for awhile.
In addition to the usual household chores – cooking, cleaning up, sweeping, laundry, taking out the trash etc. - I schedule regular, long telephone calls with friends who live far away. They tend to last about an hour but three hours is not unusual either.
So on paper, I would seem to have all my ducks in a row to, within the circumstance and requirements of my age and health issues, keep daily life running smoothly.
And that's true. Except when it's not.
Although I schedule my time loosely so not to be too rigid, it is a schedule nonetheless and when I book too many appointments in a short period of time, I pay for it with increased fatigue and distraction which, of course, means things don't get done.
I might be too tired to do the grocery shopping I'd planned or if it's late in the afternoon, I can't seem to concentrate on the blog post I'm writing. When I'm that tired I even have trouble answering email sometimes.
What no one told me about being old is how long it takes to do everything and if you (well, I mean me) don't plan your time well enough, you end up getting nothing done – neither requirements nor the fun stuff.
So much to do, so little time.
So if a friend wants to reschedule a phone chat or change the day of a lunch, I'll probably wind up with a day crammed full of too many activities – it doesn't take much these days for that to happen.
There are many reasons any of us might reschedule appointments and I don't recall ever thinking much about it until the past few years. In my working years, it was no big deal; now it can throw off my energy level for two or three days.
The worst, the thing that incurs my wrath, is when someone doesn't show up. A while back, a person I hardly know, never arrived at the coffee place we had agreed to meet. After a half an hour wait, I went home, seething.
Three or four days later, I received an email saying she'd forgotten and, as though that was a normal thing to happen, suggesting we reschedule. I don't know what you would do but I hit delete.
But right now, I'm interested in the bigger picture – that after a certain age (undoubtedly different for each of us but in the same ballpark) – it is crucial to manage our energy and stamina. Oddly, too much time with people as when I have two or more appointments in a day, exhausts me even while being with people always enhances my sense of well-being.
Does any of this sound familiar? Do you schedule your time?