There sits on my desk a black, seven- by 10-inch, spiral note book filled with about 100 lined pages that I use to jot down notes about potential stories for this blog.
Because old age has robbed me of the ability to remember any “brilliant” thought for longer than few seconds, it is imperative that I immediately scribble down anything useful at the moment it occurs to me, or lose it forever.
Sometimes these notes are baffling, like that headline above. What was I thinking when I wrote that? And why – especially knowing how fleeting these thoughts can be - couldn't I have bothered to write even a handful of additional words to provide a hint or two about the idea?
But I still like the phrase and after spending 10 or 15 minutes trying my best to recall the original thought (to no avail), I've decided to run with it today in relation to time.
Old age is greedy: it wants all my time.
You name it, it takes longer now than even two or three years ago. Walking, because it is our primary mode of transportation, is a big culprit. I'm slower now and when I think, for example, I'll make a quick stop at the market – just a quart of milk and loaf of bread – it takes 30 minutes and that's not counting the drive to and from.
This is a different phenomenon than the one I mentioned not long ago about time disappearing as though I had blacked out for awhile.
In this case, I am aware of time's passage and I suppose it's irritating because I am still unaccustomed to how much I have slowed down, making my time estimates all wrong.
Not to mention that there are things I can't or don't do anymore and so need to find someone to help out. Change a light bulb? Are you kidding? No more ladders for me. But even when someone is here for a visit, I'm as likely as not to forget to ask.
It's perfectly true that finding oneself in the bedroom and wondering why is not an act exclusive to old people but I'm pretty sure the number of occurrences has increased. More time gone to old age.
The experts tell us it is not uncommon for old people to have trouble concentrating and that's another way old age has been greedy with me - my distraction level seems to increase by the day which lengthens any project.
Recently, I was picking up stuff I'd left lying around the living room, found a note to myself about a quotation I wanted to check out so I hopped on the computer to track it down. I couldn't have waited until I finished the task at hand? Apparently not.
That led to another click and another and you how that goes. Next thing I knew it was dinner time and I still hadn't straightened up the living room.
Folding clean laundry is instant distraction territory for me. Once I've wandered on to something else, it might be bedtime before I get it done and then only because I fold laundry on the bed and need space to sleep.
The biggest aid to old age's greed for my time is tiredness which has shortened my days to about eight useful hours. It takes near two hours each morning for me to get enough coffee and news in me to be ready to shower, dress and eat breakfast.
By then, it's 9AM and I know weariness will overtake me by 3PM after which little gets done. It takes careful planning to get all the things I once did in 12-plus hours a day crammed into such a short period of time.
In terms of slowing down, the trick, I think, is to make the effort to adjust to it as a new normal. I have been trying and I make small inroads. Occasionally now, I deliberately shorten the day's to-do list so that I can finish it.
There is no point in lamenting the slowdown in old age and there might be an upside. As much as I worry about what daffodils blooming in February portends for the planet's future, they put a smile on my face last week. At my previous speedy walking pace, I might have missed seeing them.
As with just about everything I have discovered about old age, I doubt I am alone in these changes. If we live long enough, they come to most of us. Is any of this familiar to you?