A TGB READER STORY: Dancing with the Monkey
Quotations on The Time Before Dying

A Day in the Life of Old Age

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Although this list is true, it is not meant to be overly serious. Try to see the humor.]

Wash face
Brush teeth
Aim body toward kitchen
(don't trip on the oxygen cable)

Start coffee
Take first pill of the day
Lay out next two pills
Assemble nebulizer equipment
Spend 10 minutes breathing with nebullizer

Check phone for overnight messages
Check overnight email
Delete at least half of it
Send morning email greeting to my “are you still alive” buddy

Answer personal and blog email
Check the day's to-do list; delete what is possible to avoid doing
Read the morning news while listening to morning news for the latest
(Two hours have passed)

Take pre-breakfast digestion pills
Shower and dress – slowly
Prepare breakfast
Find reading material for breakfast
Round up breakfast digestion pills - eat

Clean up kitchen
Plan lunch
Have a 30-minute lie-down
Spend time (10 minutes to two-plus hours) planning next blog post
Work on blog post / answer incoming email

Second 10-minute nebulizer session
More blog work
Take a break with household accounts and mail
12 noon pills
Prepare, eat lunch

Clean up kitchen
One-hour lie-down or nap (or longer)
2PM pain pills
Check to-do list and finish what I can

Edit blog post and set up to publish
Slow walk to trash and snailmail box
Small chores, water plants, lists, etc.
Sit quietly for awhile, maybe read
Begin dinner

Pre-dinner pills
Clean up kitchen
Count out next day's pills
Hot bath

Collapse on bed – movie, book, or...

Just look at this – it's all maintenance, every item of it and I've omitted at least half the chores along with phone calls, chatty email with friends, getting sidetracked with a magazine or book, etc.

I wrote all this out for myself a couple of days ago and was appalled at the banality of it. But guess what. If you don't count the pain when it happens and the chunk of time for blog work, it gives me a lot of hours to think about all the stuff I end up writing about here.

Not the mention time to think about all the stuff I don't tell you.

Still – it is kind of joke if you look at it that way. What's your day like?


For my sake. Thank you for doing every little/big thing every day in order to stay with us.
Love, Faith

Hey, you're not bored!!! B

When I retired it became necessary to put a routine in place.
I’m happy with my own company, spending hours reading and thinking so there was a real risk I’d get up late, get dressed late, eat late and go to bed late. And that “late” would become later and later.
I decided on the following very basic timetable:
8am - 9am: wake and dress
9am - 10am: breakfast and tidy round
10am - 1pm: washing, shopping, food prep
1pm - 3pm: lunch, doze, social media.
3pm - 7pm: walk, socialise, get tired!
7pm - 10pm: dinner, TV on in background, do indoor stuff
10pm: TV off, radio on, wind down, get house ready for next day eg empty dishwasher and quick clean around.
11pm: get ready for bed and read a book in bed till eyes droop.

My cat Mango rules my mornings, and he thinks they should start about 5:00. If he hollers earlier than that, I yell one loud NO (volume determined by his proximity) and roll over for another hour. Sometimes I get it... sometimes I go back to bed after he is fed and fondled.
Once up, though, it is Mango for a half-hour or so. He has recently been diagnosed with kidney disease and he is completely unhappy (and loudly complaining) about the changes to his diet.
Coffee!! is next on the list.

I used to head for the computer next, but I am postponing that these days for some focused breathing and a little tai chi or qigong. The pandemic has exacerbated my anxiety issues and these breaks really help. To help with that (along with therapist's monthly call), I have limited drastically the things I look at and unsubbed from several newsletters and global news sources.

I am loathe to go outside. I put outside errands on the same day, if I can, to limit how much I leave the house. We're a tourist destination in the midst of a covid spike and SO many don't care about our mandate for masks.

And now this just feels like complaining when I think about the things that rule Your day. <3

I usually feel both blessed and cursed by my White Privilege, but man...am I learning stuff.

This blog is not my first stop, but it is a daily one. I can't truly express how valuable it and you are to me. Embracing age and making death the next natural step in a life well lived is a huge thing for me. And I've been a faithful reader for most of 12-13 years. I share a lot of your material to a blog I started for our Women's Salon on Community and death & dying.

By happy hour, I could use a little happy... and find it usually on Facebook Watch where many many things, including live concerts are posted. And they remain available after the live event.

I'm an agnostic with a bit of a spiritual bent. I believe we're all made of energetic stardust and will be stardust again. I believe in basic goodness.
And I believe that the human species is ripe for an extinction event.

And I believe that what you are being/doing in your life and with this blog - through your candid honesty & vulnerability is Way more important than you are likely to believe. And the community that has grown out of it feels like family to me in many ways.

Wow.Ok. apparently needed a bit of release & exposure... Thanks for that opportunity, too. ..everyone...

I love it! It's not so much what we do as how we do it? Well, yah, anyway on a good day. Like yesterday. On a full night's sleep, I woke at 6. And thought, well, my ballot's witnessed, I could drive to town, be at the Dem Headquarters at 8 and dodge the crowds. It was a surprise, how thrilled and empowered it felt to vote! And another surprise, on the way home, the thought, "Hey, that could be my last presidential vote ever!" Now, today's very different. Another great night's sleep, but, maybe it's the barometric pressure, who knows, I'm foggy, runny eyes, barely managed getting the dog to the vet and back, and damn the weeds, leaves, places that need mowing, laundry, etc. I just wanna have a cuppa tea and read, and nap.
You got grace, Ronni, you got style, just who you are.

Dear Ronni et al,

Except for the daily shower (my skin is too dry and I live in Colorado), and the pill routine, my day is not that dissimilar, and I have come to appreciate the banality, the ordinariness, of everyday life. I spend some time each morning with my coffee and NYT crossword, then I read and respond to emails, including this blog and Richard Rohr's blog, then I meditate for 20 minutes. I've added meditation back in to my routine because I find it really does help me to balance during these times, and I'm hoping I'll keep it up.

I often have a Zoom meeting or two during the day, and I walk for at least a half hour with my aging dog, a 15 year old mini poodle for whom I have now had to get a doggie stroller because he can only make it for about half of my preferred distance. You should hear the comments I get!

But about the banality of life: there are lots of things to take my attention, from reading, journal writing, meal planning, etc to working in my studio. I've been a painter for years now, began in my 50's when I was living on the North Oregon coast. I love abstraction, but lately I have found myself painting more representational landscapes, especially from photos I've taken of the West Nebraska landscape of my childhood and youth. I think this turn toward something real, as opposed to conceptual, is a way of grounding myself in this strange, unpredictable and scary time. An abandoned farmhouse or a bunch of cows in a field is comforting these days.

And when I think of excitement or new things, I also think what, really, is new? And what kind of excitement do I want? I certainly don't want to travel; I hate flying and anyway, things are much the same everywhere, people are doing what they do every day, buildings and streets may look different, but they are for the same things and I just don't feel the need to experience the exotic or unfamiliar any more. Think of the beautiful shape of a spoon, for example, or the presence of growing things outside your front door, or feeding your pets, or yourself for that matter. Beauty is everywhere, joy is free, and for me, anyway, the familiarity of my daily routine creates a structure for all the stuff that goes on inside my head.

So, at this stage of life, I love the ordinary (even all those maintenance chores). I also love your blog, love the way you turn a phrase, love the things you think about and choose to communicate, love your candor and your willingness. Thank you Ronni, and thanks also to you readers whose comments I love to read.
Love and Light.

I had to laugh at the explanation points after the word "Coffee". I go to bed at night dreaming of the next morning's cup -- It's a balm for the soul. I am another who rises (too early) because of a cat's screaming rather than an alarm clock. And my morning, too, starts with pills, mine and the cat's. Your post makes me think I could benefit from a daily To Do list, if only to prevent what happened a couple of months' ago:

Stay up too late the night before fretting over the news
Wake up the next morning to cat screaming
Feed cat
Lay out my meds
Lay out the cat's meds
Take the cat's meds .....WHOOPS!!!

Yup, I did that. (Fortunately, I realized it a split second after I swallowed and avoided giving the cat MY meds, which really would have been a disaster.) A call to the vet proved uphelpful. Next I called my doctor, and we determined, based on meds, dosage and body weight (mine relative to cat's), that I was probably okay. Then we had a good laugh about it.

I am so appreciative, Ronni, that so much of your day includes tending this blog, from which we readers benefit so much. And as for the banality of every day life, pay the bills, do the laundry, clean the toilet, do the shopping, dust bunnies everywhere.... Well, yes. But also that old Zen proverb: "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water." Big or small, it makes a life.

that is an awful lot of maintenance, to preserve life and keep you here on earth. Good thing you are worth it!

My list was long even before I broke my wrist, and now everything takes longer. Having to empty or change an ostomy bag (for Jim) anywhere from 1-5 times per day doesn't help. Since I cannot drive until I get my cast off, I am relying on my children to take me wherever I need to go (mostly docs, haircuts). I would be lost without them. I cannot cook; just make sandwiches or heat up prepared foods. Being able to eat in a restaurant would be heavenly right now - but of course - that is verboten. Opening the prepared foods is hard with one hand. I rue the day I fell and broke my wrist, and I am reminding myself daily to be more careful.

I too, love your candor, Ronni.

Hi Ronnie...I really must say how much I appreciate your candor and attitude which embraces every little thing happening in your life...seemingy without much judgement. And then there are the wonderful comments from your readers. I am so grateful for each person's sharing. My rehabilitation continues for pulmonary diagnoses until Thanksgiving...then I'm on my own again. So I'm looking into a YMCA gym so I'll exercise to my limits on a regular basis. My lungs are doing better (after both cardio and pulmonary rehabs.) So three days a week I treck down the mountain to workout. And the other 4 days I do my own walk, and try to connect with my "family of friends." Meditation is also on my schedule, either first thing in the morning, or last thing at night. Being distant from my real family, I have just a few folks that I speak with several times a week...and want to grow that circle of friends...and see more of them in person behind masks. I don't exactly know how that willl work with cold weather coming along to limit our outdoor lunches and groups that social distance. I hope you keep on doing what you are doing Ronnie, and that you continue breathing in and out many more days!

Morning Ronnie, first I read your comments then I turn the page and read the comments from your friends. They light up my day especially Patty in New York with her little story about mistakenly taking the cat pills. Patty you made my day with a good laugh. Thanks for making all this possible Ronnie.

Although I enjoy new things, I appreciate the ordinary and in this pandemic situation, I like knowing what each day will bring. I especially like the days when I don't need to set the alarm and can get out of bed at whatever time! (usually by 9:00 am) I live on a farm and the view of red, yellow, and orange outside is refreshing and calming. Of course, reading your blog is a highlight of my day! Continue taking good care of yourself, Ronni.

Ronni, IMHO, it takes a special talent to acquire the community you have of readers who have become better for your blog...maybe a bit less isolated, scared, hopeless. Another "thank you" for your TGB blog and your commenters who thoughtfully share their lives.

Yes, some of our routines can be banal, but reflecting on them I think, "This feels like the sweetness of everyday life." How lucky I am to be experiencing them.

Parts of Lola Sorensen's comment were lyrical to me, part reminder of my beloved Nebraska, where I was raised, or rather, allowed to exist -- that's another story. On Facebook, there is a man -- Michael Forsberg -- another lover of Nebraska, who often publishes his beautiful photos of that state.

I stepped on a piece of sidewalk chalk yesterday and smashed to the concrete. Bruises, swelling and pain, but nothing broken, and for that I am grateful. Also grateful for the myriad nearby people who rushed to help, expressing concern and providing ways for me to get up off the paving, and for my dear neighbor, who rummaged around in my cluttered basement storeroom to find the walker deposited there years ago.

In meditation the other day I was told my life will soon end. I thought "soon" in eternal terms can be years or decades (although at near 80 that's almost impossible). Today I remember something Carl Jung (I think it was) who said dreams of physical death usually are symbolic, such as his dream of death as an open doorway, dark beyond except for a burning candle. So, this prediction for me I take to mean a psychological or spiritual shift is on the horizon for me. Life doesn't care that I'm old; it continues to present challenges and opportunities.

Yup, sounds basically familiar. I'm a night owl but was forced to become a lark during 57 years in the workforce. In pre-COVID retirement, my husband and I usually started our day before 9:00 AM but no longer. Now we watch the late news and Colbert's monologue. Then I read until 1:00-2:00 AM. Zoe, our one remaining kitty of three, demands breakfast at 5:00 AM or so. I feed her and go back to bed. We don't get up until 10-10:30 AM now. Sloth City!

Now that my body often refuses to take direction, I don't need 16+ hours in the day in order to accomplish the household/yard maintenance tasks I can still do. I've been reminded in the past three days how dependent I am on my computer. The hard drive crashed Sunday night, and I was forced to make my first trip to a store since March (other than for groceries and cat food) to drop it off for repair. It's still there--I'm borrowing my husband's in the meantime. I really MISS my computer!

The best part: it's different - in so many good ways - than Donald Trump's days where all he does is watch Fox and tweet hate!

Why do I think you do more than most of us and that most of us, even those of us working still, have days that have little that is interesting? Or now not so interesting. I mean, I spend the day at my computer (after toilet - usually a few trips first thing, coffee, paper reading, Words playing, cat feeding) and my view is of the FBI Hoover Bldg.! I don't even know how many of them are working - I used to be able to see in some windows but they are darkened now.

The other day, a friend who's also a colleague asked me if I was 'moving my body'! I said .. I get from the bedroom to bathroom to kitchen to liv room to office and back again. I asked if that was movement!

Now I'm laughing more .. at your day, Ronni, about what others recounted, and even my own. Life is a series of little events isn't it?

I’ve had my fair share of excitement in past years and am now content with my simple routines involving two cats, a husband and a house and yard. Reading, internet, occasional phone conversations and some t.v. is about all the stimulation I want or need. I actually tend to get anxious if I have an appt to get ready for, or if someone is coming over for any reason. Peace, quiet and solitude is where it’s at for this former “wild child”.

I consider myself incredible LUCKY, I don't have any serious health issues and I live in an environment that nourishes me every minute I'm out in it. I don't have many routines, simply check out the calendar and the weather then decide what I'll do but there is one important routine.
Every morning as I'm having breakfast I check out the latest news and then because I always save the best thing until last, I read your blog. Thank you for the enormous amount of your energy that you put into it. After reading the blog I read the comments. Thank you Patty-in-New York for my belly laugh of the day!

Who ever said "Dying was easy, comedy is hard" probably had no experience with either.

So, whaddya do in your spare time?
Another exciting day here today as I have gotten up late; so far my activities consist of:
-self care after arising, but this day I left on P.J.'s with big pockets for carrying things,
-slowly maneuvering down the hall with items I'm also gripping, along with my walking aid
-microing my brkfast (actually practically lunch time) to which I add fresh fruit I take to living room
-eat, watch TV news, simulataneously checking news on computer,
-ignoring annoying phone calls,
-lots of sittin' around interspersed with periodic trips to the bathroom,
-today it was voting -- studying an incredible number of propositions, measures, researching judges, local candidates for city council, school board, community college board member -- took a few hours as sought clarification due to new city council districts (learned my district won't be on ballot til '22) but made calls to city and also County Registrar -- will do drop box ballot tomorrow
-messing with the computer -- emails, IM's, moderating blog comments, retrieving postal mail for late birthday greetings and receiving DVD "The Story of Fascism In Europe",
-some routine pill taking 3 x's daily having once a week previously put them in individual containers,
-two or three times weekly filling my water bottles from the tap to keep nearby for drinking throughout day -- UTI deterrent,
-checking outdoors and retrieving boxed items (without touching 'til they've sat for a day or two) sometimes several times a week I've ordered off the Internet,
-procrastinating on various household chores
-deciding for dinner if I want to eat what's here in the house which is typically a fresh or frozen microwavable meal, soups, or go out to a drive thru to pick up something there,
-debating with myself about ordering pickup groceries and from which nearby store as the freebie delivery charges I was spoiled enjoying a few times have expired,
-will surf com'l network TV evening news and then PBS News Hour,
-not sure how the rest of the night will go.

I said something to my granddaughter recently about being busy. She laughed, not believing her live-alone granny could be busy. I made her a schedule very similar to yours and she was surprised. My day is full and taking pills is a big part of it. Even with a schedule, I sometimes forget to take one or two. Coffee is on my list as well because it is a favorite part of my day.

Thanks for this Ronni, I too take many, many pills but sort them once a week which I dread as it takes so long. But there is never enough time, and I nap where I stand, often at weird hours as I tire so easily. Some days are better than others and the pain shifts and changes.

So nap is variable. Showering and dressing is variable depending on the energy level when I get up. The odd time I just crawl back into bed for another hour or two.

Some days are brave. The effort is so immense to become part of the human race and do something "normal" like take myself out for a coffee. I feel apologetic about so much pain and challenges that I don't meet friends too often f2f as I just want to whine. So texting and email are distant and not the truth of my current existence.

But listing your day is a gift to us. I don't think of doing that and I must even if it's just to say to myself - well done! - not bad, not bad at all.


Your list is beautiful in it' own way, Ronni, a living poem.

The things you do...how is it really different than what anybody else does? We are life expressing itself in all of its forms, before our form inevitably changes once again.

To quote Ram Dass,
we are all just walking each other home.

Woke up
fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up I noticed I was late
Found my coat
grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Made my way upstairs and had a smoke
And everybody spoke and I went into a dream

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