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Thread: Too Much Time

  1. #1
    Senior Member SiouzQ.'s Avatar
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    Too Much Time

    The younger me would have laughed at the older me complaining about this. Today marks the third week of the gallery being closed due to Covid, and I am struggling to find things to keep me amused all day long. The problem is my physical limitations put a limit on many of the activities I would normally occupy my time with. Landscaping and yard work is out because my right wrist is really bad with a torn something-or-other in there (MRI is on Saturday morning). I have to wear a brace at any case. My back, hips and knees are also acting up as well, so any bending over, lifting or even a long walk are out of the question these days.

    I cannot play guitar right now, or make any jewelry, and I am kind of maxed out on social media and computer trolling. Reading is fine, but I cannot sit and read ALL day. I can knit a little bit, but have to parse it out so I don't blow out my wrist. Same with typing; I can do a little but can't overdue it. Watching stuff on Netflix (etc) is a evening activity with the other half.

    The thing is, I am a DOER by nature. I like projects, physical activity, seeing something change from one thing to another. It is really hard for my psyche to have extended down time. I am facing even more of that when I get my wrist surgery in a few weeks; probably at least a month of very limited hand activity.

    And due to Covid, I can't even practice thrift store retail therapy! There is no place to go!

    So today, I really need a plan to divide up the time or I will start slipping into a depression. First, I need to get dressed (it's already 10am). I think I will haul our shop vac down to the gallery and give it a good cleaning. After that I will try to take an easy hike to the old town dump and peruse the dirt for any old bottles and interesting metal things to add to our collection. Then lunch. Then....I don't know. The mid-afternoon hours between 2:30 and 4:30 are really hard for me. My biorhythm plummets and for a few hours everything just sucks. Sometimes I will lie down for a little cat nap during that period. Then comes Happy Hour, and I like to work on some sort of art project then (I am currently working on a paper mache sculpture of a Sandhill Crane-type bird). Then think about what to make for dinner, then make the dinner, then clean up the dinner, etc, etc.

    I guess I am getting a little taste of what being retired might be like...except I can't GO anywhere.

  2. #2
    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    I hear ya. I try to imagine what it would be like to retire right now. I had planned to by this time, but decided to just keep working because I couldn't go anywhere and do much anyway. Might as well keep collecting a paycheck.

    Fortunately, I believe I would always be able to find something to do, but only if I could use my hands. I can't imagine your frustration!
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

  3. #3
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    I take it you are right-handed? This suggestion is not meant to be flippant at all - so PLEASE don't take it that way... but what if you start training yourself to do some of these things left-handed? Not saying it will be easy or the same productivity or anything as when you use your right hand, but the concentrated effort to train your left hand in some of your favorite tasks will definitely use up time and get you maybe a little back into doing some of those things.

    As for going somewhere - before I got re-employed, I was actually doing a walk in the morning and another in the afternoon. It broke up my day and, more importantly, simply got me outside/out of the house!

    I really hope the MRI shows your wrist to not be too bad and that you heal quickly.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. HH Dalai Lama
    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

  4. #4
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I struggle with this sometimes as well. I was getting out a lot pre-Covid but am being cautious now with minimal shopping trips. I do different seasonal activities, in the spring and summer it was mostly yard and garden related. Now that its dark and cold, I've been taking more free classes (through Coursera primarily) and listening to podcasts. I take a Zoom yoga class (this may not be possible for you, but I know some senior centers offer "chair yoga" which is less vigorous). I'll soon be making some Christmas sweets and small gifts. The one thing that isn't occupying my time is housework, because I hate that.

  5. #5
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I can sympathize, because though I've never been a "doer," I've come to the point where physical limitations outstrip my ability to accomplish tasks big and small. Hopefully, your health will improve--but in the meantime don't be too hard on yourself.

  6. #6
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I can understand your feelings only too well. My solution in March during the lockdown was to walk my dog and bake quick breads and eat them - not a sustainable solution. The covid bulge has shrunk a lot...

    I realized that I needed a project to plan, design the features and the process and then implement in the summer. I had a triangular flowerbed that defied the usual solutions. I started slowly by burying the grass under cardboard and waited until the grass was definitely dead and so on... Had a lot of fun with it.

    This fall not much has changed. I still walk my dog but needed a new challenge. I tried seated exercises and they were a fresh solution with a surprisingly good workout - similar to this onehttps://www.vivehealth.com/blogs/resources/chair-exercises-for-seniors. There are a number of them to choose from for a variation. One friend does an online zoom workout that she prefers to the local gym that was shut down last spring.

    I was looking at one empty wall and decided that this winter's project is going to be a variety of paintings to fill that wall. It may be a mix of watercolour , acrylic and possibly an oil. I have the materials. I took my favourite photos, enlarged them 150%, added a grid on a copy and then enlarged to match them to the paper and canvas. In that process, I discovered that my planned studio in the basement is too dark. I have to rearrange a room on the ground floor. More decluttering needed.

    In addition, I sat in on a fun beginner session on writing poetry. I have all these images and feelings in my mind so lots to work with. I then signed up for a free course on writing poetry with Coursera.

    I am feeling much more positive about the coming winter with covid protocols and more isolation. I have tried to cover the physical, mental and emotional activities I know that I need.

    That is my journey just as an example. What new adventures can you explore or challenges are waiting for you?
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

  7. #7
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    I get it - I'm a doer too so it drives me nuts to not be busy. I too have something going on with my hands that limits how much I can use them each day. The base of my thumbs are constantly sore. I have a personal motto "create something every day" which of course is wide open to interpretation. I recently got into seed collecting earlier this fall and am now trying to figure out how to start seeds within my limited window space. I have little containers of seeds everywhere with some soaking to sprout. I find it fascinating to research all these seeds, which ones to stratify this winter, when and where to plant etc. It's a good inside distraction from the monotony of the current situation and many supplies can be ordered online. Let's see...I am also cleaning out files and drawers, sewing Christmas gifts and looking at the internet way more than I'd like. Thinking about listing some Spoonflower designs. Looking up new plant-based recipes to try. Forgot to mention that for me a daily to-do list is important even if it is mostly domestic and administrative chores.

  8. #8
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    To-do lists are essential to structure one's day so as not to drift.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

  9. #9
    Senior Member Yppej's Avatar
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    Call up people you haven't talked to in a while. If your hurts your wrist to hold the phone use speakerphone.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    One suggestion I would have is to put up a bird feeder that you can watch from a window, download the free Merlin ID app from the Cornell Lab, and record the birds you see. Then submit the results to the Cornell Labs FeederWatch citizens science project.

    https://feederwatch.org/

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