Diary

I’m tired


I am sure I am not alone in this, but I find myself all worn out. Without doubt, part of it relates to COVID — the idea of being personally restricted in one’s actions for well over 120 days — a third of a year — is not all that different from the physical degeneration one suffers from an illness or an accident. Just as patients with broken bones need therapy to regain mobility and strength after being laid up while healing — so a lot of us are losing muscle mass and mental acuity by being side-lined by life.

Our situation is comparatively mild. Neither of us is suffering illness in combination with the COVID seclusion, but we are in our 70’s and no part of life is quite as easy as it was even 10 years ago. Not being the sort to ever read self-help books I don’t really know how many people are out there talking about the details of aging. I bring the subject up in passing but “aging” is certainly not the primary thrust of this blog. Still and all I find myself thinking more about the changes in the act of living than I have before.

I have no reason to think I’m suffering from Alzheimer’s or any such clinical condition but that does not mean that I don’t notice changes like forgetfulness and the inability to “find” the words I want in my brain. It’s annoying. Nothing more. But it’s there, not nagging on my subconscious but not ever completely disappearing.

There’s naught you can do about the words you can’t remember, but there are things you can do about physical decline. Along with COVID, like most of us, we aren’t as physically active as we have been in the past.

Take the simple act of grocery shopping for example. I have only been in a grocery store 4 times since March. Our local grocery does not charge a surcharge for curbside pickups so instead of going to the grocery a couple times a week for bits and bobs of needful items, we place a single weekly order online and pick it up the next morning. The order is brought to the car and placed in the trunk by an employee and we are there and back in a few minutes. We used to enjoy the wander around in the store. Most of what we purchased was in the outer ring — the produce, meat, dairy, frozen sections but we often wandered the aisles just for the fun of it — to see what’s new, or perhaps to be inspired to tryin something we haven’t made in a long while.

In substitution, I find myself climbing stairs. We try to get out and walk a bit, although walking isn’t as easy as once it was. And like a great many of us the seclusion has not been good for my waistline and I feel the results of the in reduced energy and a tougher time getting exercise.

I, for one, am a bit concerned about what I / we are going to do this winter for exercise. Peggy in particular is concerned about slipping on ice. I seem to have a little better balance but I’m not cavalier about being outdoors in bad weather. We used to walk at the mall of a morning. I don’t know if mall walkers are still a thing but I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try that under current conditions.

All of the above I find tedious and tiring. I know I’m one of many millions feeling that way. But I also know that sometimes we need to know that we are among others — hence this blog.

I wish I could say that I found some inspiring pastime to fill my days; or some novel gardening idea, or a new hobby, or some such thing. I’ve not felt very creative and without doubt I’ve watched more TV than ever in my life. Not good. I know. But I haven’t felt like blogging very much. Oh, I still get out the odd post but not of a nature like the stuff I’ve done before. It’s all just too much work with the energy I have.

On the other side of the coin, we are both still healthy (in the COVID sense), both still mostly pain free, and both still kicking. We have a good, close relationship, we laugh a lot, we talk a lot, life is good — even if we are stuck on our own more of the time. Our family are all healthy — that is a double plus — we aren’t worried about them. And we have lived to see our first Great Grand Baby — a reality that too many people never get to see. Being retired our “income” such as it is, is more secure than many who have lost jobs. My point being that being tired, does not mean we are depressed. We are simply coping the best we can with circumstances as they are.

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9 thoughts on “I’m tired

  1. You’re not alone, Peter. I live in a fairly “safe” area with relatively small numbers of Covid cases. The thing is we cannot ever be complacent about it because, as we’ve seen too often, the numbers can suddenly soar so easily. And what to blog about when life is so confined? It is tiring. It is, in fact, exhausting. Yet, it is good to know I am not alone in feeling thus. It is what it is. I am doing my best to find things that bring joy to life, even as confined as it is. Memories are a treasure trove of things to think about, and perhaps write about. Everyone has a story. Everyone.

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    • Carol, I agree 100% on the complacency point. At present WI is one of the worse states in the country and it’s because people have been complacent and everyone is paying for the laxity of … well… not just a few.

      I have said it numerous times since this began, one can only act locally — for themselves — you or I cannot act for an entire nation, or state/province, or even for an entire family. And we two are dong the best we can right where we are.

      Funny you mention memories. Retirement has seen a significant change in the “what” of what I think about. When I was younger it was more about looking forward and I rarely ever thought about memories. In fact I have long made it a practice to do my best to forget things I had no interest in, things I didn’t want to remember and after years of working at it I have learned how to look at the weather forecast and forget in 10 minutes what I read because in 10 more minutes the forecast will have changed. I’m that way about casual conversations with passing people; I’m not likely ever to need to remember what I said to John Jones so I don’t commit that to memory. I remember faces, and places, but certain details I decided long ago weren’t important to be carried forward.

      The disadvantage of that is I now realize I have doomed my ability to pass an Alzheimer’s memory test. Telling me to remember 5 words is stupid, my brain has a lifetime of proving to itself that just because someone else tells me something is important doesn’t mean that it is and I let those things go, slipping through the sieve of my brain, as quickly as I can. I hope that never becomes an actual issue because my memory isn’t as bad as what that would seem to indicate. I’m just really, really selective about what I choose to think about.

      We have our share of soaring numbers right no. And life has slowed down. It’s challenging to keep active because we can’t do many of the activities we once would have done just because of the social distancing thing. Like you, we live in cold country and the idea of going to a mall to walk — for winter exercise — is not appealing. I read something from my grand-daughter about them going to Mall of America and walking in a section of the mall where there were only two stores. I’m not sure what part of the mall that is, it’s so huge, I can’t imagine even a part of it where there are only 2 stores, but they are young adults who will go for a 10 or 15 mile “walk” on a weekend just for fun. They did that not long ago on a visit to Chicago — just walking the streets in areas they knew from when they both lived there 10 years ago. For them to go and walk one length of a mall is ridiculous, but there they are, doing the absurd. such is life.

      As you know I have been moved because of the political situation here in the states; there are numerous topics in this life that are dangerous to become complacent about. That we are down to 1 week + before the election gives me hope that maybe situations will change and while I’m sure there will continue to be legitimate topics to point out, perhaps there won’t be so many of them. I can only hope. But until Inauguration Day that will be an issue I’m sure.

      Stay safe up there. And keep your faith strong. Sometimes faith is all we have.

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      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Peter. I do like to take walks down memory lane. They comfort me as I think of what my parents and grandparents lived through and survived. Wars, depression, the Spanish flu, etc. etc. and life goes on. My grandfather was a terrific story teller and in the days before t.v. became part of our daily lives stories of “the good old days” my family liked to tell were a source of amusement. We also listened to “programs” on the radio. I was very young then. You’d think I am very old. I’m not, that was just life in rural Newfoundland – my brother, who is only five years older than me, remembers when there was no electricity. LOL In many ways life then was not unlike what most folks’ grandparents or even great grandparents lived through. Haha

        Faith really is what keeps me going through all this. If 2020 has taught me anything it is to really take one day at a time. I’d always tried to live that way but now that it is more or less enforced it’s making a big difference. I am fairly happy most of the times, despite the pandemic and I owe that to the gift of faith. As long as I remember that God is still here with us and that I will be given whatever I may need for THIS day I’m good. It is when I’m reading news stories and doing a lot of worrying about the future that I fall into depression. Not one single one of us is guaranteed a tomorrow. This pandemic has underlined that fact – nobody knows when they will be called home. (That’s what my Dad referred to when someone died – they were called “home”) So, I am getting much better at living day to day, and hopefully spreading a tiny bit of joy or hope, or kindness on my way.

        I will be glad when your elections are said and done. I am looking forward to peace-filled days and less angst for your country, and for the world.

        Be well and stay safe my friend.

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      • Nice to get to know you better Carol.

        I’ve never been big on looking back. Until recently there was always too much to look forward to. I have loads of lovely memories but I anticipate that being a man of faith the future will have even more wonderful memories and my mind is set on them most of the time.

        I had a maternal grandmother who was a good story teller, and I had a couple wonderful mentors who were as well. Unfortunately my grandparents being immigrants they almost universally chose not to speak about what existed before they touched the North American shore. I got a few snippets but not many.

        LOL — listening to programs on the radio. I think I’ve written about the fact that already by 8 or 9 I would listen to the radio at night. I must not have been a good sleeper because I remember listening to WGN — a clear channel station here in the U.S. — and programs by Studs Terkel and also by Milt Rosenberg. Those were adult talk shows and I absorbed them like plasma and I never again had much interest in the things my contemporaries talked about. I’d been spoiled by the fine art of conversation. Something that’s never changed and that I long for to this day — hard to find people who know how to actually converse. Too much sports and weather and senseless political wrangling; not enough ideas.

        I know that this world is not my God’s kingdom — the one Jesus promised — but that does nothing to prevent me from living under his sovereignty each and every day. It’s no different than being an ambassador in a strange land; the rules are still those of my homeland even if I’m in a foreign country. That disconnection from where I reside helps me be more objective about the things around me. There is no need for me to protect sacred cows — the cows belong to others and are not sacred to me. And as for happiness, I think often about Madame Guyon a Christian Mystic from a couple hundred years ago. She wrote a grand old hymn from her cell in a real life stone dungeon, let me quote it here, and pay special attention to the last couple lines of the third stanza: How tedious and tasteless the hours When Jesus no longer I see! Sweet prospects, sweet birds and sweet flow’rs, Have all lost their sweetness to me. The midsummer sun shines but dim, The fields strive in vain to look gay; But when I am happy in Him December’s as pleasant as May.

        His name yields the richest perfume, And sweeter than music His voice; His presence disperses my gloom, And makes all within me rejoice. I should, were He always thus nigh, Have nothing to wish or to fear; No mortal so happy as I; My summer would last all the year.

        Content with beholding His face, My all to His pleasure resigned; No changes of season or place, Would make any change in my mind. While blessed with a sense of His love, A palace a toy would appear; And prisons would palaces prove, If Jesus would dwell with me there.

        Content with beholding His face, My all to His pleasure resigned; No changes of season or place, Would make any change in my mind. While blessed with a sense of His love, A palace a toy would appear; And prisons would palaces prove, If Jesus would dwell with me there.

        My Lord, if indeed I am Thine, If Thou art my sun and my song, Say, why do I languish and pine? And why are my winters so long? Oh, drive these dark clouds from the sky, Thy soul-cheering presence restore; Or take me to Thee up on high, Where winter and clouds are no more.

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      • That is a really beautiful hymn. I was raised Catholic, so this was not familiar to me. I will have to check this mystic out, maybe there are books written about her? Thank you for sharing this with me.

        It is nice to be able to have conversations with thoughtful people (which is why I love WordPress, I’ve met so many beautiful souls here).

        Take care, Peter, and stay safe. May you find much in this strange land to bring you joy and peace.

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  2. Oh Peter, I’m tired too. COVID sucks, but after 3 months off work from mid March to end of June I’m wrapping my head around new realities of my profession. Once upon a time I fine tuned galas for hundreds of guests, today I’m orchestrating delivery of thousands of frozen meals a week to residents of low income social housing. Hospitality industry has been decimated by COVID, my boss pivoted quickly and I’m fortunate to be working. But my goodness, I’m getting too old for 5-6 days a week of full throttle manual labour! “Mr., Visa” is happy, bills are paid, but sweet mercy, pandemic reality is hard work!

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    • It’s so good to hear your voice, Victoria. I think of you often as a blogging kindred spirit.

      I’m happy that your boss had the acumen to realize that change was the only way. I so much understand the “too old for 5-6 days a week of full throttle manual labor”. — I passed that a few years ago and each successive year doesn’t get any better. I can feel my body getting older and I don’t like it; but alas, what can one do. We play the hand we are dealt; playing any other is pointless.

      What a wonderful thing, however, to be helping those who are less fortunate! hard work though it may be. A good part of my life was spent helping others and looking out for them in various ways, even when I was driving. And of course our years of volunteering while we were a bit healthier carried that on. And I miss being less a able. I’ve not got to the point where I feel without valuable contributions to society but I understand how and why that does happen and I’m doing my best to limit/forestall/avoid it for myself.

      This state is in a terrible fix and denial is still rampant. Oddly enough even on the FaceBook community page for our suburb just a day or two ago someone still naively made a comment as if “everyone” was masking and distancing when the opposite if obviously true. How people can look around them and not see what is in front of their eyes; makes one afraid to get behind the wheel. If they can’t see the absence of masks, they must surely be too blind to drive a car.

      I’m afraid my confidence in humanity has taken a severe hit. I acknowledge that I’ve had my personal trust issues — the result of having been let down by people near and dear to me way too often — still, I find myself astounded that so many humans are so incredibly harsh and uncaring. I cringe to see the results of our election. Probably no decision on the day. States are being allowed to count ballots after the day so counts may fluctuate for some days. I can only hope enough of the population has finally seen through the barrage of lies but … who knows.

      Still, it doesn’t pay to live in fear or even to live obsessed by what you cannot control so we do out best to limit our actual thinking about those things to a few minutes or an your a day or so, and stay as active just the two of us as we can. We miss more contact with family — we’ve always been close — but now we are trying to be “close” at a distance. A challenge. And with our grand-kid in particular we aren’t feeling comfy about hotels/motels so we don’t get to see them in Minneapolis. Alas. In time, all will be better.

      Hospitals here are nearing capacity. We are in better condition in a metro area than the outlying rural areas where ICU’s and ventilators are sparsely spaced.

      You and your family are often in our prayers and thoughts. Keep safe my friend.

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      • Health authorities predicted a second wave more tenacious than the first, by all accounts it’s here. In B.C. daily infection rates have gone from under 10 in late summer to roughly 250 a day. Like it or not, this is our reality and we have a responsibility to act accordingly. Masks are mandatory on public transportation, all public buildings and most retail stores. I’d estimate well over half the people seen walking city streets have their mask on.
        I wear a mask all day at work, wear a fresh pair of disposable gloves every time I engage clients. The frozen meal contract is a lifeline keeping 30 people employed full time. Recipients don’t pay anything, it’s fully subsidized by the government. Meals are really good, generous portions with an extensive rotating schedule of lunch and dinner. Government authorities say there’s been a noticeable improvement in mental/physical health of residents on the meal plan. Satisfying indeed.
        Last week an COVID outbreak at an assisted living complex created more work. In addition to delivering frozen meals to residents, we’re now delivering 80 hot lunches and dinners for staff. (Government regulations won’t allow staff to bring food from home or go out to purchase food during an active outbreak) Bottom line – for the next 30 days we deliver hot meals twice a day. This contract alone is worth $38,000!
        Another blooming income stream revolves around corporate virtual meetings, fundraisers and customer appreciation. On our end we produce beautiful bamboo boxes packed with grilled vegetables, olives, artisanal cheese and salami. Antipasto box is delivered with a bottle of wine or 6 pack of craft beer on the day of a scheduled virtual event. For example – last week we delivered 80 gift bags to top donors and patrons of a local hospital in advance of a virtual fundraiser taking place that evening. This Saturday it’s all hands on deck to deliver 180 bags, in early December we’re tasked with delivering 500 in a single day. Oh my!
        Corporate Christmas parties are off the table. Instead, these clients have opted to show appreciation in other ways. Another example – a large national construction company (long time client who always had us cater their Christmas party for over 300 guests) has us serving 400 hot individually packaged hot lunches a day, spread over 10 locations (each with 30-40 employees), 5 days a week for a month.
        Suffice to say, busy is an understatement! Yes I’m tired. At my age it’s not easy to rebuild muscle mass after 3 months off. I could stay home and receive $2,000 a month from the government, but I still love my work and strongly believe the routine and physical exertion benefits my health. (Plus the fact working more than doubles monthly income guaranteed by government).
        It’s been 7 months since our family sat down together for dinner. That’s been the toughest challenge. We’re all well, court re-opened in summer, but Tom manages to do most of his mediations and discoveries by phone or Zoom from home. Youngest and middle son are causalities of reduced restaurant capacity. Our daughter’s business is thriving. Her soap “Nectrous” has gone international, now sold by stores in Osaka, Japan, New York, Detroit, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and of course Vancouver. She’s just been picked up by Holt Renfrew, a high end retailer with 9 locations across Canada. Very proud of her.
        Stay safe and hope for the best on Tuesday. Big hug, Valerie. 🙂

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