I love to write.
I had forgotten how much until I started this blog. And I didn’t start the blog to write, so much as to provide a forum to some day sell my art. The writing was a by-product. Now, as time has gone by, the desire to sell my art has subsided, and sharing ideas has has become my focus, and once again, writing is a by-product; the means of sharing them.
When I sit down to blog, it’s normally because I have something I want to say, but sometimes what comes out is way different than what I intended.
Today is one of those days.
Today, I intended to share one of my mechanisms for coping with the lapses of memory that seem to come with aging. Routines. And boy do I have a lot of them.
One, in particular, is my “when I get up in the morning routine.”
It has evolved over time, because I am part of a team, and it annoys the living %#^& out of my teammate when I leave the bedroom in the morning without “shutting down” all the things that make sleeping easier for me. Confused? I mean, what can you need to sleep? The answer for me is, “lots.”
I need it cool to sleep in my post-menopausal state – windows open (yes, even when it’s 30 degrees outside.) And I need air movement, so the overhead fan is on, but it doesn’t make white noise, so there is an additional fan to provide sound. All these things are only needed at night, so in the morning they need to be reversed – returned to their daytime state. Can you tell it’s getting complicated?
To make matters worse, I sleep with my cell phone next to the bed, but I can’t hear it from the living room, so I need to take it with me.
Left to his own devices, none of these things would be necessary. He would be sleeping in a quiet room, at a comfortable temperature. But, as his contribution to a harmonious relationship, he freezes and accepts the use of extra energy resources. Restoring the room to its original condition once I get up (hours later) is my my responsibility (and rightly so.)
Sometimes Frequently I was forgetting to do one or more of these things, and since a) I hate being nagged reminded, and b) (contrary to popular opinion) I don’t LIKE annoying the man, I developed routines to assure that I did all the things I am supposed to, every day. And then I don’t need to be reminded, and the man doesn’t get annoyed. Win-win.
So, my routine. I wake up. I throw some clothes on (yes, I sleep nekked – post menopausal, remember? I just can’t take the heat. Sorry, probably TMI, huh?) close the window by my side of the bed, pick up my phone, go around the bed and close the window on his side. Turn around, walk to the low table on the opposite wall and turn off the little fan, make a right, turn off the overhead fan, proceed to the bathroom, set phone down on counter, and have a seat on the throne. Do business, get up, use hand sanitizer, pick up phone, leave bedroom, go into kitchen, pour a cup of coffee my loving barista has left for me, walk blindly to my recliner, plop down, and enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee while I check in with the world on-line. Whew!
I do the same thing every morning. Every. Single. Morning. Mostly. Some mornings, I deviate. Like yesterday morning. I woke up and had to pee like a race horse, so I dispensed with all the preliminary stuff and headed straight for the bathroom. And my whole morning was shot to hell. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but my routine was disrupted, and I forgot to close the windows, and I left my phone by the bed.
As I sat connecting to the world, my teammate returned home from HIS ritual trip to the gym a little out of sorts. I had, it seemed, not heard the phone when he tried to call to see if we needed anything that was not on the list at the store while he was there, AND, I had left the windows open.
Now, a case could be made that neither were earth-shattering occurrences. BUT. I got reminded, and I created annoyance, neither of which I enjoy.
Which SLOWLY brings me to the initial point of this post, which is, as we age, it is important to stick to our routines. To become creatures of habit.
Dead silence in my head. Really??? I am so addle-brained that a slight deviation from the routine caused me to skip two things I need to do in the morning? That is unacceptable. I need to re-think this. By being lazy and falling into routines, if something happens and the routine is interrupted, things that should get done, don’t get done? Not good.
I have come to the conclusion that the routine I have developed to insure that I do what I should be doing to maintain the peace has caused me to succumb to “lazy brain.” I cannot always control the variables that will affect the routine, so I need to use my head to remember to do the things I need to do without relying on the cue of what I JUST did did to remember the next step.
So, now I need to shake things up, do them out of order and see if I can manage to still get them all done. Maybe I can make a game out of it. See how many different combinations I can come up with of doing all the various steps. And I wonder why I am a sack of nuts.
Good grief, I can make life complicated!