One of the things I’m discovering about retirement is that every day seems like Saturday. I find it a little uncanny. Actually, if we can be candid, I find it very disturbing. From a mental health standpoint, I recognize the importance of being oriented to time and space. Yet, without the need for a calendar, I’m finding that more and more I need a calendar.
It’s strange. I post a daily blog and I generally save it on my computer by the date. Actually, I always save it on my computer by the date. The date simply gives me the day of the month. It doesn’t provide me the day of the week. I’m on uncharted waters here. I’ve never struggled to remember the days of the week before.
Don’t mistaken what I’m saying. I’m not saying that I don’t know that Monday follows Sunday and precedes Tuesday. I’ve got the days of the week down by rote memory. What I struggle with is remembering where I am in the process of experiencing the week. When each day looks and feels like the preceding day, I’m finding that it all runs together. Does that make any sense to you?
Who knows, maybe I should join the Rotary Club. Don’t they always eat lunch on Thursday? In the antiquated pages of my memory, I’ve always thought of them as being old men who drove Buicks and smoked cigars. However, I realize that times have changed. There are probably as many women Rotarians as there are men and I doubt that many drive Buicks. As far as being old, I don’t think that is a criterion any longer? Of course, I was forming my opinions in young adulthood and I may have made my assessment based on faulty information.
Now, I think I’m beginning to recognize why some of my friends play golf on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. For all I know, they may hate the game of golf, but it helps keep them oriented to what day of the week it actually is. I hate to say that I need a crutch, but I’m struggling with figuring this out.
The General says that all I do is sit in front of my computer. If all you’re looking at is a computer screen, the day is irrelevant. It all feels the same. I don’t like wondering if it is Monday or Thursday or maybe even Friday. I should wake up each day with anticipation of finding the adventure in the midst of the day. That part I’ve gotten down. I’m looking for the adventure and when I find it, I always find it in the midst of the ordinary. That’s the neighborhood where I live. Plain and simple is fairly descriptive of my life, but I am having fun in the process. I would just feel a little more settled if I had a better grasp on which day of the week I am experiencing.
I visited with a friend by phone last night. Before I hung up, I said, “Have a great weekend”. He laughed and replied: “Don – It is only Tuesday.” “So it is”, I said. I get that. I was in church three days ago. At least I’ve got the Sundays down. I always remember Sunday. For that matter, I always remember Saturday. Saturday is the day I make-ready for Sunday. I think about Sunday throughout the week, but I make my notes for Sunday on Saturday. Can you imagine the mess I’d be in if I only went to church at Christmas and Easter? Actually, the mess would probably be a lot more than just wondering what day of the week I was experiencing. I could probably make a sermon out of that, but I’ll let it go for now. People read my blog for something other than religious instruction. The closest I get is simply sharing the transparency that I’m a fellow struggler. I need the lifeline I find each Sunday to help me sort out the interim between that experience and the next one. Surely, you know what I’m talking about?
So my question for you folks who’ve been around the block a time or two in retirement is whether or not my disorientation related to remembering the day of the week is normal? In most other areas of my life, cognition doesn’t seem to be a problem. I’m still pretty good at remembering names. If I meet someone and repeat his or her name three times, it pretty well sticks in my brain. Consequently, face and name recognition come pretty easily for me most of the time. When they don’t, I can get by with saying: “Please forgive me. I’m having a senior moment. Can you help me remember your name?”
Unlike the General who initially turned to jigsaw puzzles to keep her synaptic connections vibrant, I’d prefer to carve out word pictures and paint a scenario with words that you can see in the resources of your mind by reading what I’ve written. When my stories remind you of your stories, I feel like I’ve hit a home run. I wasn’t good with baseball. My grandkids are and so I guess you could say, I’m vicariously experiencing what I missed as a kid through them and I’m grateful.
I stopped by my daughter’s for a brief visit last night. I would have stayed longer, but I had some unfinished business I needed to complete at home before bedtime. One day last week, I discovered that I had misplaced one of the keys to the Miata. That probably wouldn’t have been as disturbing as it was if it was uncharted territory for me. After all, don’t missing keys always show up eventually? I would say “Yes”, but the same thing happened with my truck about a year ago. I haven’t seen the key since.
I have looked everywhere in the house for the key over the past several days. Yesterday morning I determined to leave no stone unturned. I looked again for the key but to no avail. By happenstance, the salesman who sold me the Miata called yesterday afternoon wanting me to bring the car in for service. After all, it had been three months. Can that really be possible? At any rate, I responded: “You said to bring it in at 3,000 miles.” He confirmed that my memory was accurate. He seemed surprised that I’ve only driven the car 800 miles since I purchased it. If he knew me better, he’d know I don’t want to wear it out. Consequently, it stays mostly in the garage and I’ve yet to drive it over two miles without the top down. I told you I was big on finding the adventure.
Since the car salesman had me on the line, I asked him for the cost of a replacement key. I had the thought: “Why not go ahead and get one?” He didn’t know the cost, but said he’d talk to the parts department and call me back. Are you ready for this? The missing key will cost $380.00 to replace. You bet, I had unfinished business at home last night. I looked everywhere for the missing key. My morning report to you is that I went to bed last night with the key is still missing. The General drove my truck to Odessa. There is a slight outside chance I could have left the key to the Miata in the truck. How’s that for grasping at straws? Maybe I’ll find it there.
It was a move of desperation on my part. Before I went to bed last night, I started drawing clock faces. You know, a perfect circle with the numbers 12 , 3, 6 and 9 written clockwise on the clock face. Actually, I added those numbers initially and then filled in the other the numbers one through eleven around the face of the clock just because I can. My ability to do that provided great comfort and reassurance. Folks with Alzheimer’s have great difficulty with that assignment. They can’t do it. I can, so consequently, I’m ruling that one out even if I am clueless regarding where I put my keys.
I am pleased to report that I know today is Wednesday and before it is over, I may even find my keys. I am fervently praying that I find the key to my car. The one thing I know for certain is that I’m not paying $380.00 for a new key. Regardless, all is well in my world.
All My Best!