Or Is There? by Rich Paschall
When you were younger, a teenager perhaps, you may have heard yourself say a time or two, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.” I know I did. Even today, with so much more to do, some younger people may still lament “There is nothing to do!”. Of course, there is a lot to do, and we ought to get going and do it while we still can.
Last year when I was talking about retirement a friend told me that after the first few days I would be bored. I assured him this was not the case. “I have enough in mind to do that I will be busy until at least one hundred and three.” “Do you plan to live that long?” he asked. “I am going to have to if I want to get everything done,” I assured him. I always use 103 when asked because the founder of the Neighborhood Boys Club in Chicago lived to 103 and never seemed to run out of things to do.
Like a good teenager, I sometimes play video games to pass the time. This is when I feel like I do not have the energy to assert myself. My desktop is preloaded with many variations of Solitaire. It also has Minesweeper. I bookmarked Microsoft’s Jewel game, similar to the popular Bejeweled. AARP website also has various games to keep your mind sharp. I have a long list of things in mind. Here are a few ideas. Take notes, you may need some of these ideas in a few years, or a few days as the case may be.
When I was somewhat younger I often noticed retired people of older generations spending most of their time in front of the television. While television watching is not so bad, you may wish to reconsider it if that is basically all you do. I try to at least go for a walk every day. It is the absolute minimum. I also try to get in some other exercise on most days. You don’t need a gym membership. Simple things can be done at home without any equipment. As you get older, it is harder to get back into shape, than to stay in shape. There are plenty of fitness experts online to help you out. Hampton Liu (Hybrid Calisthenics) believes you can start simple and need no equipment.
Of course, I recommend you start with your favorite blog. SERENDIPITY, perhaps. There are plenty of good ones. The truth is I have enough unread books and magazines at home to last me for years. Resale shops have plenty of books you can get for cheap. There are also those things called libraries. Here we can check out certain titles digitally. That means we don’t have to actually go to the library. I get the digital New York Times and several newsletters of interest. AARP magazine comes in the mail.
I have a few jigsaw puzzles I put together many years ago and some I have never done. This includes a 3-D puzzle resting under my bed for the last two years. I have books of crossword puzzles, word search puzzles, and sudoku, which I will definitely have to do in pencil. After the jigsaw puzzles are done, I need to give them away to a friend or a resale shop.
One of the problems with living in the same place for a long time is the propensity to save stuff. Aside from all the stuff I see just looking around, there is also stuff in cabinets, closets, and the basement. When you start buying large storage containers to save stuff you may not use again for years if at all, you have too much stuff. It is time to give away, throw away or put on ebay. In recent years I have sold off almost all my VHS tapes, Cassette tapes, and old format HD DVDs on ebay. I still have a lot of records, CDs, DVDs, and digital playlists, so I am not going to run out of music and movies.
There are a lot of papers to review and throw out or shred as needed. I never meant to save items more than a few years, but as things found their way into boxes and then closets or the basement, I never got back to them. The basement surely has items from the last century to be tossed out. It will take me a long time just to get the important papers in order. I know we don’t like to think about it, but it is foolhardy to keep kicking the can down the road, so to speak.
You may wish to save some things that call up great memories, but what about all those things you will never use again? I am certain the cabinets contain things I will never use again. Another time-consuming project, if I wish to tackle it, would be to go through some of the thousands of pictures from my mother and myself that were printed and now sit in boxes and albums. Perhaps people in the next generation would like pictures I have that contain their parents or grandparents. I could continue with many thoughts about “The Accumulation of Stuff.”
If it is not possible to travel the world any longer, we can still travel the neighborhood. Showing up in my email Inbox at times is the Newsletter “Free Things To Do in Chicago.” We have world-class museums and there are “free days.” The amazing Garfield Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Zoo are always free. The parks are wonderful and the beaches are great in the summer. I also own an excellent Schwinn 10-speed Bicycle. They were still made here when I bought that one.
Watch and Listen
There are now so many entertainment options that I can’t possibly sample all my interests. Whether it is “Films All Guys Should See,” or those “In Glorious Black and White” or even films “In Another Language,” I can’t possibly see them all, not to mention revisiting a handful of favorites I will never grow tired of. There are television shows from here and from around the world. YouTube and other services can now take you everywhere. You can even take virtual tours of many places around the globe.
I will never be bored or run out of things to do. How about you?
Read also, a short story: “Mr. Casten’s Clutter,” SERENDIPITY, April 14, 2019.