Okay, we all know that the economy is going to hell in a handbasket. But I need to talk about something more serious, something that affects our lives every single day.
I'm talking about how complicated our world has become, now that we're older and weighed down with responsibilities as well as all the encumbrances of modern technology.
When I was younger, and I wanted to go outside, I just went out the door. Sometimes I paused to put my shoes on. But lots of times, not even that.
Now when I want to go out the door, there's a whole process I have to go through -- a checklist that would put a space shuttle launch to shame. I have to find my car keys, and my wallet. I need my cellphone. And my glasses. Not those. Those are my reading glasses. I need my distance glasses. Oh, and do I know where I'm going? Do I need to borrow B's GPS?
And I certainly can't go barefoot anymore. With my sore feet, I need socks and lace-up shoes, complete with the insert that's supposed to help my bad knee.
So that's leaving the house. But even when I'm at home, life is more difficult. I used to eat anything that was in the refrigerator. But my stomach has become a little more sensitive with age. Can't handle those rich foods. Oh, and don't eat anything with too much salt -- don't want to develop high blood pressure. I have to rummage around the refrigerator for 15 minutes just to locate some small morsel of edible snack to stave off starvation for another couple of hours.
How about watching TV? I used to ... turn on the TV. Now we have four remote controls, all of which have to be manipulated in just the right sequence, depending on whether we're watching regular TV, or HD TV, or Netflix, or an archived show from Free on Demand. And if one of the kids has been visiting, and switched everything over so they can play a computer game, then ... well, then, we don't know what to do, and we have to call one of the kids to talk us through it.
But the worst is ... going to bed.
I used to brush my teeth (on a good day) -- then just fall into bed.
Now the evening ritual starts at least an hour before I actually go to sleep. We walk the dog. Shut down the computer. Find my book, and my reading glasses. Then go upstairs where I pick up the room humidifier, take it to the bathroom, fill it up with water, bring it back and turn it on. Then I go in the bathroom again. Brush my teeth. Floss. Use the special 50+ mouthwash that's supposed to protect my gums and my tooth enamel. Put on my pajamas (I used to sleep in my underwear, but jeez, it's just too cold for that in the winter.) Set the alarm clock. Then wrap my elbow with the elbow brace that's supposed to help my carpal tunnel syndrome. Then lather on some moisturizer so my fingers don't split in the dry air. And finally -- whew! -- I rest my weary head upon my special pillow that's supposed to protect me from neck pain.
Am I crazy? Well, if I am, B's even crazier, because her daily rituals are even more time-consuming than mine. No wonder why we have to retire. It's a full-time job just to get up in the morning, find something to eat, and get ready for bed at night!