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Avoiding too much routine in ER
Old 05-24-2016, 03:55 PM   #1
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Avoiding too much routine in ER

From: Routine is the enemy of time - Intentional Retirement

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While some routine is often necessary, too much routine can make life feel dull and short. It turns out that research backs this up.
I've found this to be true. There is such a thing as being too comfortable in routines, and this can easily happen in ER.
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:01 PM   #2
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Interesting article. I was thinking along these lines myself in recent weeks - my volunteer and hobby activities tend to slow down for the summer starting in May, and it felt like the days were just running together. I guess I'm a rat at heart...
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:02 PM   #3
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A while back, a thread was started on this same idea. It was pointed out that the above effect is what causes a person's first 20 years to feel so long, compared to the 20 years we waste between 50 and 70 for example.

When we were growing up, there was a lot to learn about the world around us. As we went through the teenage years, we had more and more freedom and ability to explore and to do new and different things. When we reach the later stages in life, everything is the same days in days out, and time feels like it goes faster.

Yep, one must keep movin', doing different things everyday. Easy to say, but I tend to fall in the same rut. I guess I need to do more travel and, when I am at home, to look for projects to do.
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:20 PM   #4
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When we were growing up, there was a lot to learn about the world around us. As we went through the teenage years, we had more and more freedom and ability to explore and to do new and different things. When we reach the later stages in life, everything is the same days in days out, and time feels like it goes faster.
Right. It appears staying fresh and sharp involves going against the brain's built-in efficiency.
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:43 PM   #5
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Timely, as I find myself getting too comfortable in my routine to the point where it is silly. It really doesn't matter what day of the week I shop or do other routine activities, it is just super easy to keep a constant schedule.

I remember my elderly aunt and uncle declining an invitation to play cards on a Sunday evening because they went to church on Sunday (morning).
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:47 PM   #6
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Absolutely. I've noticed that weekends seem much longer when we get out of town for a hike or bike ride or something, even if only one day. They leave a colorful pattern of memories that breaks up the time. Those chores-&-Costco weekends can be just a monochromatic blur.
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Old 05-24-2016, 05:22 PM   #7
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here is something that I've found interesting, in my own experience: When I was younger with young children we camped a lot for our summer vacations. Typically 10 days to 2 weeks. The first few days were usually a bit uncomfortable for me, while I fumbled around trying to cook meals, keep stuff dry, get the campsite comfortable. By about the 3rd or 4th day I'd have developed a routine, and made a few creature comforts at the campsite, such as a hammock, or a screen tent, a clothesline....whatever. Once I had a routine of getting up, getting my coffee, going to the john, getting breakfast for the family, etc etc....It became more fun, more relaxing.

The weird thing is, I realized, that I needed a vacation from my work-a-day routine, but as soon as I was on a vacation, I immediately started to create a new routine. After two weeks of the camping routine, it was much more enjoyable to return to my work-a-day routine.

I concluded that for me, routines were necessary in order to get things done efficiently and comfortably, but eventually, they become boring ruts. But without them, every chore becomes an energy sucking event that would wear me out in a heartbeat.
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Old 05-24-2016, 06:47 PM   #8
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These people have one thing in common...
Hugh Downs
Carol Channing
Henry Kissinger
George Bush
Jimmy Carter
Eva Marie Saint
Charles Van Doren
Alan Greenspan
Hugh Hefner

They're all over 90, and to one degree or another, still active and involved.
That speaks well for activity.

On the other hand, we all know folks who stayed active, involved, and flexible... but died young.

It seems to me, a matter of age and health, and that means individual differences. For the years before retirement, life was very active. Four kids, a job that ranged from 50 to 70 hours a week, 22 lock stock and barrel moves, and 25 years of Scouting, Little League and Church Youth Groups... community involvement. After retirement, for the first 20 years, pretty much the same activity level in different venues. Anything but routine. Travel, Camping, three homes...

At age 75, changes... memory problems... more need to concentrate... less able to multi task. Gradual slowing down. Taking longer to do what used to be quick and easy. Dropping some of the "as usual", fewer contacts with relatives and old friends, driving more of a chore than a pleasure, and easier to eat at home than going to restaurants.

So that's the activity part. Before getting into routine, a simple observation:
Time goes by too fast. Getting up a 5AM, and suddenly it's noon... Dinner at 5, and about an hour and a half later, it's 9 o'clock. Creativity is wonderful, and it's really fun... but it also takes longer than it used to.

That's where routine comes in. While I like to think of it as "efficiency" that's not true. Without building "routines" ... "normal" becomes confusion and everything becomes more time consuming and less pleasant. Now, we actually... for the first time, use the refrigerator calendar to plan our activities. Spur of the moment stuff, not so much.

But, before this becomes much ado about nothing... it was not what we envisioned. Likewise, as we become friendlier with people in our CCRC, it's apparent that we're not alone. Sure... many of the 80 and 90 year olds are still active... going on bus tours, attending family functions or going out to eat, but in the off hours, are more likely to be reading or watching TV. Yeah, routine.

So while we look up to those are still in the social strata, and in their 90's... my guess is that the expectations that we have at age 60 don't extend into the reality of the 24 hour day when we grow older.

So... YMMV, and maybe your 95 year old grandmother is still running the local 5K... but for us, the slowdown is in process, and we're not into avoiding 'too much routine', but more going with the flow.

Another wordy bit of thinking out loud.
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:31 AM   #9
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It's not just ER... The old phrase Variety is the spice of life rings true.
Be a life long learner.
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:35 AM   #10
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I found traveling spiced up my life and not just the curry I ate.
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Old 05-25-2016, 05:47 AM   #11
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A person cannot be as active at 80 as he was at 60, or even 70.

But if one starts falling into the rut at 60, my age now, it won't be long until he's in the 80, wondering what he has done in those 20 years.
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Old 05-25-2016, 05:57 AM   #12
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But if one starts falling into the rut at 60, my age now, it won't be long until he's in the 80, wondering what he has done in those 20 years.
Or sometimes, being 63 but feeling like 80.
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:12 AM   #13
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Don't know about 80, but mentally we both are as or perhaps even more mellow than many 70-year-olds.

Physically, I think we fit our age of 60, though we both look like 50. The latter is a good thing, else one of us would look older than the other.
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Old 05-27-2016, 06:44 PM   #14
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This thread needs that oft used Emerson Quote...

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"
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Old 05-27-2016, 08:01 PM   #15
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Two of my favorite people are folks I see at the beach in my "routine" beach dog walk.

One is the 87 year old who is there every morning at 6am... Everyone knows him, he gives the dogs treats, he's a basically happy guy despite dealing with the aftermath/pain following a bone cancer. (His joints were destroyed in the treatment.) He is very much in his routine of driving to the beach, sitting on the same bench, talking to the same people... And it works for him.

The other is a 91 year old beach walker. She's outlived her family. She walks the beach every day that she's in town - but she is still travelling a lot, independently. Some of us worry about her - but she tells us "pshaw". Again, she's on the beach like clockwork, walks the same path, talks to the same people.... Happy as can be.

I think routine is only bad if you don't like your routine....

Or perhaps the routine is counteracted by the calming effects of seeing the ocean regularly.
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Old 05-27-2016, 08:07 PM   #16
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Yes, if and when I get to their age (87 and 91), I would love to have their routine. Beats the routine of waking up in a nursing home each morning, then waiting to get the diaper changed.

But I still have some decades to go till then, and I should not be settling into any routine yet.
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Old 05-28-2016, 08:17 AM   #17
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I suppose its an individual decision. I used to be wild, crazy, and spontaneous. I cant say I am routine driven outside of my morning paper and coffee. But, I do stick with a small amount of "routines and activities" that others may consider repetitive.
I spent a lot of my life having to learn, and personally I am tired of it. I enjoy doing what I do. I have 50 years of self knowledge accumulated to know what I like to do. Even if it is over and over. If I had to do "new things" just because, I would be a very unhappy retiree. Let the days bleed together, I am enjoying it! And btw, throw me in jail, I confess...I like watching TV too.


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Old 05-28-2016, 08:34 AM   #18
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I suppose its an individual decision. I used to be wild, crazy, and spontaneous. I cant say I am routine driven outside of my morning paper and coffee. But, I do stick with a small amount of "routines and activities" that others may consider repetitive.
I spent a lot of my life having to learn, and personally I am tired of it. I enjoy doing what I do. I have 50 years of self knowledge accumulated to know what I like to do. Even if it is over and over. If I had to do "new things" just because, I would be a very unhappy retiree. Let the days bleed together, I am enjoying it! And btw, throw me in jail, I confess...I like watching TV too.

That's me. When I'm at home, I play golf most days and walk the mutt. Have certain shows I enjoy watching on TV. When I'm at my condo(1 week a month) I ride my bike everyday and enjoy walks on the beach. Having two places gives me some variety, but it's basically a similar routine every month. One I enjoy though.
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Old 05-28-2016, 08:44 AM   #19
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Work outs, bike rides, Internet chat rooms, and my investments are the major sources of routine. Non routine is travel, mostly between our homes, and reacquainting with our friends at these places. International travel also spices things up. Seems like a pretty good mix at this point.
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Old 05-28-2016, 09:07 AM   #20
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That's me. When I'm at home, I play golf most days and walk the mutt. Have certain shows I enjoy watching on TV. When I'm at my condo(1 week a month) I ride my bike everyday and enjoy walks on the beach. Having two places gives me some variety, but it's basically a similar routine every month. One I enjoy though.


Sounds like a great retirement to me, I will sign up for that! I would like to add a dog to the routine like you, Dawg, but being single it is too difficult. I am usually out 2-3 days a week on the "senior scrambles tour" and that is 8-9 hours factoring in drive time and play. GF is gone 10 hours daily working and driving so no one around to keep "the bombs" from dropping. Plus I travel just enough through my Vegas trips and halfway point visits with friends it just isnt possible.
My daughter has a dog though, and there are 3 dogs on my daily walking trail I go into the yards and pet each day. They look forward to it and the neighbors don't shoot "intruders" here.


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