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  • Writer's pictureRyder Lyne

Wasting My Time on My Terms

January 23, 2022

Saturday morning, on the couch in my jammies, sipping coffee and nibbling toast. I recall the days of my childhood in the 50s when the TV blasted Saturday morning cartoons. My older brother, overwhelmed by inane comedy, rolled around on the floor, laughing aloud. He was more entertaining than the cartoons.  

Now, I tune into HGTV, play my iPad games, follow up on email and social media while planning my day’s agenda. Mike greets me with a kiss, remarking on how busy I am. 

“It’s Saturday,” I reply. Can you detect the sarcasm? Saturday, Monday, Thursday  . . . Most mornings, Mike finds me in a similar position. I am retired. Covid is rampant. My early mornings are mine to waste. Most of my days are mine to waste. 

Covid has limited my opportunities for new activities while my energy limits my physical participation. Nevertheless, there is plenty of time and energy to get involved if I wish. Thus my cousin’s pleas for assistance in home care could be honored. But, here’s the thing. I am not a nurse or LPN or caregiver. I don’t want to assist people in toileting and bathing, shopping and cooking, housework. I want to spend time my way, even if “wasting” it. 

Brought up in a solid Midwestern Protestant household, I am sensitive to the wasting of time. It is not to be done. One is to be busy at all times. Except for infants, napping is discouraged. Despite or because of my upbringing, I like to be active and productive. Like choosing only the best chocolate if consuming calories, though, if I am to expend my energy, it is to be spent on what I want to do. 

I pledged my heart to Mike in sickness and health. Selfishly, I hope I never have to tend to him in sickness. I worked in the medical field long enough to know “it ain’t purty”. Likewise, I have instructed him to get help if I ever need extensive care. Short term, yes, I can handle that. But the care needs to lead to decreased dependence. My sister, friend, and I have provided many hours of care to this cousin. And we will do it for others. In fact, my friend does it daily for her spouse to whom she pledged her troth. I would do it for family and close friends. At some point, though, it needs to be turned over to the professionals. 

I fear I am selfish. As a mother, wife, career woman, I learned to be selfish, to protect my boundaries. It is easy to let others push through the gates until one finds herself overwhelmed with busy-ness and resentment. 

To continue to love this dear cousin, I step away. I escape to my shed lovingly dubbed Norway, or to the recliner. I take a walk, drink some wine. Then I text him and wish him well. 

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