Sunday, January 18, 2015

Change is needed

I've said this before, but life really shouldn't be so difficult at this age. I'm not talking about health issues or physical limitations, because I don't have much of that to contend with other than lack of energy. I'm talking about what to do with these days and weeks and years. My limitations are financial, really. I barely afford shelter and food -- not a lot leftover for 'living' life.

That's not a complaint -- I knew I'd have to contend with this when I retired at 62, instead of waiting a few years. However, I felt I could subsidize with part-time work and there have been times when I've been able to do that. Now is not one of those times. People just don't want to hire people my age. And it doesn't look like the affordable apartment I'm waiting for is going to happen this year, unless I'm really lucky. I've moved up to 30 on the waiting list, which moves slowly.

Aside from financial issues -- I'm flat-out bored. There's probably plenty I could do, but every time I find something, lack of energy sweeps over me so I don't pursue anything. Boredom, lack of purpose, are the most difficult aspects of old age for me, thus far, and this is certainly not the first time I've written about that here. Clearly, it's time for a change of some kind. But what?

By change, I don't mean another move, certainly. I'm happy with this town. I just need to find a way to have the energy to take advantage of it. I've had an application to volunteer at the library in my desk drawer for months now, and think I'll turn it in. I want something that doesn't require sitting -- shelving books, etc. would work well for me, and of course I love books and the library, and the work is something of a solitary kind, which is good.

On the positive side, I've finally begun to enjoy my workouts at the gym again. For the first month or so I had to force every effort, but this past week that's changed. I'm enjoying it more, working harder and longer. I think that may be because I've found something to enjoy: rowing. I've been reading a book about and Olympic rowing team in 1936, which reminded me how useful rowing is to the body. It's effectively a whole-body exercise, plus aerobics, and I like that. I've moved up from 15 minutes to 25 minutes, am working harder (more strokes per minute), and will keep that momentum going. I had a rowing machine when I first moved to Atlanta back in 1986, used it for several years. It was simpler, didn't have the fun readouts the pro machine at the gym has, but it did the job. Friday I spent a total of 45 minutes at the gym, including exercises other than rowing. It feels good again, so I'll keep it up, keep extending.

I eat well, but my sleep is irregular and not truly restful. I'm overweight -- but nothing seems to change that other than constant activity, such as at the hermitage or vihara in California where I'm working, walking hills or stairs. I suspect that at least some of the energy lack comes from the latter two, and it's kind of a vicious circle, really. If I'm not rested, the energy lags, and if the energy is low I have a hard time pushing myself to even walk the sidewalks of this neighborhood to keep busy. And there's not a lot of activity that's possible inside, certainly!

Answers will come. They always do. In the meantime, I'll put my focus on the things I can do.


  1. Ah, the hindrance of sloth and torpor, my favorite.
    Remember, nothing is permanent. Also: January.
    You know how to work with a hindrance, you've just forgotten:
    Be mindful when it is present and how you experience it, investigate what may be causing it, as though you are your own doctor.
    Be mindful of when it is not present, investigate what causes the cessation, follow the path that encourages cessation.
    Try something, anything, and notice what happens.
    Have you ever listened to Audio Dharma? some good talks on this topic.

  2. Hi, Jane! Thanks for your comment. I've never thought of this as sloth and torpor, probably because it's more part of 'life' than meditation and practice, but then, I need to remember that life IS practice. I'll have to think about this for awhile -- see if I can do something with it. It doesn't take much to distract me, but I spend way too much time in this chair at this computer, and I need more to keep me away from that particular waste of time.

    I saw a community recently that reminded me of you, and our conversation about a Buddhist community of some sort to live in. This was a 'spiritual community', located on a large rural property with a large house and several outbuildings. Nice garden, chickens, trails through the woods, etc. 'Spiritual' was defined by the individuals, however the owners were strong Christians and I got the impression rather strongly that they preferred tenants whose ultimate higher power was the Christian God, even though others were welcome. Still would be nice to have such a place limited to those on a Buddhist path, and either fewer people or more autonomous housing for those that are there. There were 8 in the main house and that was too many for me. I guess all it takes is money to buy the property, because I don't think members/tenants would be hard to find. Alas, money is something I don't have.

    Good to hear from you!