The Hamster Wheel

by Mark

Many mornings as I sit at our front window enjoying my second, or sometimes, third mug of coffee I think about how similar retirement in the time of COVID is to the intrepid hamster, running round and round on his wheel, going absolutely nowhere yet enjoying the hell out of it.

I wonder, fellow retirees, just how many of you might being feeling the same.

My wife and I will receive our second vaccinations next week, and for that I am beyond thankful, but I will feel no urgency in returning to those few activities that occupied many of our waking hours before March of last year.

We haven't been to a restaurant for nearly twelve months, and that time was to see my cousin who was coming through town on her way to see friends near Fort Meade on the western shore of Maryland. We dined on a deck overlooking the small creek that bifurcates our downtown area, with masks on while we weren't eating or drinking, and it was wonderful to see her but still felt "different."

The single activity that I do really miss is playing pickleball, something I had never participated in until our last move back to the street I had spent many years of my life living on.

We moved into our new/old house in August of 2019, and the very first day I was out on the patio I heard an unfamiliar "bonk....bonk" emanating from the public tennis courts across the street.

I walked over to inquire and watch for a while, and got literally sucked into the great fun and great exercise of a racquet sport that is now all the rage for "mature" athletes of all levels. A full two weeks after my second shot I hope to grab my racquet and a towel and venture across the road once again to see if I can get into a game.

Hey, it'll get me off the hamster wheel, and that's a very good thing!

Comments for The Hamster Wheel

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Hamster Wheel Keeps on Turning
by: Canadian Retiree

Not much has changed for my husband and I as far as getting back to life after Covid.

I’m finally getting my first vaccine possibly in April. We’re behind here in Canada. I’m looking forward to my art class starting in April.

My husband has bad health so doesn’t get out much. We’re kind of enjoying an online life not in a hurry to join rat race again.

Some things to think about
by: Michael - Sunny and Warm Venice Florida

Wendy - you are to be commended. Taking care of your parents is the greatest gift that a child can give to a parent.

I am 55, and Mom and Dad are 77 and 86. I wished I lived closer to them. But, 1,400 miles is a bit far for a quick visit.

Fortunately, Dad is in great shape and still able to do all of the home maintenance and yard work as well as run on the treadmill and play tennis. He says he would never move to a retirement community - he would have nothing to do!

I am getting my second COVID vaccine in three weeks. With the exception of having to wear a mask, and missing visits with relatives, my life is mostly the same as pre-pandemic. Yes, meetings for organizations where I serve as a volunteer director as held online. But, that makes those meetings shorter - a plus side to the pandemic if you ask me!

I was thinking today how lucky I am not to need a job and to have enough money to live on. And, lucky to live in one place during the winter and another place in the summer.

I recently started following a whole-foods, plant-based diet and am enjoying making new recipes.

Yes, COVID has set up restrictions for our lives. But, it has also given us the opportunity to explore and find new ways to entertain ourselves.

Jumped off Hamster Wheel
by: John A / East Tx

Living in Texas and the people being an independent bunch, we tried to live life as normal as possible even though many businesses shut down because of COVID.

To keep myself occupied, I had to jump off the hamster wheel from going crazy.

In some states, things were locked down so tight that even working in the yard was prohibited. Not here.

So, to keep myself busy, I ramped up my restoration of a 1998 Stewart and Stevenson M1078 LMTV vehicle I purchased from a military surplus auction in 2019. That was over 22,000 pounds of truck sitting out in my workshop.

For months, I worked on it each day turning it into an RV that will go anywhere with 46" tall tires that push 400 pounds apiece. I completed the project in early February 2021.

Then the big winter freeze hit Texas in mid February that the entire state was not prepared for. Temps dipped to -6. The entire state was in a world of hurt since power generation could not meet the demand and rolling blackouts resulted. Homes went without heat for days and water pipes froze. Homes became freezers and running water non-existent because city water lines froze and broke. The streets were impassible since none of the cities had snow removal equipment for roads. That sort of weather never hits Texas. Usually snow hangs around for a few hours and is gone. Not this time. We were locked in our deep freeze homes for over a week.

I used the lift I made for my RV to remove the camper and then went about driving the streets of my community, pulling out stuck cars on the side of the road, a task the vehicle was designed to do. The 24,000-pound winch on the vehicle had no problem pulling cars out and letting folks get home.

If there was an upside to the snowstorm and the pandemic, jumping off the hamster wheel allowed me to help folks in a time of need when regular tow trucks were unable to reach them. I even loaded firewood on the vehicle and delivered to homes with fireplaces/ wood stoves to heat their homes.

I honestly believe I bought that truck for an unknown purpose that only our Maker knew about. I’m glad I jumped off the hamster wheel that went no where. It felt good helping folks in times of need. It was food for the soul.

Now the camper is reattached and ready to head for the high country later in the spring and summer provided the politicians don’t shut down society again.

Wendy: WOW John! Kudos to you -- perfect timing for a long-awaited job to be conquered! THEN you were able to go where others couldn't during the storm -- BIG WOW! God had plans...

Hamster Wheel
by: Nancy

I've gotten so used to sheltering, it's hard for me to go out anymore.

We have been to a restaurant once in the past 6 or 8 months. My husband and I got our 2nd shot 2 weeks ago, and I, too, am so grateful.

About staying home vs. getting out, we went back to in-person church last Sunday for the first time since November.

On Thursday, I attended a prayer group meeting with several women. I was surprised at how elated and in a good mood just from getting out and being around live people.

During the months at home we watched our live church every Sunday morning, and I "attended" two Bible studies on Zoom, but it's not the same.

I am THAT Hamster!
by: Wendy, Retirement Enthusiast/Coach

Yes, this is me -- before and during COVID, I travel every day, just a few miles to spend time at my mothers condo. They are now 92 and 94 and need lots of help... not to mention the emotions of watching two loved ones slowly decline day by day.

The PLUS is that I do get out of my own home. The Hamster Wheel effect is running back and forth to moms -- every day, same routine, get it done.

For three weeks now, we are taking 24-hour shifts: 10 am to 10 am. So I am "ON" for the day and night, and I come home and I am "OFF" for the rest of the day. I sleep, watch mindless tv, and turn off the world. Done. I am surprised at how exhausted I am.

The next morning, back on the Hamster Wheel!

I'm really not whining... they are so grateful and I'm happy to help them stay at home sweet home.

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