At an age when many of my peers have retired or, if they are not quite of retirement age, busy with new interests, I’m still pounding the keys at The Star and continually confused about which of the zillion enticing summer events I should pursue in my hours off. A trusted colleague hit the nail on the head: “It’s a job just trying to figure out what to do,” she said.
For a while, I thought it would be a good idea to let my (very good-natured) husband be our social secretary. He seemed to enjoy it; you see, he tracks everything he wants to remember, and everything that interests him, on his iPhone. Plus, being gregarious, he loves a good excuse, such as an R.S.V.P., to call someone up for a chit-chat. However, by the end of July it turned out that this arrangement just made our lives more complicated.
I would check the in-box on my laptop, go to my engagement calendar, and then have to ask Chris to look at whatever information he had recorded for us electronically. Who could have imagined that in our 70s we would be managing a triple or quadruple-barreled diary? Somehow, with all this scheduling overkill, we sometimes end up not going out at all.
My own cellphone is straightforward, with no bells or whistles or Internet, and I like it like that because it feels like a way to simplify life. However, together, my husband and I have gotten so used to relying on our take-everywhere phones that we forget to listen to the land line’s old-fashioned answering machine for days and days on end. Whoops. We keep missing messages, and not hearing about things until it is too late.
The truth is, my workdays are less complicated than my weekends and evenings. No negotiations or schedule cross-checking is involved when I am at The Star. The project at hand might be exciting, or tricky, or rustrating, but it is much easier to deal with whatever pressing matter is directly in front of me than to try to decide what I might do in the evening or the next day.
I am surprised to find the office a relief from the stress of life in “the Hamptons.” I guess my mind has just been boggled this season by all the hassle and crush. I’d like to take a bit of time to cook the fruits of land and sea or to enjoy the great outdoors, with the incomparably lovely weather this week. But, really, the only respite seems to be the quiet around my desk, and those moments at the end of the day when I’m walking up the lane toward home. I love it when I can do nothing at all.
It is said that many people revert, at least in some ways, to childhood when they get older. Perhaps that is at the heart of my befuddled mood this summer. The summers of my formative years were spent on a 108-acre farm in the Catskills. We splashed in the brook that ran through it, picked blueberries, and played in the shade of an old apple orchard. Now, if I could only find a nice, secret brook and an empty apple orchard, I would know exactly what to do.