As empty nesters, we thought we had life figured out. No teenagers in the house, just us and a couple of dogs, still working the full-time jobs, and eating out a lot, seeing friends, going to concerts, making plans, having fun, blogging, playing music, and spending time on the weekends cleaning, exploring, meal planning, and squeezing in some extra play time. When 2020 hit we enjoyed our downtime, I started videoing our lives, and had no idea how precious that time would actually become and how contrasted it would be against 2021 and 2022 when we were on some kind of a roller coaster – slingshot – whiplash kind of a schedule – if you could actually say we had schedules at all for those years.
Little did we know our life was about to change, throwing a wrench in the life we knew. Our jobs changed, we lost our two dogs, got another dog, my mother moved in with us and built a house and we moved her twice, we started going back to church, a lot of our friends moved away, we placed membership at church, joined a life group, I started student helping in World Bible School, and totally became responsible for Mom’s needs (food/supplies/dog trims and her many doc appointments).
The adjustments to all of that in the last couple of years have really taken their toll on us. I don’t think we were ready at all for the changes we were about to go through. But God did not give us more than we could handle, but we did have to depend on Him a lot and still do. We are still defining things and figuring it out as we go.
Since then we have ironed out a few things, set a few boundaries, and have moved a lot of stuff around in the schedule, or just not doing things we once used to do. I decided to make a list, because that is how I roll. lol
So here is how everything has changed or shaken out as far as the schedule:
- TV gets booted out for us a lot of evenings after dinner. Sometimes there is just NO time left. I often will retreat to the back to do World Bible school, upload a video, check on Mom, or read in the small time that is left.
- Spend less time cleaning the house. I do what I can but there is not enough time to make the normal cleaning schedule, so just whatever is rearing its ugly head the most, gets the attention.
- We keep lists of things to do more intently and it is necessary that we spend more time prioritizing. The rest stays on the list so we won’t forget about them. But the things that are most important to us rise to the top of the list for when we get a moment to handle them.
- We do Hello Fresh every other week and do less weekly meal planning. This is a joy to do, and I miss the weekly meal planning but frankly we don’t have a lot of time to do it. It’s just kindof on the fly.
- We work on things on the go, do multiple things in one outing, and try to make sure we make the most of the time we have.
- We never go to concerts or sporting games anymore. That was a luxury.
- We rarely get to go on weekend excursions now as we really need each weekend at home to get things done now that we usually get only one day a week if that.
- Work hours moved from (7:30 to 8 arrival and 4:30 to 5:00 departure) to (6:30 arrival and 3:00-4:00 departure) b/c of traffic mainly when we changed jobs. I got a few minutes back in the daily schedule and cut my hours back to minimum that I could b/c of increased responsibility for Mom’s care.
- Instead of doing laundry one load a day, it’s been pushed to Saturday’s. This changed early on in 2021 when Mom moved in. I gave her all week to get her laundry done and then when Saturday came I did mine on the weekends. And it just stuck.
- Bible Study and prayer time, once at the beginning of the day – moved to car time. I pray on the way to work and listen to Bible podcasts and YouTubes on the way home. Sometimes I use YouVersion right before bed or while waiting in a doc office.
- Reading personal e-mails are usually done on Sundays on the way to and from church and/or in doc waiting rooms.
- My program that helps me the most is my iPhone Reminder app. I can easily move things from one day to any other day of my choosing. I can prioritize it easily. It has been wonderful.
- My editing time for the videos has moved from Saturday’s and Sunday’s to the weeknights. This has worked out great. See schedule below.
- My vlogging (video taping) is done on Saturday’s for the most part now. Whatever is going on – on Saturday is what you get! This has worked out great.
- Blogging has moved from every morning to 2 to 3 times a week only and done at night. Although my notes might be taken in bullet form anywhere/anytime as I’m having thoughts and can write them down til I can formalize my thoughts later.
- We eat at the table instead of eating while we watch a show. That’s another reason it’s hard for us to get a show in, lol. The night’s activities at the table take up about 30 minutes. The dog is mainly the reason. A big dog in the house makes it harder to eat in the chair and watch TV. No peace.
- We rarely get to go shopping now. So we save time that way. I’m usually forced to just order online on the fly. But I’m trying to squeeze in a few thrifting and sale finding shopping excursions just for fun. Mostly this will have to wait til retirement and will definitely be thrifting by then.
- We had to limit Mom to one grocery trip per week – after going after onesie twos items and getting them to her during the week taking up a whole night. We learned quickly to limit this grocery deal to once per week or she will have us going every day to the store. lol. Mom has even learned to go two weeks, so I’m proud of her for that. I think she stocks up afraid she will forget something later.
- I set a boundary to getting my Saturday’s as it’s my one day to get anything done in the house, run errands, grocery shop, or whatever we need to do. Often I don’t get this day though if we are on a weekend trip or something special is happening. If anyone has a need, they have to wait til another day. Ironically I was just challenged on this today. But I kept my boundary for my own sanity’s sake. It’s my only freedom. To not get it means I have to go two weeks without a day to call mine. And that is just to do mostly chores. I still give Mom one Saturday every 5 weeks for Fancy’s trim and a breakfast out. And sometimes George needs me on a Saturday to go somewhere with him.
- Projects are usually never completed in one attempt, in one sitting, or in one day. For example it’s taken at least three days to get this blog post written and posted.
- We are dividing and conquering Sundays. This was George’s idea, mainly because we were both gone on Sunday from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. He suggested we begin to rotate Sunday’s doing Mom’s things (store, errands) and letting one take her and the other go home after church, riding separately. Even though I told him (she’s not your Mom, you don’t have to do ANY Sunday’s at all with us). But he insisted and that was sweet.
- Other than church life group and a rare once or twice a year thing with a couple of friends – we just don’t get to socialize anymore. There’s no time. If we do it has to be planned way in advance.
I’ve been surprised at how this has worked. If I can get anything done on the weekend it helps me so much. But I usually don’t. Here’s what I do in the evenings.
Monday – I gather and set the video and photo files to work with, put them in the Final Cut Pro timeline and get a general feel for what the next video will include.
Tuesday – I do video editing, select music, and get most of the editing done.
Wednesday – I add titles, graphics, and do voiceovers.
Thursday – I catch up on anything I’m behind on from above and watch the video through one last time, export it to file, and import it to YouTube and let it import overnight while sleeping. If I have time I’ll do the thumbnail for YouTube but usually don’t have time.
Friday night – Do the thumbnail, finish the details for publishing on Youtube such as the Title, description, key words, and the rest. I schedule it for Saturday morning to go live at 7:00 am. George and I watch the video on Friday nights.
So at least the schedule is flattening out some. We are still feeling the pinch of not having much time, but at least it is better than it was. And we are met with adversity at nearly everything we try to do or change or control. I can’t wait for retirement so that there is not squabbling over when and what we can do. I hate being mistreated for things we can’t do to meet someone else’s schedule.
I mean, no names, but one family member hung up on me today after I told them I could not take them to go buy something they wanted tomorrow morning. But I told them we (either George or I) could take them to get it Sunday. When I tried to explain, I was hung up on. Just no thought whatsoever that maybe George and I would like to have a day to do our things! No thought that we have worked all week! I have also spent all week struggling trying to get people to doc appointments, getting my work week in during the busiest part of the quarter, and doing it all sick and not feeling like it. I’m taking tomorrow and I will NOT be made to feel guilty for it. The tribe has spoken!
But I can’t be responsible for other’s behavior. I can only be responsible for my own.
So yeah, the schedule is flatter, it’s working well – for most of us – except for the ones who want ALL of the time we have, lol. That’s just not gonna happen. There are some that can never be pleased. And I’ve quit trying. I have to protect myself and set boundaries. Otherwise my life will never be my own. I think we are doing a great job of it. At least we are trying.