Hunkering down

What a strange development. All of us are at home….could be for weeks and weeks. Some will be ill, and some lives will be in danger. We send our thoughts and very best wishes to all, for your health.

Many hunkering down at home, while concerned about this pandemic and the people we love, will remain well. Oddly, this a great leveler for 70Candles women, as that which seems to differentiate us in ordinary times has to do with health status, mobility, and involvement in the world beyond our nests. What to do while we’re at home and not sick, to make the most of this new ocean of time?

Easy choices to start the day are the ever present meal prep, dishes and laundry routines. But what to follow? I thought I’d become restless, but lo and behold, a world of online options is opening daily. Beyond the TV movies I’ve always meant to see, are the newly emerging public streaming programs I can access on my iPad.

The Metropolitan Opera is streaming great performances nightly at The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is offering an outstanding concert each day at At Broadway shows can appear on my screen, My painting class, usually at a local Senior Center is converting to Skype, so we can work with our talented instructor from home, and my favorite exercise guru is setting up a private FaceBook group for a variety of video classes she’s creating. (I’m encouraging her to offer a set for women like us, so let me know if you’d be interested.)

The political activities I’ve been involved with during this important election year, can be advanced from home.

I promised myself I’d take a long walk each day, thinking that out in the fresh air is surely the safest place to be. And I speak on the phone to someone I like everyday.

It’s strange to be the old lady who needs help, but I do appreciate the neighbors and friends who have offered to shop for us when we need food. I’ve finally acknowledged that yes, I am in the vulnerable group of seniors who should stay out of stores.

How are you doing? Let us all know how you feel about this historical moment. How are you spending your time, and what are you thinking?

Maybe we can exchange ideas and offer some comfort to each other as we all travel through this almost unthinkable, world-wise disaster.

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18 Responses to Hunkering down

  1. Amy Bryant says:

    Finding Peace
    By Amy Bryant
    Age 80

    As I enter my woodland backyard and appreciate the freshness of the air, the blue perfection of the sky, and the glistening of the leaves with heightened clarity, it’s difficult to believe the pandemic danger that we are experiencing. Amidst the fear, anger, and sadness, a sense of peace has come over me at a time of greatest uncertainty.
    It may be a generational thing. As I speak with friends of my age, we do not fear death; our lives have been fulfilling and if it’s time to move on, so be it. Well hold it—I’m not quite that ready. There is one unfulfilled dream that I intend to make happen, so I must survive the crisis.
    At the same time, I have a duty to my children to stay healthy and alive throughout the pandemic and beyond. They have forbidden me to go to the stores. Instead, they drive over an hour to deliver supplies every two weeks. They arrange Zoom dinners with family and Zoom Happy Hours with my friends. Because they have put so much effort, love and caring to keep me healthy, connected, and alive, I’ve been good about following the safety rules.
    I only leave my home to pick up the mail, throw out the trash, and take a daily walk down the oak and palm-lined trail, then crossing onto Bayshore and circling the Bayou pond. I observe the six-foot rule, and thankfully, most people I encounter are equally considerate. I’ve learned to sanitize door knobs and the outer layer of packaging that enters my apartment. And oh yes, I wash my hands—over and over and over again.
    Recently, I wrote a poem and shared it with a friend. In reciting it, she realized that it took twenty seconds to read aloud . . . the same amount of time we’re being advised to wash our hands. I share it with you as an alternative to counting to twenty.

    Finding Peace
    An opportunity to cleanse your hands and your soul.
    step outside of the physical step outside of the political step outside of fear and pain
    step toward the spiritual. . . therein lies the recognition of what’s going on today
    step into the peace step into the understanding step into the unity of humankind

  2. Bonnie Staughton says:

    My husband and I have been retired for 10 years so being at home together isn’t new or something we have to get used to. That’s a good thing. I’m 72 and am not at all panicked about the coronavirus. I wash my hands, disinfect, try to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible and stay away from others. Although I have asthma (one of the ailments mentioned when talking about being isolated) I don’t have much trouble with it and don’t consider it a medical condition. I have a horse which I can go ride, though now I’m hearing that Farm owners can shut down their places, even to full service boarders. I hope that doesn’t happen. When I go there it is usually only me there and any other people I see are in another barn and I’m not in direct contact with them. Being isolated from my horse would do me in as he is an old timer too at 25 years old.

    It would be very nice if the consequence of this virus and isolation would make people friendlier to each other, friendlier to the environment, etc. It might work for awhile but I seriously doubt if it would last. Look how everyone was so patriotic and American after 9/11. Didn’t last long.

    I just hope that a medicine for this virus is found soon and people are able to recover and not die. Maybe God sent this to the World to help us grow closer together and have more LOVE. That would be wonderful wouldn’t it. We’ll see. Stay healthy, everyone.

  3. Anne says:

    Good Morning!

    Bruce (my precious husband – 76 years young) and I have been married 46 years, this year!

    Hunkering down is fun! we so enjoy being with one another, talking is such a lost art!
    We both continue to work – although, working from home is now the norm.

    Exercise is a staple in our family, a habit formed in just the last couple of years and we are more mobile, strengther, better balance, and oh, the endorphins! Watching mysteries (to try and solve the dilemmas before the professionals,) home improvement programs – and british countryside documentaries enjoyed whilst snuggling on the couch together!

    We make it a point to call, text and email our friends and family each day.

    We start the day reading the Bible –
    and a daily devotional commentary that follows this schedule – For The Love of God Vol 1 and 2 by D.A. Carson. Started this while visiting my Auntie in Scotland over New Years – she encouraged us to do so – AND she will be 90 in September!

    So, my friends! We have been given and promised only today! Look at all the blessings, all the treasures of friends, family and creation! Smile and laugh more, wave at your neighbors, see the beauty in everything and listen to the birds! Taste the food! sway and dance to music!

    Ah, you might say – Pollyanna! Breast Cancer, lung damage from radiation and Chronic Asthma, Grief – yep – experienced it all – WE CHOOSE what we think, WE CHOOSE how we act! Let’s not waste a minute!!!!!

    Sending love with this post!

  4. Ellen Cole says:

    Paula has asked for positive suggestions. Here’s one: Pay attention to anything health related, even more than before. A tooth has been aching, and my first response was to panic because at 79 I probably shouldn’t be traipsing out to my dentist, unless it becomes a real emergency. So I’ve decided, for now, to improve my dental hygiene. I typically (true confession) rushed through my tooth brushing every morning (I was more rule-abiding at night), and flossed only every so often. You should see me now–a model of good dental care. I have other examples, too, head to toe (literally–a toenail fungus which is clearing up due to my diligent care). So this virus has given me both the time to self-care and the realization that I must.

    • Fran says:

      If you get some Triphala (Banyan Botanicals is a good Internet company — and I know the owner so I can vouch for the integrity of its products), you can brush with it and/or put it in water and use it as a mouthwash. That should take away a lot of the pain. But a sore tooth is really nothing to fool around with. I’d call my dentist and see what he has to say. Also remember that more men are getting this virus than women.

      • Ellen says:

        Thanks, Fran. Miracle of miracles (really I know it’s my improved dental care), my tooth is no longer painful. Other things, too. I find myself being more conscious of my diet, and doing laundry more often instead of letting it accumulate. Staying home does have its advantages, and I think for me the operant word “mindful.” I have slowed down and become more mindful.

  5. Evelyn Eskin says:

    I think that older people are actually better equipped to handle this than younger folks for a couple of reasons. First, we have already slowed down and are more comfortable with quiet and solitude. Second, we no longer have the illusion that we can control things. Third, we have become accustomed to being somewhat marginalized. I feel so fortunate that I have a good, safe home in which to shelter in place, a neighborhood where I can walk each day (so far!) and enough resources to get what I need. I feel devastated that so many people are out of work, out of options, and out of hope. I wish I could do more that just think about them.

  6. paula walsh says:

    So heartwarming your note. Just retired and moved to 55 and over community. I am 74. We are all in the ‘elderly” category. I have become anxious and really appreciate of this website’s encouragement. Please keep all the positive suggestions coming.
    Thanking you all in advance,

  7. Joe Wasylyk says:

    WOW! How times have changed and yet for some seniors nothing has changed. As a senior myself I am ‘aging in place’ which often is similar to social isolation. This is a great time for seniors of all ages to meditate and think about what great things you can still do with the remaining 20-30 years of your life. It gives you an opportunity to focus on lifelong learning and to become more active, creative, productive and prosperous in your retirement lifestyle.

  8. Diana says:

    Perhaps now more than ever, we need each other. We need to talk here and to our families.

    In seventy-five years this is the only time that I’ve never had some idea about the future.

    I’m sending my greatly loved daughter (‘your person’ as she calls herself) off to war. She’s an intensive care nurse in an undersupplied hospital.
    Please let her get through this; I never planned to get old without her. She is my heart.

    Neighbors I’ve never even met have appeared at our door. Others, far smarter, have texted and spoken from a distance when they saw my husband and me outside. All have offered assistance.

    You and I can pull together and do what we have to do. But I will never forgive the president that had a two-month lead time and squandered it playing politics.

  9. Ellen Cole says:

    Thanks, Jane, for getting this particular ball rolling. My niece, who is a social worker and therefore people-sensitive, called this time of social isolation an introvert’s dream-come-true and an extrovert’s worst nightmare. I am an extrovert, often affectionately (I hope) called “a social butterfly,” and my niece got it right for me.
    My husband and I left our home to food-shop this morning. We wore gloves, and he wore a face mask. We kept six-feet from others as we could, but I found myself so happy just experiencing a little hustle and bustle. Probably the best hunkering-down moments for me so far came when two of our adult kids and a grandaughter who is starting nursing school called to give us health-tips. And they made it clear that they were checking on us. This a FIRST. A seismic shift. Now we are, at least for the moment, the cared-for. It brings tears to my eyes, but doesn’t feel especially comfortable. So a new world is here. Let’s, all of us, check on each other, our age-mates, our soul-mates. I really look forward to this chain of comments as it develops.

    • Ellen says:

      Omg, I just re-read my post from yesterday. I did not mean to suggest that introverts are happy that they now must hunker down or that we have a worldwide crisis Only that they are more comfortable with social isolation than we extroverts. I am so happy that this blog is an opportunity to connect. I feel a lot of love for everyone these days, as we struggle to proceed.

  10. Linda Watkins says:


  11. Barbara says:

    Hi ladies, what a crazy time this is!
    Like Jane, I think that a good walk each day is good for our heath both mental and physical. I have my dog Sadie and she requires 4 short walks a day to take care of business. During that time we encounter other neighbors walking their dogs. It allows us contact with others at a socially safe distance.
    There are so many things to do and now seems such a good time to do them. I have a stack of books that I want to read but it seemed there was never enough time. I also do needlework, Bargello in particular. I have a pillow that I started a couple of years ago. This seems like a great time to finish it. I have committed to an hour a day. I have puzzles that my daughter bought me and always thought that I should do. Maybe I will dig one of those out and do it to surprise her.
    I think it’s important to stay in touch with loved ones both near and far. A phone call or short text to a friend or my children each day is very important to me, just to know that they are doing ok with all of this.
    I wish you all a peaceful time for the next few weeks and hope that this virus is soon only a memory.

  12. Emily Mikulewicz says:

    I stepped out to walk along the Palisades in Weehawken and gaze at the city. It did me good. I met a couple going the other way, and, for an instant, we were a crowd. Felt good. They were the only people I saw. Got a wonderful message from a friend in England who suggested this might be the end of an era, before the start of another in which we will be kinder to the earth and its inhabitants. Sounds good to me. Best wishes to all, Emily

  13. Fran says:

    The sense of life’s preciousness, which I inhale from the streets on my way home from work, is how I survive the daily spectra of disease and death. It is how I maintain my emotional perspective day in and day out.

    Not only do I never fear the daily reminders of my own frail mortality, but I am grateful for this exposure, the realization that we are all ultimately HIV-positive, in that we are all going to die sooner or later. I acutely realize that someday, regardless of my own final disease or injury, I, too, will join my many patients on their sickbeds.

    The poignant stories transpiring everyday on my AIDS ward, my crucible of hope and despair, have taught me that having a life that denies the relevancy and immanency of death actually robs that life of the wonder it should have.

    I have come to believe that a contented life is one that gracefully carries death on its shoulder as a friend and not as a feared enemy.

    Daniel L. Baxter, MD, The Least of These My Brethren

  14. Frances C. Robinson says:

    A few days ago, some news agency somewhere, interviewed a cloistered nun (yes, a cloistered nun) who said she had been “social isolating” for 29 years (I’m sorry but I found that so humorous) and she gave some very good advice: make out a daily and weekly schedule, either on the computer or by hand.

    Why put a schedule down on paper? Because we’re far more likely to follow something that is printed out/written down; and because it’s better than watching TV 24/7 and or frittering our days away. That also doesn’t mean that we are slaves to the schedule and that it isn’t flexible.

    I started making out my schedule yesterday afternoon, so I’m not done yet. But, for example, the periphery of my apartment complex is a half mile. So if I walk around it twice, 3x a day, I’ve walked 1.5 miles for the day. I have times during the day for reading and for TV. Fridays and Saturdays have always been clean house and do laundry days — that won’t change. On Sunday mornings — and possibly Wednesday mornings — I’ll fill a thermos full of coffee, grab some water and take long drives (can’t let the car just sit — the battery will die); and I do own something that I take in the car and that me from having to use a public restroom (if you get my drift LOL). Sundays are also my ‘no schedule” days — I’ll do whatever I damn well feel like doing — or not doing.

    Some grocery stores are having “senior shopping only” hours first thing in the morning. Check out if your grocery stores are doing that.

    And, lastly, I’m in the process of making sure that my Will, etc., are all up to date (which I do every 6-12 months anyway). A friend will take care of my elderly cat.

    Almost every day I talk by phone with someone I love and who loves me — known him for decades — and we talk more seriously than usual but we also do a lot of laughing. We both tend to have ‘sick’ senses of humor. LOL

    I’ve prepared for death all my life, since I was 18 and almost died in a terrible car accident (which took me a year to recover from). So I’m not panicked at all — but I’m not inhuman either — the enormity of this pandemic has me a little on edge, especially since the health experts are saying that we probably haven’t begun to see the worst of it yet. I hate feeling like a powerless sitting duck — but there are no alternatives. OH — I live in an apartment complex (two 7-story high rises) where there are a lot of students, from foreign countries, who are becoming doctors at our local public hospital! (I have two who live on my floor!) AND they must all take their required shifts in The ER. I figure if I’m not panicked over THAT, I’m doing pretty good! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

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