×

It’s important to step out of our comfort zone

NIAGARA, Wis. — When we were younger, still working, and raising our families, there was no real danger of falling into a monotonous routine. We were simply too busy. Now that retirement has arrived and we have advanced a bit in years, it seems easier to fall into familiar routines that, if not shaken up a bit, can lead to boredom and stagnation. No matter our age, it is important to remain open to the new and different to avoid being stuck in the old and familiar. So today, let’s consider how to practice change.

We can all remember what it was like when we were trying to juggle home and family responsibilities with the demands of our jobs and careers. We had a boss to report to, a spouse to keep happy, and kids’ needs to meet; it was daunting. When my son was little, one of his favorite toys was “Stretch Armstrong.” He was made of plastic, dressed like a wrestler, and you could pull his arms and legs really far in multiple directions.

Back in those days I felt like the female version of that toy! I had a “survival routine” that was far from boring: up in time for everyone to have their turn in the one bathroom, a quick breakfast, kids out the door in time to catch the bus, parents out the door in time to get to work, home to make supper followed by dishes and homework, cleaning and laundry every Saturday, ironing on Sunday — maybe an occasional Friday night out to catch up with my husband. It was a very necessary routine that was peppered with little surprises and glitches throughout any given week.

Once both our sons left for college, life at home settled down a little, but the demands at work had escalated to a point where I had to consciously adopt new strategies to turn off my brain so I could enjoy my “downtime.” I still had a weekly routine that kept both home and office manageable, but it was far from boring.

Retirement arrived for us in 2016. Initially, it felt strange being without a routine. Within a matter of months, however, I found a rhythm to my week. But nothing was so frenetic as it had been. There was time to relax over breakfast with its word searches and crossword puzzles, have lunch on the deck, followed by “happy hour” around 4 o’clock, followed by dinner preparation, followed by eating in front of “Wheel of Fortune” every night except during Packers season. Even on the weekends, our daily routine developed into pretty much the same.

Household chores now fit nicely into the span of a month. Laundry is every Monday, with any ironing done on Tuesday — but I usually put that off until there are too many of our clothes hiding in the dryer. Bills get paid when Social Security hits the bank account. The house does not get that dirty with just the two of us and no pets, so a monthly “vacuum, dust and scrub” does just fine. My husband does all of the yard work and always has a “reminder list” on the side of the fridge.

This has all worked for us, and some would say, “If it’s not broke, why fix it?” Well, it gets a little boring sometimes. I feel quite old when I hear my husband say, “Well, it’s past 10 o’clock and the mail isn’t here yet.” Gosh, are we really that old that one of our daily events is the arrival of the mailman? Or when he says after supper nearly every night, “Well, what should we watch on TV tonight?” How about nothing. Let’s sit out by the fire and talk instead.

If what I have described above sounds all too familiar, maybe it is time to think about how to infuse variety into your daily life. Routines are good to the extent that they keep life safe and organized, but variety is both good and necessary to keep our minds sharp and our interest in life alive. There is an old adage that states, “Old ways won’t open new doors.” Staying in our comfort zones, as safe and comfortable as they are, can cut us off from new experiences or from taking a leap toward what we really want our lives to become. And, we are never too old to learn something new or to pursue a passion we have not yet been able to explore.

People throughout history have had things to say about our need for routine. Consider their words of wisdom. Screenwriter William Wheeler said, “Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place you belong.” Comedian Trevor Noah stated, “Comfort can be dangerous. Comfort provides a floor but also a ceiling.” Spiritual leader Amit Ray observed, “A bird is safe in its nest — but that is not what its wings are made for.” And poet Maya Angelou wrote, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

We do not have to re-invent ourselves during retirement in order to shake things up a bit. Sometimes it is just giving ourselves permission to not follow the schedule and to take advantage of an opportunity that comes to us out of the blue. So … I do not do the laundry on Monday if I have an opportunity to have lunch or coffee with a friend I have not seen in a while; the world will not end if I wash on the same day as I iron! I also plan meals so we do not have the same thing twice in the same month. I enjoy cooking, and I am always in search of new recipes or am tweaking the old ones to be a bit different. I change up our home decor to reflect the season of the year so we are not staring at the same artwork month after month. I always felt bad when I visited my mother-in-law and saw the same mirror in her living room — the one that had been there for 30 years because my father-in-law could not deal with anything being different. We try to “take a jaunt” somewhere once a month to experience a different city or to see a play or concert.

But I think the biggest step we can take as we age is to open our minds to new ideas. It is certainly comforting to keep believing and thinking the way we have always thought and believed. But time has a way of changing the world around us. As events happen that change our society and present new challenges, our minds must broaden to accept new solutions. We cannot contribute to the world around us if we cannot change to meet its new demands. And we are never too old to contribute to our world if we keep our minds open to new possibilities. Author Louis E. Boone writes, “Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”

Last but not least is the fact that adapting to change keeps us young. We are, after all, only as old as we allow ourselves to become.

——

NURSING HOMES/SENIOR LIVING FACILITIES

Freeman Nursing and Rehabilitation Community

Kingsford

906-774-1530

Freeman’s has resumed small group activities. Visitation is currently being allowed twice weekly with screening and COVID-19 testing required before entering the building. All precautions are still being taken to protect residents. Everyone has adjusted to this new normal; however, they are all looking forward to a great get-together when it is safe to do so.

Sunday: Finish the song title, 10 a.m.; word search, 2 p.m.’ “Antiques Roadshow,” 6 p.m.

Monday: Coffee and news, 10 a.m.; lunch trivia, 11:45 a.m.; shut the box, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Coffee and news, 10 a.m.; music, 11:45 a.m.; You Tube, 2 p.m.; find the items, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee and news, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; lucky 7, 2 p.m.; news flash, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Garden club, 10 a.m.; music, 11:45 a.m.; crafts/art, 1:30 p.m.; room visits, 3 p.m.

Friday: Coffee/news, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; goody cart, 2 p.m.; nail day, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Finish the song title, 10 a.m.; word search, 2 p.m.; “Antiques Roadshow,” 6 p.m.

Iron County Medical Care Facility

Crystal Falls

906-874-1501

Sunday: Room visits, 9 a.m.; spelling bball, 10 a.m.; chair exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 12:30 p.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.

Monday: Crafts, 9-10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; bonfire, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Book club, 10 a.m.; Catholic Mass (video), 10 a.m.; mystery ride, 1 p.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; garden club/reminisce, 2 p.m.; action movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Community breakfast, 8:30 a.m.; “Name That Tune,” 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; watermelon party with Jim Clement, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; United Lutheran, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; special concert with Jim Quales, 2 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Puzzler/room visits, 9 a.m.; Hangman, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; social hour, 2 p.m.

ProMedica

(formerly Manor Care)

Kingsford

906-774-4805

The center is now open for visitation. Visitors no longer need to call in advance.

Sunday: War, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; creamsicle social, 1 p.m.; movie in the lobby, 2 p.m.

Monday: Room visits, 9 a.m.; devotional, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; leisure cart, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; exercise, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; porch time, 2 p.m.; movie in the lobby, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Room visits, 9 a.m.; manicures, 10 a.m.; flip-o, 2 p.m.; movie in the lobby, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; chair yoga, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; leisure cart, 3 p.m.

Friday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; chips and chatter, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; entertainment with Dan Mosca, 2 p.m.; movie in the lobby, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Craft corner, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; porch time, 1 p.m.; movie in the lobby, 2 p.m.

Maryhill Manor Nursing Home

Niagara, Wis.

715-251-3172

Visitation is allowed as long as all infection-control guidelines are followed, including wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing. Daily scheduled activities continue to be for residents only.

Sunday: Music trivia, 10 a.m.; delivery of communion, 12:30 p.m.; rummage bingo/creamsicles, 2 p.m.

Monday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; help your neighbor, 10 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; prayer service, 9:30 a.m.; Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; Jan and Gino, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; devotionals, 10 a.m.; courtyard campfire, 2 p.m.; evening prayer, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Men’s breakfast, 7 a.m.; Uno, 10 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 1 p.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Friday: Rummy, 10 a.m.; family picnic, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Movie trivia, 10 a.m.; courtyard bag toss and popsicles, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

(formerly Golden Living Center)

Florence, Wis.

715-528-4833

Visitation is allowed seven days a week in designated areas only. Each visit is limited to 30 minutes and must be scheduled in advance. All visitors will be subject to health screening before entering the facility. There are no group activities at this time.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

906-774-5158

Sunday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Monday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; birthday party, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; music with Pastor Jim, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; Lutheran Bible study, 1 p.m.; “Wheel of Fortune,” 2 p.m.

Friday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; tenant meeting, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; games and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical

Care Facility

Powers

906-497-5244

Sunday: Cards, 10:30 a.m.; reminiscing, 2 p.m.

Monday: Outside social, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Fair outing

Wednesday: Fair outing

Thursday: Spa treatments, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; games, 3:30 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Pictionary, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

——

SENIOR CENTERS

Alpha-Mastodon Center

906-875-3315

Amasa Center

906-822-7284

This center remains open. The only change is the Iron River Center will cook and deliver the meals each week.

Tuesday: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, corn, fruit, milk

Wednesday: Egg salad sandwich, chicken ranch pasta, chips, fruit, milk

Thursday: Parmesan chicken with marinara sauce, noodles, cauliflower, breadsticks, dessert, milk

Breen Center

Kingsford

906-774-5110

Now open for dine-in eating Monday through Thursday – serving at noon. Friday and night meals are on hold indefinitely. Carryout meals are available, as is soup and salad bar. Menu for the week —

Monday: Baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed vegetables

Tuesday: Brats, macaroni and cheese, baked beans

Wednesday: Beef stir fry, rice, Oriental vegetable blend

Thursday: Egg quiche, hashbrown potatoes, sausage

Note: All meals served with a choice of skim milk or juice and fruit

Crystal Falls Center

Head Cook: Sterling Peryam

Assistant Cook: Rocky Scarlassara

906-875-6709

The center is now open and once again serving meals for dine-in or takeout – call the center by 1 p.m. to make reservations or place an order. All food is purchased from local vendors. All dinners include salad bar, homemade desserts, coffee, tea, or milk. Salad bar begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m. Pickup for takeout meals is 4 p.m. – call ahead and leave a message with phone number. A volunteer will deliver meals to homebound citizens only. Menu for the week –

Tuesday: Shepherd’s pie with gravy and a dinner roll

Wednesday: Spaghetti with Italian sausage and garlic bread

Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency

DICSA

Iron Mountain

906-774-2256, ext. 230 or 235.

Beginning July 6, Friday meals will be delivered on Wednesdays. Home-delivered meals only – call to make arrangements. Menu for the week —

Monday: Tater tot casserole, corn, cornbread

Tuesday: Smothered pork chops, mashed potatoes, bountiful vegetables

Wednesday: Spaghetti, garlic bread, Italian vegetables

Thursday: Mushroom Swiss burger, baked beans, french fries

Friday: Turkey wrap, cucumber salad, string cheese, cookie

Note: All meals include a choice of skim milk, juice, or no beverage

For more information, call Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256

Crystal Lake Center

Iron Mountain

906-828-1776

Schedule for the week —

Monday: Spinning spools quilting, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Les Artistes’ art club, noon to 4 p.m.; woodcarvers, noon to 4 p.m.

Tuesday: Cards – Pinochle and cribbage, noon-4 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 1 -4 p.m. Card are 25 cents each; 10 games are played

Thursday: Cards – Pinochle, noon-4 p.m.

Friday: Cards — Smear, noon-4 p.m.

Felch Center

906-246-3559

Now open for dine-in eating – call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Barbecue pork, potato chips, coleslaw

Tuesday: Chef salad, dinner roll, fruit

Wednesday: Night Meal — Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, biscuit, watermelon

Note: All meals served with skim milk or juice

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County, Wis.

715-528-4890

Director: Tiffany White

Restrictions have lifted at some centers. Menu for the week —

Monday: Cook’s Choice – entrée, vegetables, fruit

Tuesday: Liver and onions or chicken breast, cheesy potatoes, broccoli, fruit

Wednesday: Hot turkey sandwich, mashed potatoes, squash, fruit

Thursday: Pizza casserole, breadsticks, side salad, fruit, cookies

Friday: Fish sandwich, baked beans, coleslaw, fruit

Note: All meals served with whole grain bread, butter and milk

Fence Center/Town Hall

715-336-2980 – RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on Wednesday only. Bingo on Wednesday!

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Same as ADRC menu. Open Monday through Thursday, serving at 11:30 a.m. Bingo on Tuesday!

Tipler Town Hall

RSVP for meals at 715-674-2320

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on second Thursday only.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

RSVP for meals at 715-589-4491

Same as ADRC menu. Now open, served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Bingo on Thursday!

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Barb Peters

906-498-7735

Now open – information coming soon.

Iron River Center

906-265-6134

Now open for dine-in eating – serving at 11 a.m. Salad bar available. No evening meals. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week –

Monday: Scalloped potatoes and ham, mixed vegetables, dinner roll, fruit, milk

Tuesday: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, corn, fruit, milk

Wednesday: Egg salad sandwich, chicken ranch pasta, chips, fruit, milk

Thursday: Parmesan chicken with marinara sauce, noodles, cauliflower, breadsticks, dessert, milk

Niagara Senior Center/Café

715-251-1603

The center is open, and dinner is served at noon on Monday through Thursday. Reservations are required one day in advance. Suggested donation is $4.50 for those older than 60 and $7 for those 60 or younger. Bingo played on Wednesdays. Transportation is available.

Monday: Pork cutlet, parsley potatoes, Monterey blend vegetables, brownie

Tuesday: Lasagna, lettuce salad, breadstick, fruit, dessert

Wednesday: Chicken filet, dressing, sweet potatoes, applesauce

Thursday: Swiss steak, boiled potatoes, mixed vegetables, torte

Norway Center

Head Cook:  Brian Gutkowski. 

906-563-8716

Now open for dine-in eating served restaurant style beginning at 11:15 a.m. Salad bar available from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Takeout meals will remain available for pickup from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Let staff know whether planning to dine in or pick up.

Menu for the week –

Monday: Biscuits and gravy, hashbrowns, sausage links

Tuesday: Salmon, french fries, spinach

Wednesday: Two Meal Day — 11 a.m., chef salad with vegetables, meat and a breadstick; 4 p.m., barbeque ribs, mashed potatoes, vegetables, soup

Thursday: Brats, potato salad, coleslaw

All meals include milk, juice, fruit, bread and dessert

Board meets at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Center activity schedule:

Mondays and Thursdays – Exercise at 10 a.m. and card bingo after the meal

Monday through Thursday – Card game 101 from noon to 3 p.m. – call 906-563-5587 for information

Tuesdays – Quilting and sewing

Wednesdays – Ceramics and crocheting

Last Monday of each month – Book club at 9 a.m.

Second Thursday of each month – Birthdays and bingo

Sagola Center

906-542-3273

Now open for dine-in eating – call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Country-fried steak, mashed potatoes, corn, Mandarin oranges

Wednesday: Barbecue chicken, roasted potatoes, mixed vegetables, peaches

Thursday: Beef tips, mashed potatoes, peas, mixed fruit

All meals served with an option of milk, juice or no beverage.

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *
   

COMMENTS

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today