Open Thread

Open Thread: Time Bandits

Sometimes I think aging is like having an unpaid second job.  Being older takes a lot of time.

I used to go to the doctor once a year, maybe even every other year.  I was lucky and rarely got sick.

…if I was a car (hopefully a vintage Ferrari!) with the mileage I have, I’d be in the shop a lot, too!

In the past few years, though, I’ve had surgeries, hospital stays and some really scary close shaves. Now I’ve got a schedule of medical checkups just about every month, and I don’t just have a doctor, I have an entourage. I keep reminding myself, if I was a car (hopefully a vintage Ferrari!) with the mileage I have, I’d be in the shop a lot, too!

Time Bandits

Older people have more to handle. Besides healthcare, there’s Medicare or Medicaid, taxes (oh, those RMD’s!), insurance, finances and investments (watch that retirement nest egg!), retirement planning, estate planning…and of course, technology.

Tech helps, but sometimes adds to the chatter. OMG, 3G is ending. OMG, do I need to use facial recognition tech to file my taxes?  OMG – another update?  Another TOS change? Since seniors are the target of choice for scamsters there’s all that technology and security measures to stay on top of, too.

Then there’s the emails, texts, Facebook notifications and more. It’s not just spammers. I love my friends but I wish they’d get together and decide to stick to one distribution channel!

This “chatter” takes a toll on people’s wellbeing, and is a considerable stressor, as well.  One author calls this accumulation ‘sludge.” Here’s what Cass Sunstein of the Harvard Law School, has said about it.

Time for a Time Out

When it starts to get to me, I know it’s time to step away from the desk, the phone and the gadgets and take a walk. It’s also time for me to get a handle on the “time bandits” and manage my time, priorities and incoming messages better.

In fact, I think that’s a wonderful way to mark Older Americans Month this month: Unplug!!

How about you? What ‘time bandits” irk you the most?  What do you do about them? Let us know in the comments!

Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send  Open Thread suggestions to



Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash


12 responses to “Open Thread: Time Bandits

  1. I imagine arresting my time bandits, putting them into my cat’s cardboard box, and taking them to a swap meet. My bandits might be superheros to someone else. My text message bandit might be useful teaching someone else the basics.

    The question is, what would I bring home to plug into my newly available time? Postage stamps to write letters? The challenge of blank stationary and my Parker pen with blue ink used to make time fly. What would you look for to plug into your newly freed up time?

  2. MyChart and every hospital wanting me to use Their App and multiple times filling out the same info that should already be there! Add a few independent doctors on their own app or website… I could scream! If I wanted a career as a health navigator, at least I’d be paid. Add people that ask if your on social media, they look at you like you have 2 heads when you say NO, that’s a black hole I don’t go down. I used Tech since Apple, on my terms, for my needs that are different now.

  3. I quit answering my phone due to the myriad of scam/sales calls. And the ‘I want to buy your house’ phone calls & online ads are beyond annoying at the very least!! Go away salespeople!! I don’t have any $ except my social security anyway!

  4. As far as tech, we don’t have to “stay on top” of anything. We just need to be “in there”. We can stop cramming for the A, getting a nice round average C in tech anyway, is fine these days! Only annual medical visits but tech is a definite time bandit. Priorities!! Scan charges on accounts once a month using Quicken for years. Check email and read do not click any link I did not ask for – delete, delete, delete! If I’m really curious, I go to the website. Use Outlook ca. Yep, not easy.

  5. My time bandits are my grand children and their parents!! They think that, just because you are retired, you are a free sitter cum cook for them, as if you didn’t have a life of your own!! I love them, so I usually cave in, but I wish I had more time just for myself, without worries about getting children on time to school/swiming pool/ music lessons/ playdates .
    My husband and I don’t have dinner, why should we have to cook for other people, even if they are family?

    1. Got that right!. This is the time to relish life as you get older. I stepped away from all that and relocated. Now, my time spent with my 3 grandchildren is priceless. They miss me more and appreciate even the little things-Charito, New York City

  6. The biggest time bandit, in my opinion, is doing the work of other people. Be it in doctors’ offices, banks, insurance companies, my internet provider, etc. I very frequently encounter people who don’t know what they are doing. Or are poorly trained. Or those who have attitudes which convey disdain & lack of caring. I must keep copious notes, place follow-up calls to see that people have done what they say they are going to do. And for all of this, I receive no pay. Just headaches.

    1. I’m with you on that. I spend a lot of time now doing the scheduling, trafficking, etc. for companies, saving them from paying someone else to do it…..and I’m still paying more for everything. I”m talking to you, Spectrum.

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