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Published November 30. 2013 09:00AM

Life can be wonderful and exciting. It can also be boring and dull. But, even boring and dull days can be very comforting.

Some folks laugh at senior citizens who follow a set routine. The young'uns chuckle at the "early bird specials" in restaurants. They chortle at the "early-to-bed, early-to-rise" sleep habits. They poke fun at the shuffleboard games, the low-impact exercises, and the bathroom habits of their elderly relatives.

Now, I am not suggesting that senior citizens have boring and dull lives. On the contrary, I live in a 55-and-older community and I can attest to the fact that our residents are very full of life.

But, one aspect of the senior citizen life is accurate - routines are good, necessary things.

My home is a typical example of set routines. We wake up each morning between 5 and 6 a.m. We have our first cup of coffee in bed while watching Fox News. We have breakfast around 7 a.m.

After breakfast, we play one game of Scrabble and one game of Yahtzee. We have been doing this for more than 20 years now. Something I read encouraged senior citizens to exercise their brains by playing games. We also do Sudoku and crossword puzzles during the day. And, we also play Farkle, Hand and Foot, Skat and Rummikub.

Our mornings are usually spent doing housework, shopping for groceries, watering plants, and answering email. Oh yes, we also play games on the computer. Jim enjoys poker, while I am addicted to Candy Crush on Facebook.

After lunch (which is always between 11:30 and noon), we take naps, read books, or go out to play shuffleboard, bocce, or go swimming.

Late afternoon (4 p.m.) is cocktail hour. We watch TV (usually the Weather Channel, re-runs of "Friends," or Fox News) and have a snack with our drinks. We have a whole shelf in the pantry that is our "snack" shelf - pretzels, nuts, crackers, and whatever has been on "buy one-get one" at Publix.

Dinner is between 5 and 5:30. We cook together and Jim grills a lot. Florida weather makes it easy to grill 12 months out of the year.

After dinner, we can go out on the front porch and sit on our swing. Sometimes we'll have a glass of Amaretto or a cup of coffee. Now that we own a Keurig machine, I can have my flavored brew while Jim has his regular.

We're back in the living room to watch a double-dose of "The Big Bang Theory" from 7-8 p.m. Then - if nothing good is on TV - we'll read until we get sleepy. Usually, that's between 8 and 9 p.m. Jim likes to tell people that I'm a 9 to 5 girl - in bed by 9 and up by 5.

In addition to our daily routine, we also have a routine for taking lengthy car trips. We have another routine for holidays, and another for when visitors come to stay in our home.

When Jim washes and waxes our car, he has a set routine. When I do the laundry and ironing, I follow the same pattern each time. Even our trips to the grocery store are choreographed well. We follow a list, maneuver the cart down each and every aisle, and never fail to check the BOGO bins. We use coupons, too.

Someone once told me that my routines and adherence to time schedules are nuts. I prefer to think of them as just another example of what happens when you have spent almost half your life as a school administrator. Old habits die hard.

If you would like to contact Dr. Smith, she can be reached at her e mail address: or in care of this newspaper.

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