Gratitude Sunday: I Am, I Said

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
New life happens day
after day, lambs, chicks, blossoms,
learning to grow old.

Sunday Musings
The change I’ve been going through this last year has been difficult, partly because it was forced upon me about 3 years early. As you know, when life is forced upon you the story you’ve written about yourself changes. You have to go with the flow. You write a new story.

Since I was forced out of my last job, I’ve been through a torturous year of job applications, a couple interviews, and a whole bunch of “we have more qualified applicants”. Thing is, I have 40 years of certain skilled experience, and yet I don’t have the skills they want (not bi-lingual, which seems prerequisite these days) or when they calculate 40 years of experience they realize I’m over 60. While age bias, in theory, should not be a challenge, we know how theories work. When you apply for a job, all kinds of hidden or not-so-hidden biases apply.

I can get over the biases; I am guilty of them, and while biases may not be fair, I understand them. I have trouble getting over what a person does if one cannot get a job despite the biases. Enterprise and entrepreneurial business only work for some people. Don’t get me started about the myth of choice; you can make all the best choices in the world, but you cannot control the consequences especially when other people are involved. What does a person do if there is no work to be found and no social or familial safety net? I’m not going to whine and complain here (boring), because unless you’ve lived it you cannot know what living on this edge of homelessness (or actually going there) is like, and you might not be familiar with the stress of living on faith. Faith that you can find some way to maintain your current minimal lifestyle, just status quo, and not caring to improve that lifestyle because you don’t need much. Faith can be comforting to some, but not as comforting as it sounds, and stressful to others who are uncomfortable with insecurity. Buddhism may teach accepting impermanence but I like knowing I can live in the privacy of my home rather than on the streets depending on the kindness of strangers.

People re-create themselves all the time, some of us daily. Becoming that new person is not always easy. I’m not going to turn into a billionaire overnight. Especially after 60. But some of us are nothing if not tenacious. We don’t know what else to do but keep on going, to keep on fighting for a minimal existence, because that’s all we’ve ever known.

Being an artist is one of the hardest ways to create or re-create yourself. Our society has little regard for art of all kinds (hwell, maybe not movies). Carving out an income from art is, well, let’s just say, you better have a Plan B, like a day job. If you can’t find a day job and are forced out of the last one, maybe the universe is telling you to grit your teeth, go with the flow, and concentrate on what you’ve always wanted to do anyway.

When you were a kid what did you want to be? Remember when the relatives came over and asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?”? What did you say? What you wanted to be may have been fantastic and they shot it down, or it was practical and they told you how wise you were, or it was professional and they praised you for your high ambitions. Did you become your childhood dream?

Never say no, I didn’t become what I wanted. Never say you failed to make it because you didn’t fail. You did something else. For some of us childhood dreams are broken because of the harsh realities of making a living in this society which rewards only a few for their hard work. Many others of us work hard for few rewards and are happy merely to have roofs over our heads and food on our tables. Really, how much more do you need? And sometimes we are judged by our appearance, or our attitudes, or our abilities, and we don’t quite make the grade according to other people. Sometimes we have to stop listening to other people.

Each time you re-create yourself you have that opportunity, that choice to become what you want to become. What will be the consequences of that choice? That part you don’t get to control. Will you get rich from it? Who knows, maybe. Can you make a living from it? Sometimes you don’t know until you try. Should the money question stop you from trying? So many questions seem negative and they are generated by a capitalistic society. Especially in a society that emphasizes the myth of self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency is rarely enough.

I have written most of my life. Nope, I’m not a diary keeper. I write crazy essays, about injustice and this wild American society. I write stories. I write tidbits and oddments on scraps of paper and always have a notebook in my pocket along with a pen. I write poetry about admiring beauty. I write.

Since my transition began last year, I’ve been using some of my time sitting on my butt. That’s what you have to do when you write. If your butt isn’t in the seat you aren’t writing. I don’t sit all day, because that hurts. I get up every hour, refresh my water, do a little housework until it hurts too much to continue standing, and back to the keyboard.

So if I write, I must be a writer, right? Logical. Are you a writer if you don’t get paid for your writing? Yes, you are an unpaid writer. Is your work just as valuable? Yes, your work has value even if you aren’t paid, and one day you might get paid.

So here’s the deal. It’s really hard for me to own this new gig, to say I am a writer. I, diddly-squat, come-from-nothing, is-nothing, will-never-be anything, am a writer. It’s what I have left. If nobody will hire me, I must do what is left to me. I am a writer.

Am I good at what I do? I don’t know. I don’t get much feedback. Do I like what I do? Oh hell, yeah. Words are my tool to create worlds and thoughts and provocation. Is it worth it? I don’t know, I haven’t earned any money yet, but I’d like to. As I said artists aren’t paid much if at all, and very few make writing lucrative. Are those reasons to stop? I don’t think so.

If I were more physically able I might spend more time trying to re-enter the job market, but the physical devastation that takes place after a let-down is hard on my body. Many people think anxiety is merely an emotional thing, but for me it takes a physical toll. The anxiety of hoping and the abyss of the dashed hope is physically much harder after 60. For me, age and illness is a factor in my ability, fortunately not for everybody. I am grateful the brain continues to work, though the body fades.

Owning this new me is hard, even though I’m enjoying increased writing production. In the hot tub the other day an acquaintance asked what I was doing these days, I said “I’m a writer,” and it felt weird, but she didn’t blink an eye, accepted it as a matter of fact. That’s what I do. It’s what I am. The self help books I read say “act as if, until you are”. I am working on owning it. I am. I am a writer.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – The myriad shades of color in one beautiful face. A canopy of creamy pink plum blossoms. A little white violet volunteers in my yard every year. I love this yellow bloom that comes from a bulb, but I don’t know what it is.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} I re-watched Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990, rated PG), with Alan Rickman, because I waited so long for it, and enjoyed it the second time as much as the first. * I watched a few more episodes of Schitt$ Creek (2015, TV series not rated) on Netflix. I am so far away from billionaire thinking it’s not even funny. I try to imagine it and see myself giving most of the money away, you know, after my basic needs are secured. There are so many others in need, silly me, I already have a helping foundation written up, just no funds for it. Dreaming is fun, even when unrequited. * Good Fences (2003, rated R) with Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover. I love Whoopi Goldberg and often order her movies when I am in the mood for comedy. I forget what a talented actress she is. This movie is not a comedy, though there are some bitter-sweet moments, instead this is a story about race in an upwardly mobile African-American family and how heavily the past can weigh on our psyches. * Binged through the new Season 3 of Grace and Frankie (2017, TV-MA) with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. I am particularly enjoying this series about women in their 70s starting a business and new lives.

Currently ReadingThe Memory of Water (2014, speculative fiction) by Emmi Itäranta. The protagonist: “I believe…we must make hard choices every day despite knowing there is no reward…because if that is all there is, it’s the only way to leave a mark of your life that makes any difference.” Plans to save the world and then a quirky twist. And I can’t help but wonder how prophetic this work is, and how the synchronicity of fiction works as each novel comes into my life when I seem to need it. No spoilers: good, quick read. * Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places (2016, sociology/haunted places) by Colin Dickey. Forgive me, the title was incorrect last week, and is now corrected. I am enjoying this wide venue of haunted places and the writer’s engaging writing style.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Getting the son’s taxes done and mailed. He does my housework while I do his math. Fair trade.
  • The gray clouds and wet heavy spring weather to match my mood. Funny how much I like the gray.
  • Eyesight. Vision.
  • Imagination. Our world would be less without it.
  • Ingenuity. Figuring out new and different ways to do the same old things.
  • Intellectual curiosity. Maybe if I learn new things every day I won’t die. Oh, that’s right, on that day I will learn how to die.
  • Memory and the funny (peculiar) ways it manifests. Memory is not always straightforward. Funny (ha ha) thing about that.
  • People don’t send many thank you cards through snail mail these days. I love them! I received one from one of my scouts, who just had his Eagle Court of Honor, for a small gift I gave him.
  • Sending a couple stories for editorial input.
  • Sweaters for the cooler days of spring. Tank tops for the warmer ones.
  • Oregon, where 50 degrees brings out the shorts and tank tops.
  • The blooming of the plum tree, smells so sweet even through the rain. I haven’t seen any bees yet; it’s been cold and wet, so I doubt we’ll have plums this year.
  • Learning patience.
  • Expecting less from other people and being pleasantly surprised.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Careers, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: I Am, I Said

  1. Megan says:

    I always enjoy reading what you have written. You have an audience so I believe that makes you a writer. Yes, you are definitely a writer, and your voice is needed now, especially in the current political climate of the US. And those photos are lovely, my backyard is still covered in snow and ice in Ottawa, Canada.


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