It’s the backstretch of the year. My endless project will be over, good or ill, at the end of the month. So will Christmas. As for the insanity with which I live, that, I fear, will accompany me into the glad New Year and quite possibly to the end of time, or at least … MY time.
I thought retirement might be dull. I thought it would be … maybe … slower-paced than working was. I was certainly convinced I would have much more time to do stuff, all kinds of stuff, that I didn’t get to do when I was working. Hah!
A year ago last August, I was at a retirement party for a friend. Early retirement, I should add. In a rare act of sanity, he hit 60, his pension vested, and he said “Lemme outta here!!!!” and due to actually having at some point done some financial planning, plus a bit of good luck, he could. And did.
So I said, this being a very good friend of many long years standing (and sitting, and falling over, laughing, eating, and whatevering), let’s see if we can fit some time to actually visit a bit more often.
He said, and this is a quote: “Now that I’m retiring, I’ll have plenty of time.” He didn’t know yet, but he sure found out fast enough.
I didn’t stop laughing for days. He hasn’t had a moment to breathe since he quit working. Neither he nor I can figure out how he managed to fit a fulltime job into his life.
Retirement … a misnomer if ever I heard one … is like jumping into a pool of still water. For a brief few moment, you will see the rings spreading out from where your body went under. Then, the surface will again flatten out into a mirror of smoothness. Life, the waters thereof, have taken you in.
Beneath that silken surface is a roiling mass of tasks, catastrophes, obligations, incomplete projects and Lord only knows what else … much of which has been waiting for your arrival for many long years. As you slide under the surface, hands begin to grab at you, voices come in every direction. Your parents need your help. Your children, grandchildren, the house, the cars, volunteer projects all bang you over the head.
When did I volunteer for that? you ask … but you won’t remember. Don’t bother trying. “You’re making that up,” you mumble, convinced that everyone has lost their minds, that you have slipped down a rabbit hole or through wormhole into an alternate universe. No, just retirement. It’s like that.
You don’t have spare time. You don’t have any time. You’re lucky if you have the time to get a little nap now and then.
Analyze the word and it will make more sense. Re (to repeat); tire (exhaustion and lack of sleep); ment (whatever). You are becoming tired again. Just when you thought you were going to have all that free time, leisure, naps in the warm summer afternoons … hah!
Getting old is definitely not for the faint of heart.
First of all, thanks to Mike Smith at MikesFilmTalk who honored me with this, my second Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I have no idea why anyone finds me inspiring, but I like the idea.
I suppose the most inspiring thing about me is that despite everything, here I am, sense of humor intact. Survival is inspirational, but surviving while retaining a sense of humor is better. Unless you are going to be drowning in a sea of your own tears, you’d better laugh because no matter how much crap you’ve already gone through, I can personally guarantee that there is more just down the road past that traffic light. Crap, much like the tax collector, can always find you. You might just as well stop trying to hide because it’s pointless. What’s going to happen is going to happen. If it doesn’t kill you, it’ll make a great story.
Somehow I’ve gone in less than a year from “who’s that” to frequent honoree of awards … inspiring and brave and wise. Getting awards is all about finding someone … or someones … who don’t know you well enough to realize what a jerk you are. I mean really … does anyone who you know close up and personal ever give you an award? No, right? That’s because they remember that time when you had one brandy Alexander too many and danced on the table … or that other time when while passing something around, you fainted dead away and had to be dragged to your tent by three big guys and a fork lift. These people love you, but they don’t give you awards. Intimacy precludes formal honors. Moreover, anyone who ever met my second husband or my first boyfriend could never find me inspiring. Perhaps if there were an award for it, I could be a cautionary tale, a warning to not do that!
Mike sort of reminds me of me. That’s probably how come he has gotten a lot of awards from me and will get more. He doesn’t just write about movies. He writes about life. His life, and just any old life. He thinks about stuff. He’s had a hard time and I suspect that 2012 will never be marked in his mental landscape as “one of the great years.” Mike has managed to survived the worst life could throw at him and while he isn’t thrilled with it, he’s found ways to cope without whining and can apparently still laugh. Around here, that’s an achievement worthy of note. Somewhere, he got the message that life is neither fair nor easy. For anyone.
Inspiration comes to me from so many places, but oddly, the comments I write to Mike on his posts have, at least half a dozen times, morphed into posts of my own. He has a knack for saying stuff hovering on the edge of my consciousness that while I’m commenting to him, I realize is something I’ve been meaning to write.
Then, there are the books I read, the shows I see on the telly, current events, the weird stuff that happens at home to me and friends, and the way the light filters through the trees. The difference between something that gives me a migraine and something that inspires me can be razor-thin.
Being told that I’m an inspiration is an inspiration. It means someone still listens to me and I have not yet become completely irrelevant. The older one gets, the more the fear of irrelevancy stalks us. Not just me, but whole generations who were shakers and movers and now find themselves as designated “old people.” In our society, we don’t honor old people. We just shove them away and try to ignore them. Blogging lets me continue to be a part of the world and to still have a bit of impact on it. I’m not going to shake up the establishment, but I might just inform, inspire, awaken a few minds … or at least make someone who’s having a bad day, smile. That’s something.
All of you in my blogging community inspire me. I read your stories, poems and look at your pictures. You make me want to do more and be better. If I can do a little of the same for you, then I am glad.
I’m going to pass this honor to a few of the usual suspects, a couple of surprises … and suggest that any and all of you with whom I am regularly in contact, whose blogs I follow … any of you could equally well be recipients of this or one of the (I’m losing track) other awards I still need to deal with. Truly, if I hadn’t so recently received another of these so that I could take the post I wrote for it and redo it, I’m not sure I’d have been able to deal with this today. Christmas is near, my project deadline is breathing down my neck, my family has gone completely wacko and all I’m eating are homemade cookies which is unlikely to make me a more attractive or healthier person, but wow, they taste great.
Happy whatever you celebrate. Celebrate everything, why don’t you? Rejoice that you are alive, because you have a friend, a roof over your head, and maybe something to eat. Forget for a while all the problems and craziness because it won’t forget you … it’ll be there, waiting, when the party’s over. Love you all!!
The rules of this award are:
Display the award logo on your blog
Link back to the person who nominated you.
Tell us at least seven things about yourself that you would like to share.
Nominate other bloggers for this award and link to them. I am not going to set a specific number. I know how difficult it can be to keep coming up with dozens of new nominees and rather than burden you all with having to find in a single batch so many blogger, I will suggest that as you find worthy blogs you would like to honor, pass the honor to them, then let them pass the honor along as they find worthy recipients. No need to rush!
Notify your chosen bloggers of their nomination and the award’s requirements.
Seven things about myself that I haven’t explicitly said before (at least not where anyone could hear me) are:
My second husband was a moron. I have no idea why in the world I married him. I will never understand. It may have had something to do with drugs and sex.
My favorite shows are reruns. M*A*S*H is the best.
I have a back so bad and a spine so damaged there’s no medical name for it.
I make killer chile.
I’m still waiting for the mother ship to come and take me away ala Cocoon so I can be young again.
My first IQ test showed me to be a genius of the highest order. I was 11 years old. It’s been all downhill since. Now, I’m lucky if I can remember my name.
Before settling down to writing, I was going to be a pianist. Which is how I completed a full major in music before realizing that I’m not good enough to be a musician, at least not classical. But once upon a time, I was pretty good.
For my friends to whom I’ve already give several awards (you know who you are!) and who live in fear of getting another, you are doomed. If I missed you this time, trust me … I will get you on the next round. And if you like any of these awards, feel free to just take the award, pat yourself on the back, and pass it along. It really is all about sharing. Share and be glad!