It Won’t Quite Be Today

Monday I found out that my ex-boss from my old job at “that place” died. She was 82.

She had health issues, which I would be willing to bet contributed to her passing away, but honestly, I think she was ready to go be with her husband, who passed many years before.

I’ve written before about her. About how I think she wanted to stop time when her husband passed, & was bitter over the fact that the rest of the world wouldn’t cooperate.

I… have… feelings… about this woman. And no, they’re not pleasant feelings.

Yes, I’m still angry.

Because of things she said & did, because of things she stood aside and allowed to be said to me by others, when, as my employer, she should have stood up for me – this was the span of time when I had to start talking to my doctor about anxiety, & finding the right medication for it, because it spiralled out of control.

Maybe it would have happened eventually, anyway? Maybe not? But, the stress this woman put me under at my job, due to her direct influence and due to her selfish neglect, I truly believe she caused a chain reaction for me that ended up with panic attacks and severe anxiety.

Both have now been tempered, thank Goddess, but it was really bad, back then.

I’ve had a couple people tell me I should just “let it go”, now that she’s gone. And that I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.

That day is not today.

I will start to let go of the anger I have towards her, because I am still in the healing process.

But it won’t happen today.

I won’t let myself become bitter with this, or hold this grudge. I’m not good at grudges.

And I know the sharp, hot taste of anger in my mouth, the heat of it rising like magma in my chest, making me shake with it as I used to drive past her other business & would flip it the bird.

Yes, I used to flip her other business off…every time I drove by it. EVERY. TIME.

For those who don’t live in my city, or know which business she ran, it sat on one of the main thorough-fares in our city, and I drove past it at least once a week, if not 3 or 4 times.

That’s a lot of middle fingers.

But I know that spicy, angry tang… doesn’t last.

It fades.

Unless you fuel it, religiously topping it with the coal it needs to keep embers ablaze in your gut for years.

Leaving you with the bitter fallout of ash on your tongue.

You speak nothing but that bitter taste, for that’s all you know, constantly regurgitating it from within, constantly stoking that furnace of hatred and regret, leaving you nothing but gray.

No color, no joy, no future.

I do know the difference between temporary anger, and permanent bitterness.

Even if my anger has been 10 years in the healing, and still – the scabs crack & bleed a little when scraped.

I’m working on healing.

But – It won’t quite be today.

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The Road to Bitterness

I used to work for a very sad, lonely, bitter woman. You could almost taste anger in the air around you when she walked into the building, and the days were always longer and more difficult when she hung around the office. She didn’t come around a lot, thank goodness, as she had more than one business she ran, & preferred to spend most of her time at the other place.

While I worked for her, I knew some of her story…how she’d lost her husband to cancer the year I graduated high school, and that this was the reason she was so isolated from others. 

But, I could never really wrap my mind around how much his death had affected her, & how she’d let it change her so.

Not until this year’s changes in my own life started affecting me.

You see…

I finally figured out, that when M lost her husband, her whole life came to a screeching halt. 

Because she couldn’t bear to let it move forward. 

He was her everything. He was her balance, her other side to her life’s coin. She was the saver, the conservative, the grounded, down-to-earth realist…while he was the spender, the dreamer, the up-in-the-clouds risk-taker. He lifted her up from the doldrums, and she brought him back to reality.  They worked together, really, really well, but apart, they spun out of control in opposite directions.

And once he was gone…she ground to a halt. And resented that the world around her kept spinning.

She took it as a personal attack, a total offensive affront, that life didn’t just stop out of respect for his death.

As the years kept flowing past, she refused to acknowledge the truth, & held fast. Hoarding things, trying to fill the hole he left behind with stuff, even though it never worked, she kept at it, & still tries to this day, clinging to the past. Bitter & angry, isolated from the people who would’ve helped her move through her loss.

But she didn’t want to.

Without her Balance, she lost her Passion, her Reason to move forward with the rest of the world.

And so, she moved into Bitterness, and remains there to this day.

My story is different than hers, in that I haven’t lost my life-partner to death.

But, I have lost some of the same Balance…some of my Passion…and my Reason to move forward every day. 

My family, my children, have all scattered  into the winds to live their own lives. Natural, and expected, true, and I knew this day was coming. My caretaking days have always been numbered. Children are not meant to live with their parents for their whole lives.  They are, however, meant to grow up, become independent, move out, seek lives of their own, & leave their parents behind.

This, is right, and good, and natural.

However, this also means that I need to search for a new Balance. A new Passion. A new Reason to get out of bed, to move forward with the world…

Or I risk becoming like M…

I can feel the bitterness seeping into me, some days…

I can sense myself becoming short with others, isolating myself from the world, because I can’t bear to witness their happiness, as I sit outside it, alone, and chafed with the cold of that loneliness.

I’m not angry, yet, that they’re happy…truly, I’m not.

But I envy what I do not have, & I can envision a future where I could hate them for it…if I allowed myself to take that road.

This…

This – terrifies me. That I could become such a hateful thing. 

This is not who I am.

I am a woman who loves.

I am a woman who is a Caretaker.

It has always been one of the deepest purposes of my life. To help others. To take care of those I love.

And to contemplate the possibility that I could actually become so bitter towards others for simply being happy ?

I can’t let this happen.

This – is why I need to leave this place.

I need a fresh start.

All I have here anymore is my job.

And, even though I still love what I do…

It’s not enough.

It’s not enough to get me out of bed every morning, because my job is not my Passion.  It’s not my Balance. And it’s not my Reason.

It’s not enough to keep me from the Bitterness…

And that’s frightening.

This is why I’m making my plan. My one-year plan is to save enough money so that I can move. I will sell the house in which I currently live, & I am going to move to another part of the country for that fresh start. 

I know that it will be scary, starting over at my age. At 47, it’s not always easy to start afresh with the job market, but I have skills that I can take with me to, hopefully, help with that. I have worked in my market for 17 years, & have earned the respect of lenders & realtors alike for my work ethic & skills. And, if I have to start somewhere else at ground level, so be it. I’m humble enough to know that “dirt don’t hurt”.

I just have to get there…

And that means getting off the Road to Bitterness, and on to the Road of Acceptance.

I accept that this is where I am right now.

I accept that my life has changed.

And I accept that I will continue to change every day from here on out because I will it. 

I do NOT accept bitterness.

I do NOT accept stagnation.

I have to continue to free myself from the things which are holding me down, or my wings will never lift me off the ground.  

A Start

Half days is a good place to start.

I went back to work today, feeling pretty good about my decision to start with half days.  And I think it went well.  I actually woke up before my alarm went off, so I was off to a better start than I thought.

About 10am, my lower back started to hurt, along with my abdomen, so I knew a full day wasn’t going to happen; & by 1pm, I was wiped, so I came home.

Wise choice, considering I fell asleep in my chair by 2, and slept till 5.

It continually frustrates me that I’m still getting so tired this quickly, but, I guess, since it’s still only been 3 1/2 weeks since the surgery, it isn’t unexpected.

By 6:30, I felt somewhat recovered from today, so, of course, I decided to push the envelope again, & started trimming the hedges that line one side of my property.

Yep, I’ll pay for that later.

But, fuck it.

They need doing, and I’m the one who’s here, so it’s got to be done.

Tonight, I’ll take a nice, long shower,  try to stretch out the kinks in my back & shoulders the hedge trimmer put there, & take my happy ass to bed a little earlier than normal.

Tomorrow, I’ll have to try to finish trimming, & see how far I can get on raking up the branches before my back gives out.  Yardwork never really seems to end when it’s high summer.

Speaking of which, HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE!!

Today was the longest day of the year, & tonight us a full moon… the Strawberry Moon, they call it, since this is when strawberries are going full force. 

And with the moon sliding into Sagittarius,  it’s the perfect time to set new goals, & take those first steps toward reaching them.

So, here I go, taking my first steps toward my new goals.

* Getting my normal life back (whatever normal means at this point).

* New craft projects, & revisiting some old ideas with a fresh perspective.

* Reclaiming who I am, and setting goals of where I want to be next year at this time.

Time to get started.

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Getting Back In

I mowed my front AND back lawns today…

I know, I know…

I’m NOT supposed to be doing any heavy yardwork for another week or 3 yet.

But, it desperately needed it, and I was the only one here, so I did it.

I know I’ll pay for it tomorrow, but it was totally worth it.

I’m taking my life back, 1 nasty – ass chore at a time.

Monday, I’m going back to work, as well.
I’m going to start with half days, just to see how it goes, since I still get tired really quickly.  (I actually mowed the yards at separate times today, with lots of time between the 2, because I was wiped after the front yard, and am even more so after the back yard)

But, tomorrow,  if I’m not too far down, I’m tackling those damned hedges.

And hey, look! My pumpkins I planted have sprouted!

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They’re called Peanut Pumpkins, because they start off like this…

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Growing pink skin, & warty-looking spots…
And I’m hoping to do this:

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Pretty cool, hunh?
I just hope I can get a couple good looking ones, & I’m going to save a bunch of seeds for next year.

Here’s to new starts, all the way around, & to taking back what’s mine.

My independence.

Sympathy is NOT Empathy

Yesterday was not good.
Yesterday was, in fact, rather awful.
Migraine pain, overwhelmed at work, & just plain irritated, all I wanted was to be left alone to do my job.

Just let me work, K?

Yet, there were some in my vicinity who just had to give me their point of view on my situation.

No, I didn’t go up to them and say “I’m in a foul mood, talk me out of it.”
Nor did I even say anything concerning my mood, my workload, or the state of the union in general.

I was answering a question for one, when the other person interrupted to comment that it seemed as though I was in a bad mood.

Yeah, I am – now, back to the question.
But – didn’t I want to talk about it?
No, not especially. Can we just work?

*sigh* apparently not. Lovely woman that she is, she really wanted to try to help me out of my bad mood… but I was -a) in pain from the migraine, & b) just plain fed up with the day, I had gone into “overload mode”.

“I know just how you feel…”

Um, no. You don’t. You can’t.
Because, you see, that would be empathy. And unless you were born into my family, raised by the people I was, lived through all the experiences I have, & made all the exact same choices I’ve made…

You can never know exactly how I feel.

You can sympathize. Definitely.  You can commiserate, sure. But true empathy? Where you can literally feel my feelings?

Mighty rare, and I don’t think it was happening in this case.

*shrug*
I kind of blew off the advice.
I knew what I needed.
I needed the day to be over, so I could come home & decompress. I needed to break down & cry in my shower- wash away all the tears and let the ugly just be there. Let it wash over me, and through me, so it could pass.

So, while I appreciate the thought, and the willingness to want to help?

Just let me be in a bad mood all by myself, please?

Let me be, & this too shall eventually pass.

Try to “jolly” me out by telling me to “don’t let it get to you”?

And you’ll put yourself on the list of people I will most likely avoid when I’m not feeling 100%.

Because, no, in fact, you have NO IDEA how I’m feeling.

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Bridging the Gap – or Blowing it Up

After receiving a certain e-mail at work, I decided that I’m tired of all the different generations bashing each other, again, and again, and again….

Really.

There doesn’t seem to be any generation that doesn’t feel it has the right/obligation to point out to another generational group that “Yer doin’ it wrong”.  For some reason, the only generation that’s doing it “right” is the one that’s doing the complaining at the moment.

But – they’re all complaining.

Everyone is busily pointing fingers at the others, searching for a place to lay the blame for the state of the planet, the climate of society, and the misunderstandings that fall in that thing known as the “Generation Gap”.

Enough already.

Each and every generation has its drawbacks, mistakes and faults. 

Just as each and every generation has its good qualities, achievements and talents.

Taken from various studies I looked up, here’s what I found:

Traditionalists (1927-1945)– Also known as the Silent Generation, these folks are now in their 60s, 70s and 80s.  Almost all have retired from the workforce (approximately 95%), and those that do remain in the workplace, are near retirement age, and work reduced hours.  They are hardworking, because they were raised during the country’s Depression Era, and consider work a privilege.  They are loyal and submissive, being raised to respect authority and to act as a team.  But – they are “tech challenged” which leads them to balk at changing their work habits.  They prefer the “old school” method – i.e. getting in there and getting your hands dirty and breaking your back – over using technology (which they generally don’t trust) to make sure the job gets done. 

I see this generation as the “Work hard, earn your way, and leave something behind for those to come” generation.  They scrimped and saved every penny, which didn’t leave much available for “fun”, but they knew – to the cent – the value of everything.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964) – Boomers are mostly all in their 40’s and 50’s now.  They are well-established in their careers and hold positions of power and authority.  Boomers are typically “Work-centric”.  They are extremely hardworking and motivated by position, perks & prestige.  They will work long hours and see their accomplishments in terms of their professional achievements.  Since they have devoted so much time to the workplace, they see the generations that follow after them (Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers) as being lacking in work ethic and commitment.  Baby Boomers are confident, independent and self-reliant.  They were raised in an era that believed in reform and revolution, allowing them the ideal that they can change the world – if they work hard enough.  They are not afraid of confrontation and will not hesitate to challenge established practices.  They are also very goal-oriented, welcoming challenge and competition – but are so competitive that they may end up “burning the candle at both ends”.  Boomers can tend to have problems adjusting to workplace flexibility trends, as they believe strongly in hierarchical structure and the “rank system”.  Basically – “If it ain’t broke, don’t change it – ever”… which does not lend itself well to adapting to today’s fast-paced technological world.

My view is that this generation is very focused on the more “material gain” aspect of life.  Raised by parents who had very little, they wanted to accumulate more wealth and security by working hard.  This left a smaller portion of time for home life, but gained them a more secure place, and less worry about the bottom “dropping out” from underneath them as it did during the Depression Era of their parents.

Generation X (1965-1980) –   Gen X’ers are largely in their 30s and early 40s.  They are, on the whole, more ethnically diverse and better educated than previous generations.  Over 60% of Gen X’ers attended college.  They hold middle-management and support-staff positions in the workplace, and are very technologically adept.  Generation X came of age in an era of 2-income families, with rising divorce rates and a faltering economy.  This was the beginning of the age of “latch-key” children, which makes them independent, resourceful and self-sufficient.  They also have a tendency to be more accepting of “alternative lifestyles”, a more “live and let live” approach, rather than the more rigid traditionalist views of conformity to society held by previous generations.  Generation X values freedom and responsibility, with many in this generation displaying a casual disdain for authority and structured work hours, they’d rather not be micro-managed and would prefer to work in a “hands-off” management style.  This generation has grown up with the technological advances skyrocketing and changing daily, so have become very adaptable themselves, willing to learn new technologies and comfortable using all the “bells and whistles” associated with the new gadgets that pop up every day.  Unlike the previous generations, Gen X’ers would rather “work to live” than “live to work”.  They appreciate a more relaxed atmosphere in the workplace, and often incorporate humor and games into work activities.  They are very ambitious, and eager to learn new skills, but – want to accomplish things on their own terms.

I belong to Gen X.  I refrain from comment, except to say that yes – we are very independent, and I myself have a LOT of trouble asking for, or accepting help from others.  I take the “I do it myself” approach, most of the time.  And yes, humor plays a big part of my life.

Generation Y (mid-1980’s and later) – Generation Y is the generation of the 20-somethings, just entering the workforce.  They are also known as the “Millenials”, and is the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce.  Gen Y’ers are very tech savvy.  Plugged in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, they prefer to get their information and communications through emails and texts, rather than face-to-face.  This also tends to cause them to expect instantaneous results to their actions, due to the speed of the internet-based society of today.  Gen Y’ers have lost much of their taste for the “fast-track” of the workplace, preferring to trade high pay for a more flexible and balanced work/home life.  Older generations tend to view this as narcissistic or lacking commitment, while Gen Y’ers simply see it as setting their priorities differently – a more “You can’t take it with you – so have fun now” approach to life.  Nurtured and pampered by parents who did not want to make the same “mistakes” as previous generations, Gen Y’ers were raised to be  confident, ambitious and achievement-oriented.  They have high expectations of their employers and are not afraid to question authority.  They want meaningful work, with a solid learning curve.  This generation participated in many group activities growing up, and was part of the “No child left behind” era.  This causes them to focus more on being a part of the team, being included, and also causes them to crave attention – seeking feedback and guidance from those they respect.

Gen Y is the generation of my children.  I see them growing up in a world that is spinning so fast with technological advances, I worry that this “fast track” will swallow them up and spit them out later.  I hope that the values that I’ve taught them will help them to overcome any obstacles, and appreciate the advantages that they have over other generations.  I also know that they will face a myriad of problems, some stemming from past generations not knowing enough to prevent problems – and some stemming from the actions of today.  My kids are strong, smart and have humor bred into them from birth.  I just hope this will help see them through whatever they’ll face – when they cross that bridge that spans the Generation Gap…

And I hope that bridge gets built soon, before the generations start lobbing more than rocks of disdain at one another.  As one person put it…

*Stop blaming the other generations.  After all, it wasn’t so long ago that you were one of “Those stupid kids these days“*

Six

I had a really good day yesterday.

It was a culmination of reasons, but the biggest reason is because I decided I was going to be doing something positive.

I went around to various desks in my office yesterday… just to tell my co-workers that I “didn’t have any problems for them”.

I’d get a confused glance up, then a grin, and usually a chuckle and a shake of their head.

I made a point to be a positive moment in their day… bringing no issues, no problems for them to solve, no questions to be answered.  Just a small second of “It’s all good.”

And while I may not get to do that everyday… yesterday was a good day.