Starting Over at 58

g18bloodYou don’t really know what it’s like to start completely over at the age of 58 until it happens to you.  When I came back to the U.S., I did not have any savings nor did I have prospects for a job. I had to whittle my belongings down to a manageble size so that shipping back to the USA did not cost a fortune. That meant no furniture; only clothes, books, kitchenware, towels, and the like. I had to come back to a country that had just elected the biggest narcissist, pussy-grabbing, asshole this country hasn’t seen in many years and I had to make do with what I had; not much.

Fortunately, one of my sons had room in his house for me to crash land. A year later, I’m still there, wondering whether to venture out on my own, stay and pay his house payment while he moves to Kansas, or try to buy something with what little I got from Reg’s estate, and I do mean “little”!

Making decisions like this are a LONG involved project for me. I weigh pros and cons for a long, long time. I ask people what they think. I “pray”, consult tarot cards, or do other things to try to figure out what I really want to do versus what others think I should do! You see, as independent as I like to say I am, I am still worried that I only do what is “acceptable” by others, always trying to please, never sure what my true wants and needs are. This attitude kept me in the UK longer than I should have been. Well, that and not wanting to spend lots of money reversing an action that cost me lots of money seven years prior.

Despite all the worries, it took me two months to find a job once I got back. Despite what everyone tells you on the internet,  NO ONE WANTS TO HIRE A PERSON WHO IS 58 YEARS OLD. I completely lucked out. My employers think it was divine intervention. They would; it’s a church. But even with skills, a degree, and a good personality all of the interviews were dead ends. They didn’t even let me know I didn’t interest them. It’s the new thing by the way, not letting the interviewees know they didn’t get the job. Apparently it’s a thing in the UK too.

By a shear stroke of luck (heaven sent?) I decided to find temporary work and was then led to the job that I’m in now. After dealing with a narcissistic and manipulative co-worker, I now have her job and a higher salary; higher than it was 10 years ago in the same position. Luck, chance?  Who knows? All I know is that I have work.

My biggest fear: no health coverage. In the UK, I did not worry about it. The government in the UK actually cares that their citizens are healthy and after the war, set up a system whereby NO ONE was denied health care due to inability to pay. Everyone is happy with this. If you are richer, you can still buy good doctors, but those who can’t afford that do not have to worry.

In the USA, where health is a profit making venture for insurers who don’t give a shit about the common person, I was worried sick. Fortunately, I quickly signed up for Medicaid and was covered much better than I am now WITH a job. Sometimes it pays to be without a job, something corporate fat cats and capitalists will never understand when they denigrate those on “welfare”. There is such a thing as making too much money to have your health needs met and not enough to afford good health. I DESPISE those getting fat off the backs of the poor.

Rant over. My best advice if you find yourself in my shoes? Slog at it. Sign up for every free thing you can get until you can get back on your feet and STOP feeling guilty about it. Everyone deserves housing, clothing, food, water, and healthcare. It’s a human right and it’s the government’s job to help those who cannot help themselves through taxes and programs concerned with the health of its citizenry. If people have a problem with that; ignore their selfish asses and campaign for the health rights of everyone. Caring what happens to others should be a given because ultimately we all benefit when everyone is healthy.

A Grieving Year

I find it almost incomprehensible that such a talented man as my husband Reg was, is no more. How can such a large personality just be … well… gone? I can well imagine that death was what drove people to create religions. To be so full of life and personality one minute and be dead the next must have scared the wits out of early men and women. How to explain it?  Or perhaps they just accepted it, like they accepting hunting animals.

I am lucky to have so many videos of Reg. In a way, though, it’s even worse. To see him living and breathing and singing and then know that his body was burnt to a crisp and he lives no longer–that’s what I grieve. Even though he was a lousy husband, to know that you will never talk to that person again is a blow. But it’s not such a blow that I picture him in some imaginary place, like heaven or hell. He’s just gone. I feel nothing of his presence.

People ask me whether I felt his presence after he died and I haven’t. It’s not like I didn’t want to, but I don’t sense anything of him around me, watching me, or being near me. Perhaps it’s because we weren’t as close as some couples claim to be? Or, the more obvious explanation is that he’s no longer alive in spirit or in body, if there exists a duality in us. I am leaning toward no duality. Our personalities are formed by our life experiences, not our “spirits”. I don’t think I believe in spirits of dead people anymore even though it’s fun to imagine and hunt for ghosts. Yeah, like it’s fun to hunt for aliens to, but I don’t believe in them either.

Reg had a VERY large personality because he lived a very large and full life. Some don’t live half the life he did. I’m glad I can look back on that. Check Reg out doing what he loved the most: playing music.

 

Learning Not to Feel So Guilty

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“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death” -Auntie Mame

Today would have been Reg’s and my 8th anniversary. As things went, we would not have made it to this anniversary as we were well on our way to divorce when he died. Even though I lived it and even though I know why things disintegrated, I still wonder if somehow I could have done things differently. And the answer is, of course I could have, but would it have changed things? I sincerely doubt it.

You see, like a lot of women, I took on the responsibility of trying to make a marriage work that the other party was not taking as seriously. It was always going to be a losing game for me. I could have been the model wife, but without a commitment to change on his part, it would have been for nothing. It’s hard to keep reminding myself of that NOW after he’s died, when all the memories are good ones and I’m waxing nostalgic about how things were. Things were a little unresolved as well, and that never helps.

I am like that, though. I feel guilty STILL about being mean to a kitten I had once! I still feel guilty about mistreating my kids when they were younger even though I’ve apologized, they’ve forgiven me, and in some instances forgotten completely! The problem, I think, is that I can’t forgive myself. How does one forgive oneself? How does that work? Do you wake up one day, take yourself by the collar, and say, “Look, you’re forgiven!”? For some people I suppose it’s that easy, but it’s never been that easy for me.

I need to acknowledge that for 7 short years (although some seemed eternal), I lived an adventure I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t taken a risk. That risk didn’t turn out so well, but I learned much, traveled much, and loved as much as I could.

So, on our would be anniversary, my present to me is a big old package of forgiveness for not being perfect, for making mistakes, and for failing at a marriage with the cards stacked against me at the get-go! Now stop your wallowing and get your ass out there!

“Yes Please”

AmyPoehler

Amy Poehler’s book is doing me a world of good right now.

“Great job,” he said.

“You guys missed my cue,” I said.

“No one noticed”

“I did”

“Relax, it was great.”

“Relax” is a real tough one for me. Another tough one is “smile.” “Smile” doesn’t really work either. Telling me to relax or smile when I’m angry is like bringing a birthday cake into an ape sanctuary. You’re just asking to get your nose and genitals bitten off.

Her stories and vignettes about her life and career are good therapy for women. Check it out.

Politics is a No-Win Game Played by the Rich

We have all been seduced by the media. Facebook and Twitter reign supreme. I can remember my life before either and I was much happier. It seems that the political elites are running a numbers game that no normal person can win. I think they are all putting on a show for each other and social media is the fodder that keeps it going. Media wants to outdo other media. Politicos want to outdo other career politicians. We too are the manure that generates the engine; the shit that supports the show.

So why do we participate? There is not one scintilla of evidence that our participation makes any difference at the national level.  Sure a black man became President, but look what that gave us afterwards? The shit-show that is Trump and his nepotism. The bread and circuses they feed us are just to keep us occupied while under the table work goes on in back rooms and deals get made by making large payments to “public servants”. I admire all the new fresh faces in the Democrat Party. I admire their idealism, but they too will succumb to corporate payouts and backroom deals. It’s inevitable.

I was so much happier when I paid attention to none of it. In a way, politics is its own religion and breeds its own kind of fundamentalism. We worship at the shrine of this or that candidate. We have rallies and meetings to bolster the “spirit”. We decorate our lawns and cars with posters and magnets declaring what we “believe in”.  And we wait until November to open our “presents” on Voting Day to see what we bought for ourselves.  And we are stupid enough to fall for it every time. People have been fighting since the sixties to hold politicians accountable and has it helped? I mean, has anything of the underlying structure changed at all? No. Same old shit-show.

I’m giving up on politics. I have no more idealism left, only reality. If a giant megalomaniac, corporate shill, Putin lover, and ass-hat like Trump could win, then they can have all the baggage that goes with electing him. It proves that Republicans, like the fundamentalist puppeteers running them, are itching for the apocalypse and they’ve just elected the anti-christ that will lead them there.  Since the Dems are too dumb or too unwilling to stop them, they deserve what they get. I’m not being an audience or consumer of it any longer.

Beware Advice

atheism-17I remember last year when I was trying to decide to stay in England or come home. There were good reasons to stay there, the chief one being the NHS (National Health Service). I had peace of mind about my illnesses and never worried about paying for doctor or hospital bills. I paid my taxes like everyone else and never once begrudged the fact that others were helped too. We were all helping each other.

Another factor in my decision was the fact that I was farther away from my kids. I wanted to be able to see them more often than once a year. My religious nut sister made a show of how I should come home and I’d be happier, blah, blah… But you know what, since I’ve been here she’s hardly called or come over or talked to me. Her advice only fit into her fantasy world. She only wanted me back because of her “patriotic” belief that America was better than any other country and I’d be better off here even if people die from not being able to afford care. She’s the most selfish person I’ve ever met.

No, my stay in England was invaluable. It showed me that there were people who did not mind if others were helped with “their” money, although once they are taxes they aren’t your money any longer. Sure there were “patriotic” idiots in England who wanted all immigrants to stay away and keep England “pure”, but every country has those. No, her blinders were religious in nature and explains Trump supporters: religious fanatics who scream about Shariah courts yet want our court system to be taken over by religious nuts like them. They want our Supreme Court riddled with rapists like Kavanaugh. These American religious idiots spew filth about immigrant caravans, forgetting that we all came from an immigrant caravan that imposed itself upon the people who inhabited this land before we did. They attend flat earth conferences (my sister) and believe no one gets shot or dies from mass shootings (my sister) because they spend inordinate amounts of time setting it all up to fool people. In other words; these people are mentally ill and incompetent. Again, my sister.

So I don’t believe we can extend a hand to try to understand such mania. That is a supreme waste of time and energy. All we can do is combat them by using laws against religious hate speech such as theirs. You see, they WANT violence. It feeds their persecution complex and “proves” they are right about how the world is getting worse and worse. They desire Apocalypse almost erotically. It literally gets them off to believe there will be a final battle to end all battles and they will work to that end. Our electoral system is fucked, which is why Trump got elected, but I see no change coming concerning that in the near future.

So beware advice from family members, especially religious ones. They do NOT have your best interests at heart. They have their own agendas and it doesn’t include your health or happiness.

It’s 11pm and I can’t sleep

RegAnnGlastonburyTor

My husband and I atop Glastonbury Tor. 2013

10 Years ago I started this blog. I had just graduated with a Master of Arts in English and I missed the writing and research part of my university experience. I wanted a place to track my thoughts and not write a journal, per se, but interesting articles about my thoughts on various topics. I was not ready to give up writing.  I’m proud of some of the things I’ve written, especially movie and book reviews and my struggles with religion, namely Christianity.  I feel that I’ve lost the heady thrill of college writing and the joy of discovery.

Well, a lot has happened since. It’s been almost a year now since I moved back to the States after splitting from my husband and it’s been almost a year since he died of cancer. The former was planned but the latter was a surprise. I have not written about it except in my personal diary because it’s a long embarrassing and painful story.  What I thought would happen didn’t and what I never thought would happen did. When I left for the UK, I followed a dream. However, that proved to be exactly what it was; a dream. Unreal. Fantastical. Too good to be true. Did I mention I’ve become bitter as well?

Ironically, the only job I could find at my age upon returning to my home state of Illinois, starting completely over again and even with a Master’s degree, was a job in a church doing admin and financials. It pays better than I expected, and even thought it IS a church, I don’t think I believe in God any longer even though I give it a half-hearted attempt now and then for old times’ sake. Sure, at work I can talk the talk as good as any of the pastors. But my hearts not in it. In fact, my heart’s not in much anymore.

I no longer believe in the democratic process once a supreme corporate asshole like Trump got elected. No amount of umbrage on the part of journos, politicos, or anyone with any Washington clout seems able to change that. I tired of being outraged a few months ago. Also, for the first time in 45 years, I’m not attached to the hip to any boy or man that I’ve attempted to earn love from by jumping into the sack first thing. I’m no longer giving everything I have to a relationship that doesn’t give a shit about me. The self-sacrifice I’ve spent my life on has yielded exactly … nothing. In fact, the only thing I look forward to now is not dying of breast cancer or heart disease, both of which have visited me in my life at various points.

I now spend my time working, playing Red Dead Redemption 2, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and reading books. Those things are my favorite things (except the working part).  I don’t think I was ever cut out to do great or even semi-great things. I just don’t have the energy to invest. I’ve spent it all. I don’t have, nor will I have, any significant goals. I wish that, like Thoreau, I could find my cabin (read electronically wired house) in the woods and retreat into Nature. My best years are behind me, and if that sounds depressed, perhaps it is. Perhaps, too, it’s just reality.

Maybe I’ll write more now. Maybe that’s the therapy I need. We’ll see.