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.

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“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.

Some Dreams Die Hard

It’s very difficult to give up my dream of being another person’s true love. Yes, I know you can love more than one person in a lifetime. I know that it may be unrealistic to imagine one person can meet another’s needs. However, I still can’t help wanting to be special to someone who believes me to be special.  Perhaps not being special to anyone in my life growing up contributed to this dream. Who knows?

My husband is really ill. We got the unfortunate news that the tumor taken out during surgery may have spread and an organ must be removed because of it. That’s major surgery and a major change of lifestyle. I believe I’m ready to help him tackle it. I care about his life and his comfort, so abandoning him was never going to be an issue, even if I did contemplate it a few months ago when all of the marriage issues showed up again.  I’m bracing myself for the worst though. What would I do if something happened to him.. if the worst happened?

Life is going to change yet again. In times past I would have obsessed over a Plan B, but now I think I can meet whatever happens head on without over-thinking it. Needless worry just adds needless stress and I don’t think that would be good for me. I’ve just now cut down on the stress I was experiencing over the marriage by reintroducing antidepressants to my daily routine. They are working well and I can feel the stress reducing. Now being my husband’s carer will no doubt add some more. I need to be calm. Marriage issues should no longer be allowed to be my primary concern. It’s time for carer mode now.

Yet, like tonight, I can’t help feeling sad as I go up to my bedroom. Sad that someone isn’t looking forward to being with me at the end of the day. Sad that I may never meet someone who makes me feel needed and wanted above all others. I’m getting over it, but it still hits me at certain times. I spend my day in one room, he in the other. We occasionally chat over dinner, dishes, the household chores, bills, and his musical needs. But we live separate lives in the same house. The other night we visited friends and it was good to see them, but we came home to separate beds. Occasionally I will sleep in our bed together because I need to feel close to another human being. He never asks me to or expresses his need to sleep with me. And I do mean sleep. Nothing else has happened in our bed, other than sleep, for months. He never expresses an interest or asks me. And that makes me sad.

The Crash and Burn Syndrome

 

A picture of a caterpillar smoking a hookah. T...

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I’m a weirdo, I admit it. I go along almost as happy as you please and then I let things build up internally. I take an insult here and a jibe there from a coworker. I become miffed at a misspoken word or I get irritated about something. These little things add up day after day and sometimes week after week and BLAMMO!! I explode and go on a tearing bender of a fit and lay waste with my scathing wit or anger everyone who just happens to get in my way! Well, ok, maybe it’s not that bad, but it feels like it sometimes. Then, I am fine for awhile until the cycle starts up all over again.  Anyone else do that?

So what’s the answer? Religion used to soothe me. Reading still distracts me but sometimes I can’t concentrate enough to read. I’ll watch a good movie, but they only last two hours at the most.  So I’ll take a whole weekend and just become a hermit. Except I can’t do that much anymore now that I live with my daughter. But I can sure try!  Yesterday I watched the Tim Burton movie Alice in Wonderland. The movie was visually appealing and a definite work of art, but the story wasn’t so great. No, it didn’t follow the original much. Same characters, different plot. I did become very sidetracked by the glorious score by Danny Elfman:

I could listen to it all day. It soothes me.

Then I read my book for awhile:  The Gate House by Nelson DeMille. I had to put Greg Iles away (The Devil’s Punchbowl) without finishing it. It bordered on torture porn and don’t we have enough of that with all the television shows that feature the female victim of the week. I mean really! How many times do we have to see rapes and murders of young women? Aren’t there enough of those in the news. We are a world full of voyeurs.  But in any case, I don’t need that to calm my nerves now do I? My counselor once asked me why I didn’t just pray to God and, granted she was a Christian counselor, I told her that God and I didn’t communicate much anymore. She said that that didn’t matter, the very act of praying would help. So I did and right before gnawing my paws off while trying to go to sleep on the worst of the nights, I asked God to help me out here a little. Anything would do, a little peace of mind or some new insight or hey, how about some nice calming peaceful feelings? I then went to sleep and woke up feeling much better.

Now I don’t know if God did anything or not, but it doesn’t hurt to think so. It also didn’t hurt to ask. And I didn’t even have to straighten up and fly right first! Some parents could use that lesson.. ahem.. In the coming weeks when one of the most important days of my life comes to pass (my wedding), I need to remember why my fiancée and I are doing this, how little time we have on this earth to love each other, and frankly how tiny some of those seeming insurmountable problems appear from an eternal viewpoint. Whether eternity turns out to be nothing at all or some celestial kingdom, it can’t hurt to imagine one’s life in such a time frame. People get so overwrought about things that are meaningless, me especially. My philosophy should always be,  “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” Sometimes there’s some great shit in the bible! 😀

Would You Like a Shot of Whiskey With That Stress?

 

How to lose all your stresses

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Yesterday I told my boss at work that I was leaving my job of nearly ten years next March.  It was a relief to finally say that since nearly everyone knew in the office but him anyway. It was nice to get it off my chest. The stresses in the last 10 years have simply piled up. Some of them are of my own choosing and some of them not. Even good events and joyful events are stress causers. Psychologists have some kind of quiz you can take to measure stress, but I don’t need a quiz. I have a list of the last five years’ worth of stresses which I’m sure doesn’t cover everything, just the highlights:

  1. 1995 to present; moved from Colorado back home to Illinois, diagnosed with chronic hives of no known origin. numerous shots of steroids to bring down swelling of arms, legs, neck, face. Four different antihistamines taken each day to combat it.
  2. 1997: returned to college while my kids were in school.
  3. 2000, 2004, 2005: empty nest of all three children. Off to colleges.
  4. 2000 and 2004; graduated college with a B.A. and an M.A.
  5. 2001: Began new job after many years of housewifery.
  6. 2005: ruptured disk at L7. Microdiscectomy in August; two months recuperation, worked some at home. September: Second son joins the Army. Two loved pets die within a year of each other.
  7. 2007: January, heart catheterization. discovered 99% blocked artery. Stent inserted, endless blood tests monitoring and cardiology visits. Father-in-law passes away, funeral. October of that year, my second son gets married.
  8. 2008: Beloved pet disappears, never found. October: marital separation after 28 years. October: moved out of my house and into  my sister’s place, December: moved out of my sister’s house and into an apartment. Began long distance relationship.
  9. 2009: October: Second son leaves for Iraq. Fall: Husband files divorce papers. Continued long distance relationship.
  10. 2010: March: divorce. April: third move to another place with my daughter and our cat. June, engaged to long distance relationship man. August: first son moves to Hungary. Second son comes back from Iraq. October: Daughter gets in wreck with my car. She’s ok, but the car is totaled. Continued long distance relationship.
  11. Stresses to come: 2010: October: trying to find a used car. December: remarriage. 2011: major move to UK.

All I can say is, thank god for medication! I’ve tried various coping strategies; religion, counseling, finger chewing (childhood habit that has never gone away), talk therapy with friends, co-workers. But really, there’s no cure-all. An anti-depressant has at least helped me get a grip and not go completely bonkers. Wish I discovered those back in 2005!

Feminist Gatekeepers

 

Writing in the 18th century, Mary Wollstonecra...

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Rebecca Traister, Hanna Rosin, and others on why you can’t own feminism. (1) – By DoubleX Staff – Slate Magazine.

Now I understand. After reading these feminists (and I’m surprised that they “allowed” Christina Hoff Summers to comment) I understand better about the feminist gatekeepers. They are elite women-firsters. They are academic women lording sover the lives of any other creatures; fetuses, men, animals, etc. They have earned this right because they believe others have ruled them long enough. Fair enough. I’m on board with that. Men have always taken what they wanted without weighing consequences. It’s their right. However, feminist gatekeepers look askance at anyone who would claim the right to be first themselves, such as Sarah Palin, who they label “unserious.” Why? Because she’s not educated like you or believe in the same policies as you do? As I recall, men in their patriarchal heyday often called Victoria Woodhull and suffragettes “unserious.” Gatekeepers label Palin and other women who disagree with them as dabblers at politics who do not understand what they are talking about.  Why? Because they don’t understand it the way you do? Which education is enough to make them “serious” about their political beliefs. Ivy league colleges? I smell elitism in the air.

Again, ladies, we UNDERSTAND what you are saying. You are saying women have rights no matter who’s involved. You are saying that your body is yours no matter what. Abortion is your banner no matter who you’ve allowed inside your body first. We get it. Fathers have no rights. Grandparents have no rights. The fetus has the least rights of all. The only right that matters is the female because she carries the baby. No parthenogenesis is involved yet somehow this “tissue” is strictly hers to dispose of at will as if no one was involved in its creation but her. We understand that no one has the right to an opinion about the government, about welfare, about employment, but you. Early feminists such as Mary Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, ladies who were never governors of their states, are considered “minor” feminists, probably because Stanton opposed abortion as another means of enslaving women by getting rid of men’s mistakes for them. Stanton wrote:

“When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our  children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.”  Letter to Julia Ward Howe, October 16, 1873, recorded in Howe’s diary at Harvard University Library

Mary Wollstonecraft wrote:

“Women becoming, consequently, weaker…than they ought to be…have not sufficient strength to discharge the first duty of a mother; and sacrificing to lasciviousness the parental affection…either destroy the embryo in the  womb, or cast if off when born. Nature in every thing demands respect, and those who violate her laws seldom violate them with impunity.” A Vindication of the Rights of Women,”

In other words, there is a price to be paid for such cavalier trashing of nature’s effects isn’t there? I think so. Yet, I am pro-choice myself and think the laws should stay as they are to protect a woman’s health and against crimes committed against her. However, there should be caveats as with any act that has responsibilities attached to it; the rights of fathers who care, and other family members who have a vested interest. No decision should be responsibility free. I don’t believe the religionists that say your body is God’s, but I also don’t go to the other extreme that say your body is yours no matter what.

There was a division in Stanton’s day and it appears there will be in our day. Ideology always creates division. Perhaps it should but people who don’t agree with you have a right to express their beliefs just as much as you do. Agreeing to further the causes of women should not however lie on the stance of a single issue.  Life is never about single issues. Again, modern feminists are making themselves the gatekeepers of an ideology that only a few women will ascribe to and declaring it true and right. They are “mortified” that other women claim their accomplishments as feminist; women who are married, mothers, or in any other category not fitting for complete and total freedom as they see it, a right they only accord to themselves. Is abortion really going to be the test for all political ideologies, left, right, and middle? Really? Feminism will never go anywhere with this mentality.

As for who gets to be feminist? I’ll tell you; only those who agree with the gatekeepers of their generation, that’s who.

American Health “Care” Debacle

Health Care for America Now, Rally outside Sar...

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As I sit and read blogs this morning and as I am contemplating what to write next, my mind is turned invariably toward the American insurance industry. There is no such thing as American Health Care. It’s a misnomer that means whoever can afford it is guaranteed the finest. If you cannot afford it, you are urged to buy insurance. Since insurance is tied to the workforce, you are also limited by the insurances your company can afford to provide you, which in everyday speak means ‘not much.’ You are also limited by your work hours. My daughter, who works in retail is given between 20 to 39 hours a week to work. She is not salaried, so insurance is contingent on her maintaining 40 hours a week. Clever no? Her employer saves money by not giving every employee the hours they need to bank to provide their own coverage.

On the other hand, I have a salaried position and am paying $600 a month for group insurance after a long, long fight for it. Previously, I was covered under my husband’s insurance through his union. There was no interruption in coverage, in fact there was an overlap of almost a month. Yet, recently my insurance company denied a claim for a bone density scan claiming a preexistent condition. huh? What might that be? I will call them tomorrow, but an issue comes to the fore here. Why is the first inclination of an insurance company, who you pay thousands of dollars to, to deny your claim? I know why… profit. You see the insurance companies are not about health care. They are in this for one reason only, to make money. There is no other reason for insurance companies to exist. Don’t tell me it’s to “regulate” doctors or hospitals or to keep costs down. That’s just bullshit. America’s system is capitalism and that includes health care going to the highest bidder, not because they want their citizens to be healthy, but so that companies can make profits.

I was called back to get a second mammogram due to something they spotted the first time last week. I will call them tomorrow and see if they are going to cover this. If they aren’t, I’m not going. I can’t afford to. The bone density scan costs $350. I now will owe this somehow out of all my other bills and expenses. It sounds measly to some people, but $350 is almost a month’s groceries. It’s almost a car payment for me, or at least the kind of car that I can afford. As I wander the shops and watch everyone buying, buying, buying, I can’t help but wonder, “where do all these people get all this money?” $350 is a drop in the bucket for them. And another mammogram will be upwards of $600 or so. So, I will have to take the risk that what they saw on the first mammogram was a false reading and not go to the second. And I will tell the insurance company this when I call them and if they tell me they will refuse to pay for it. There is no alternative for people like me and millions more who make less than I do a month. Obama’s plan will try to redress this somewhat, but this won’t go into effect until 2014 and even then it will get huge opposition from whoever happens to be in office at the time. The insurance companies will retaliate by raising rates and we will be back to square 0.

So please, please, please, don’t call what we live with now health care. It’s more like health capitalism.