You know you’re getting older when:
‘Spring forward, fall back’ is less about time changes, and more about trying to get out of bed.
You think CVS sells IPads, and that your doctor can help you with your Androids.
You know you’re getting older when:
‘Spring forward, fall back’ is less about time changes, and more about trying to get out of bed.
You think CVS sells IPads, and that your doctor can help you with your Androids.
In breathtakingly elegant prose, the Declaration of Independence promises American citizens the pursuit of happiness, among other inalienable rights. Defiantly thumbing its nose at a feudal world, it pragmatically declares our rights to be self-evident, not ordained by mere mortals, and protected within a government of the people’s choosing. Not many documents surpass our founding declaration in understated beauty, while still setting forth it’s premises in a clear, candid manner.
For some obscure reason, I am suddenly fascinated by my parent’s history. Maybe it is not so obscure; I have been writing about my life in these pages. I have written about my years in Australia, and my years with Pan Am. I guess once you open the floodgates, it’s hard to stop the flow. I’ve also been digging out photos from the boxes where I keep them, and seeing them with fresh eyes. My mom, a self-taught figure skater, is so gorgeous, holding that Braniff airplane model. Why didn’t I realize before how pretty she was? And my dad, the fighter pilot, in his classic aviator photo, with the white scarf, leather bomber jacket, headphones, and airman’s hat. He’s devastating!
People with high harm avoidance don’t want to go bungee jumping. I say that is their privilege. I, for one, have never felt the need to jump from tall buildings, anchored only by a rubber band around my ankles. I also do not feel the need to add anything to my bucket list; I did some really stupid things in my twenties, so I feel like I’ve taken risks, survived the worst, and can move on. I’ve had a pretty enriching life, so I don’t feel as if I’ve missed too much. If most people just wrote down all the things they’ve done, the people they’ve known, and the places they’ve gone, they would probably discover that they are actually quite interesting!
I have an antique typewriter from the last century, (still feels weird sometimes to say that) circa 1940′s, that belonged to my grandfather. Inside the lid is a taped quote from a magazine that inspired him. He was a writer in bud, I guess, although I never saw anything he might have written. I didn’t see him enough to ever ask him about it, and by the time I inherited the typewriter, he was gone. It is a very cool typewriter, and looks just like one you see in the old movies about driven writers, and chaotic newspaper rooms. I see a rugged looking man, with stubble on his face, mussed hair, and rolled up sleeves typing furiously. No really, he’s sitting there now, and I was about to bring him a sandwich and some coffee in my high-waisted, Hollywood pants, muss his hair some more, smile fondly at him, and slip quietly out the door, after a short exchange of clever banter, of course.
This past week, I have written so much that time has become elastic. I arise around eight am, sit down in my tee shirt and no pants, and promise myself that I am just going to check my email, and post a link. Before you know it, it is 3 pm and I haven’t had a bath, and am still in my tee shirt. My tee shirt covers me, but only just. Good thing my family doesn’t mind sitting in chairs after me.
‘The Twisted Sisterhood’ by Kelli Valen is a book whose premise was based on her own experience with her sorority during her college years. The experience affected her deeply, and forever. She was able to move on, be happy, and have a successful life, but her feelings toward women were profoundly changed, just as a rape victim never feels completely safe around men again.
Whether you feel the same ambivalence toward your own sex or not, it is a book that makes you think about past experiences with bosses, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, passing motorists, and neighbors. Ms. Valen sustained much backlash and hate mail after her book was published, but that is the downside of being public. Not everyone is going to agree with you. What I object to is people deciding how someone else should feel after a harrowing, traumatic experience. It is their experience exclusively; theirs to make sense of, to come to terms with, to accept, and then move on, or not. I am a bit hypocritical here; I often do not have patience with people who cannot move on after a bad experience. But then, that comes from experience with a woman I know who cannot forget or forgive any slight or wrong committed against her, imagined or not. People who have this issue seem very insecure, but it is mixed with feelings of superiority. It is a nasty feeling some people have that others are always talking about you.
Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a woman who was having a difficult time at work. She has a female boss she absolutely detests. She has always hated working for women, she said; she called them manipulative, weasly, jealous, mean, sneaky, and a bunch of other adjectives that were not flattering. I happened to agree with her on one point: I have never had a female boss I liked, or with whom I enjoyed working.
I currently have one that routinely lies to me; while I do not trust her one iota, it is not that hard to deal with her. The caveat: she is in North Carolina and I never see her, and rarely speak to her. This woman has done things such as offering me a travel assignment for which I would need to quit my full time job when I was working for the Census, then she proceeded to give the assignment to someone from Utah.
My current bosses have an agenda that is dark, but not so deep. They are like every other employer: they don’t care about their employees. After years of bemoaning the lack of committed field interviewers, they have finally assembled a pretty decent team here in Nevada; to reward us, they keep hiring new people amongst whom there is very little work to divide. To hire new people requires that your tax dollars fly these new hires to Cleveland two or three times a year; put them up at a Marriott for a week, and feed them as if they were bound for the slaughterhouse.
I know this is to get the job done faster so that they may share bonuses. They will never admit that; they just keep spouting the same policy- they fill a need where they feel it is needed. However, after quitting a stable job that paid the bills, to work hard traipsing from door to door for RTI, my female supervisor keeps giving the lion’s share of the work to people who are twenty years younger than I. She is two years older than I- does this sound like women looking out for each other?
Is that the answer then? That people like my supervisor simply are trying to hold onto their own jobs, and are doing what is necessary? Or are they born liars, and therefore were promoted on that basis, because to get ahead you have to bs. your way to the top? Or did they simply forget how to treat people in their daily routines of busyness and stress?
To be fair, I also developed a lasting friendship with a woman who was my office manager for a week. I am not sure she could be considered a boss, but perhaps the above statement is not complety accurate. My past experiences in the workplace are on the whole, not noteworthy when it comes to the female boss.
That made me start thinking about managers in general. Is there a factor in the human psyche that enables or causes certain people to become bosses and managers? Personally, I would prefer to work exclusively for myself than for anyone else, but I am able to work in an environment with a boss, or bosses and get along with everyone. If a situation became too stressful, I would take steps to get out of there. Life is just too short for unjustified stress. It may take awhile to make a move, but there is plenty of time after work to go to classes, develop a resume, and fax them off to potential employers, especially if your children are grown or half grown.
The woman with whom I was speaking about her boss has had her vacation time in its entirety eliminated, along with all of her sick time, and most other benefits. She didn’t get promoted, despite her longevity at the company, and she was inundated with the work of seven other people who had been laid off. What is she losing by leaving? She has to put up with a really bitchy, horrible female boss on top of the rest of it. There was an air of hopelessness about her; I felt she would be there until they fired her, and she would be at a loss as to what to do next.
Time after time I talk to people who did not, or cannot believe that their employer would lay them off after their years of loyal service. How much happier would we all be if we came to understand that we are not important to our employers; they do not think of us as humans, we are numbers, pure and simple. The bottom line is important to them, period. Stop thinking of your employer as a human entity. Always have a Plan B in place.
Back to the human psyche: is there a factor that overrides all the good, kind, and compassionate inclinations in certain people, and turns them into horrendous control freaks the moment they are in charge of other people? I realized as I was typing that sentence that I have worked for horrible male bosses, too. I had one two years ago, during a stint at a law firm when I was a temporary employee. This man was in charge of the copy room downstairs, and there is a lot of copying to do in a law firm. He was one of the nastiest people I have ever worked with; whether he was just naturally that way, or felt small and hopeless about being stuck in the basement, making copies for more successful, educated people, I don’t know. Maybe I answered my own question.
I do declare, the book “Eat, Pray, Love” is turning into a rich source of inspiration. I’ve always loved travelogues, and this book is reminiscent of a book I read as a teenager. I can’t remember the name of it, but it was non-fiction,written in the first person by a young woman who wanted to see the world. It wasn’t a book exploring the interior world of someone who is searching for her identity, or of someone who is struggling to restore her former self before depression and divorce reared their heads in her psyche. It was written about her travels, what to pack, where to go, how to behave in different cultures, where to shop and how, etc. It fired up my desire to travel, and so has this more current book. The author has written so movingly about Italy and her acquaintances, and the adventures she has generated through travel, that I am dying to visit Bella Italia. I may even start learning Italian.
At the end of the first part of the book the author talks about growing up on her family’s farm. Her parents kept chickens and when one died her father would replace it with a new hen. It wasn’t possible to just put the new one in with the rest willy-nilly though; she had to be finessed in with the flock. At night, while all the ladies slept, the author’s father would gently place the new chicken on a roost. In the morning, the others would blink sleepily, and say “Well, she must have been here all along. ” The rookie would blink sleepily, look around, and say “Well, I must have been here all along.” Reminded me a little of the benders cheerleaders would go on after a big game.
Marriage, and indeed adjustment to most new situations is a little like that. Suddenly, after you’ve been doing something for awhile, or been somewhere for awhile, it feels as if you’ve been there all along. I’ve been with my guy for four years now. At first, we fought like the Gambinos at a family reunion. We haven’t done that in such a long time that it isn’t even in recent memory. If new couples can remember this when they get married, perhaps divorce wouldn’t be so prevalent. Without giving up too much of yourself, and granting that you’ve found a partner you truly love, adjustment takes longer than a week, or six months, or even a few years. It takes at least five years to really adjust to a marriage and become intimate on a level that is mutually satisfactory.
I am in the middle of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and enjoying it far more than I expected I would. I had read a review of the book a few months ago, and got rather irritated with the author in advance. To leave a marriage and a stable life for what seemed frivolous reasons was the height of something in my eyes. I’ve been all over the world and seen some very poor people living in some very stringent circumstances, and it is hard to be sympathetic with someone who feels that a nice home and a good income is unimportant, or should be left behind because you are feeling unhappy for a short period. I’ve seen families busted up over childish nonsense. I’ve had discussions of a heated nature over what constitutes a decent living. A fellow student mentioned that he could ‘only’ expect to make about 50k starting out as a teacher. I replied that there are thousands of families all over the United States that would feel so blessed to bring fifty thousand dollars into the household.
As I read further though, I can see that it wasn’t all childish nonsense on the author’s part; there were issues she chose not to share with her readers. Many of the issues were hers alone. Sometimes she sounds bipolar; I personally would never be inclined to share my personal space with someone who is bipolar, or especially needy. I’ve worked all the neediness out of my system, and being raised with my sister was enough to cure me of ever wanting to even deal with the former. Ms. Gilbert writes well and movingly though; I can understand much of her pain. I would never reveal that much of myself in print, but I have to admire her courage in doing so.
I related to her pages talking about losing herself in the man she loves. A friend even mentioned she begins to look like the significant men in her life! She started dating and having sex when she was very young and never found the time to be alone, to find out what she likes, what she wants. When you are with someone you have to interact; you have to consider someone else’s needs and wants. In a previous post I talked about buried gifts; losing yourself in another person is one reason gifts get buried. My nieces-in-law, both not even nineteen, one barely seventeen, have gotten married and both are expecting. Neither married someone financially prepared to even rent a home of their own; they are living with a mother or a father and their families. Neither decided to go to community college to see what they may like to do for a living, or take classes to prepare for a better future. Neither has health insurance, but both are getting Medicaid. When I became so upset over what I(admittedly)judgmentally called the ‘end’ of their lives when I heard they were getting married, my hubby completely disagreed with me. He’s right, of course. It isn’t the end of their lives, but it is the end of their adolescence, and the end of any hope that they will be able to go on and discover something of the world and themselves before settling down and having children. Young women, without benefit of a wiser mother, truly believe that marriage and a baby will hold a man in their life. Instead, it’s like that cheap brand of glue that dries after a period of time and the pieces fall apart. I have a wall hanging that must be forty years old. Recently, one of the squares just fell out and broke into many pieces. The glues just gave out. Granted, it took forty years, and men aren’t pottery pieces. No, men can’t be glued at all.
I found a way to do the things I wanted to do when I was younger. Even so, I ended up giving up many important things when I entered my first serious relationship. I gave up making friends, and gave up spending much time with the friends I did have. I spent far too much time keeping my house clean, and I had to defer to someone else’s wishes when it came to where I wanted to live, and what kind of home I wanted to buy. My mother gave up skating for pleasure for eighteen years; my aunt gave up traveling to places she wanted to see, rather than just going to the same place year after year because my uncle wanted it. It’s not just the older generation either; one friend never does anything with just me, we always go together with her husband.
That’s why I hate to see a girl give up herself to a man and children so young. If we have a tendency to lose ourselves simply because we’re women, we are much more likely to become completely lost if we start too young. My nieces had plans and dreams; one talked of being a marine biologist when she was fourteen. What chance is there now of that ever happening?
The author speaks of never having lived alone; living alone will let you know yourself better than any book or course.
According to Napoleon Hill, author of ‘Think and Grow Rich’, persistence is a learned trait. Presumably, we can learn this and other traits throughout our lifetimes. It just takes persistence to learn it! I started wondering whether through that admirable trait, we could combat depression. The two wouldn’t normally go hand-in-hand it seems, but why not? If depression keeps hanging on, disrupting your life, perhaps it can be vanquished through a planned strategy of overcoming it.
Mr. Hill wrote that the first step in developing the trait is to have a definiteness of purpose. Knowing what you want, whether it is to lose weight, stop being depressed, or to have wealth, you have to know that for which you are striving. Desire is necessary. Without the desire to pursue the object, why bother? It stands to reason that the desire to overcome depression would be a strong one.
Self-reliance is also necessary. You have to believe that you can carry out, and follow through, on any plans you formulate to achieve those things you desire. Definiteness of plans is a must. Make a plan, he says, even if it is weak and disorganized. Having a plan encourages persistence. Accurate knowledge encourages this virtue also; if you have done research on depression, or healthy, effective ways to lose weight, then you have knowledge. You always know more than you think you know, if you have read, talked to people, watched documentaries, etc. You may suprise yourself with your own depth and breadth of prior knowledge.
Co-operation, will-power, and habit are the three traits left in his chapter on developing this trait. Co-operation with others brings harmony, and unites others in your purpose; will-power is focusing your concentration on your desires; and habit is performing the routines and acts you need often enough that you will achieve your goal eventually.
Mr. Hill goes on to write that there are many factors that stand in the way of our success in developing this trait. At he top of his list is fear. Fear resides in the subconscious and is not immediately recognizable. People stay frozen in place, or put off indefinitely the things that can improve their lives, simply through fear of what ‘others’ may say. I had this experience the other day with an old friend. Fortunately, I do not fear what others may say, so while her remarks hurt my feelings, they did not change my plans.
We were catching up in a phone conversation, and I told her the exciting news that I had finally finished my BA and was accepted into a good school for a Master’s. There was total silence on her part, and I had to query her, ‘What’s wrong? This is exciting!’ She replied that I had done so many things, and had had so many plans, that this appeared to be frivolous also! Going into debt to continue my studies and finally achieve a position in life that is stable, with a reliable income is not frivolous. There was nothing remotely frivolous about any of my other jobs or activities, either. Some opportunities were lost due to the economy, some due to lack of advancement, or obsolence. I was doing the best I could within my scope. Do not fear people like this. They are not the ones who are living your life. Let them support you financially if they think they know better than you what is good for you.
Do not make a habit of those habits that can undermine your persistence. Not knowing clearly what you want; not acquiring the knowledge necessary to carry out your plans; relying on alibis and excuses to put off continuing your education, or starting a business, or losing weight, etc; being self-satisfied or indifferent. There is no help or hope for those who suffer from those last two. Blaming others for your mistakes, weakness of desire, which usually translates to not knowing yourself and what motivates you, willingness to quit at the first sign of defeat, wishing, instead of willing, things to happen for you, or lack of organized plans, and not moving on opportunities when they present themselves, are all factors in keeping us from achieving our goals, or even developing the persistence we would like to cultivate in order to achieve our goals.
Can acupuncture help alleviate the symptoms of depression? There have been studies and evidence showing that it may be possible. In the United States, depression is usually characterized as a disease or disorder in mental health. The Chinese characterize it as a blockage in the flow of energy. If we come back to the idea that we are a composite of the mental, emotional, and spiritual, then a blockage in energy anywhere could cause symptoms affecting the mind or the body.
There have been times that my whole being feels heavy and blocked. Allowing for the fact that women especially go through many periods of feeling overweight, that alone would not explain that feeling of heaviness. It is more of heaviness of spirit, but not necessarily a depressed feeling. Therefore, unblocking some channel in the psyche or body may result in a lighter, more optimistic feeling.
In acupuncture, needles are inserted along certain lines of the body in the effort to unblock whatever it is that is blocking that flow of energy. Perhaps in conjunction with the western idea of exercise releasing endorphins, and sweat getting rid of toxins, I think this may be an optimal regimen for lingering feelings of depression.