Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Scribblings on Aging

"Did you turn the iron off?", my sister asked as we were driving down the street away from our mom's house last Christmas. The three of us and my aunt were in the car, in a hurry, running late as our family tends to do. I knew I hadn't turned it off because I hadn't used it. No one else could say for sure whether it was unplugged or not. So, back up the road and into the drive we went. My mom, who was in the front passenger seat, said she'd run in and check. It wasn't until the next day though that she said something that made me pause. In referencing the day before she mentioned that you don't realize that there are things, you can't do anymore until you can't do them. She said she had intended to just run in the house and check the iron and found she couldn't just "run in" anymore. She turns 70 next month and I can see her getting older, but had never really put that into the context of aging. Her vibrancy, her spirit, her courage, her will aren't affected by aging. Yet her off-hand comment caught me by surprise and made my heart heart a little for her. It also has me wondering what do I want to do before I realize I can't do it anymore?

#156 -- Sunday Scribblings

Sunday, December 09, 2007

10:40 A.M.

I got this uncomfortable feeling around 10:40 this morning as I was driving to church. I was on the edge of a rather militant little mood. I've been vacillating between that and sheer fear for about a week now. Fear's been winning, but I'm betting the odds are in my favor somewhere between sheer fear and militant there is a place where I can rest a moment while I figure things out. One can at least hope.

I made a decision a couple years back on what I did not want to do for a living for the rest of my life. I was rather adamant about it and it made perfect sense to me (still does). I had come to the conclusion that I needed more depth to my skill set, that I had let myself become to narrowly defined in a very specific niche that was not going to provide me with increased earning potential. I also wanted to position myself to have alternatives in the next down cycle of the economy. Not to mention, I just didn't want to do it anymore. That seemed perfectly reasonable to me (still does).

Now, it would have helped tremendously if I'd had a clue what I was going to do next. I knew I was smart, worked hard and had any number of other admirable attributes that make for a very good employee as well as innate and intangible qualities galore. Well, it's been a very interesting journey and if it wasn't my life, it would perhaps make for a nice little story in a Po Bronson book. But, it is my life and much to my surprise it isn't going exactly like I thought it would by now. I read all the books on careers, career transitions, job searches, being your best self and knowing yourself. I took the tests and assessments too. There were classes and seminars and informational interviews as well. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I was kinda holding out for an epiphany. Truly, I thought I would have one and when I didn't - well, let's just say it took a long while to get over the need for an outcome around that one.

Anyhow, I digress, back to the uncomfortable feeling - it came with this thought - Damn, I'm going to have to define for myself what a 21st century feminist is and I'm going to have to become my very own version of one or something close at least. Here's how I got there. I was reading about women who have started their own businesses and are working toward economic independence at When I came across this little tidbit from The National Foundation for Women Business Owners:
55% of women provide half or more of their household's income, yet 48 million women - that is 80% of all women in the workforce - earn less than $25,000 a year.
Think about it. It's enough to make you have a militant moment too!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Last week I sent a petition out into the Universe regarding an opportunity I was very, very interested in. The idea came from a novel I read, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had forgotten this particular story about the petition the author wrote until the book came up at my monthly writer's group gathering.

So, among all the other approaches I was pursuing, I decided to do my own petition. I wrote down why I wanted this opportunity, why I thought I would be good at it and all the reasons the Universe should intercede on my behalf. Then I signed my name and began imagining all the individuals who would sign in support of me.

This week my cell phone rang late Monday afternoon. It was the Universe calling with an answer - no. =(

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


A friendship that means a lot to me is in transition, entering a new phase, becoming something different, perhaps less of what it was, I don't know - I'm not sure. When I asked why, the comment was - "it's my choice, Debra". Little-by-little I try and let go of my want of that friendship. It's terribly hard at times - I miss it. But, it's the tone of voice, the inflection around my name, that I hear when the words "it's my choice, Debra" are echoing in my head as I lie awake at 4 a.m. that I'm in want of letting go of most.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

There But for Grace

Life had worn him down. He seemed to be in a place far past desperate and it appeared he'd let go of hope a long, long time ago. A war vet in his early 60s, he'd survived a couple of heart attacks and had three stents which limited his ability to do much manual labor. I didn't hear his whole story, just enough to know he was looking for work. His pension, no where near enough to cover the most basic standard of living - rent and groceries. He was barely existing and looking for any unskilled job he could get to bridge the gap until his social security "benefits" kicked in.

There's a small group at a local church that helps people transition between jobs and they shared information about resources, assistance, other church-based programs that would help him through. Four good men, with careers and opportunities and nearing his age, are part of a ministry started to help those in their community that are between jobs. The intent is to share information on networking, resumes and interviewing. They provide help with the skills necessary to compete and be considered for more professional jobs. They also listen, let people tell their stories so they can then go out into the real world with a more positive perspective about finding a job. I don't suspect though that this group, in a more affluent church, anticipated they would actually encounter this. Know it existed, perhaps - see it first-hand, I doubt it. As they provided advice and counsel, I wondered if any of the four of them thought...there but for grace...I sure as hell know I did.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


There's this website that I ran across. It's a great artist with these sayings as art. They make me laugh out loud and some are so, so me. Like this one for example:

"Is willing to accept that she creates her own reality except for some of the parts where she can't help but wonder what the hell she was thinking."

or, this one
"Sometimes I think I should just keep my opinions to myself, she said, but someone has got to be the voice of reason."

and, then there is this one
"Some of the stuff I learned early on was useful, she told me, but most of it was obviously meant for someone who was not me."

Oh, so me.

The artist is Brain Andreas. The website is Stop by - send an egreeting - give someone a moment to laugh out loud today.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I had to take my Mazda 626 to my mechanic AGAIN. It was the thermostat, which was replaced when the radiator was replaced earlier this fall. The radiator broke while I was in the drive through line at the dry cleaners and the big SUV in front of me would...not...move. The car was towed. I'll admit it, I haven't always been the best with automobile maintenance, but I've gotten better with each successive car and I have been very darn good with this one. So much so that my mechanic actually commented on it. I've got a great mechanic. A little garage that has been in business for at least four decades. My Dad took the family cars there when I was growing up. I actually drive my car across town or some times get it towed across town to take it to Jim's Car Care. So recently, when I noticed my thermostat doing the reverse of what it has done in the past (going above half way toward the H) and actually going down toward the C, I stopped by the mechanic. After a check and being told there is nothing to worry about (let's all take a second to knock on wood here), I decided to cut through the neighborhood to get on my way to where I was going. Before I knew it, I was right in front of the house I grew up in. I had heard it caught on fire this summer. Apparently, the fire started in the garage which was turned into my Dad's den a long, long time ago. There was a work crew redoing the house and it was wide open. It looked like a scene from one of those house flipping shows on HGTV or TLC. I parked looking for a long moment before deciding to get out and go inside. I'm almost never on this side of town and when I am, seldom go past the house. This day though, I felt compelled to see it. I explained to one of the workers that I had grown up in this house and wanted to take a look around. I stepped through the threshold into the entry and was surprised by how small the house was. I didn't remember it being that small, nor did I remember the back yard being that big. The shag carpet was gone, replaced by very nice hardwood floors. The den where my Mom had painstakingly chose just the right shade of burnt orange blinds,from the Decorating Den, for the window was gone. It was knocked down to make a great big kitchen with black granite counter tops. The whole house was painted the colors from any current shelter magazine - taupe and green. There was the ceramic dark green tile floor in the kitchen replacing linoleum. I stood in my old bedroom and all these memories came flooding back - of being a little girl there. As I stood in the living room I could see in my mind's eye my Dad sitting in the chair reading the paper every morning. I could see my Mom studying for her Masters in the bedroom - her books and papers all over the bed. Lots of different memories, lots of feelings from a long, long time ago. I talked with a neighbor as I was leaving. She'd been in her house for 28 years, so she would have lived there when I was a girl - we didn't remember each other. But, we did have a nice little visit. She thinks the house's owner is the second since I lived there, for some reason, I think it's the first. It doesn't really much matter. The girl I was, the woman I am, the person I am becoming started there.

20 Minutes

That's my goal - 20 minutes of meditating twice a day - every day. When I decided to make a commitment to this goal a couple of weeks or so ago, I had to drag myself kicking and screaming to the chair and sit my happy self down (okay, not so much happy) and all but tie myself to the chair (now, that would have been a real trick). I've attempted this in fits and starts over the last few years. I took a six week class and at one point worked with a meditation teacher. I'd read his book, Build a Better Buddha: The Guide to Remaking Yourself Exactly As You Are. It's a very thorough, although dense book. He fired me for being a dabbler, for not developing a consistent and regular practice. Rightly so, I wasn't ready to make a commitment at that time. The work with him though helped tremendously in the short-term in letting go of fear and calming down. There was an insight in being aware of thought and bringing attention back to the breath that made a hugh difference as well as understanding that thoughts, feelings, physical and perceptual are the four distractions when meditating. Now as I've started again, I can tell a difference when I start my day with some time just breathing and when I do it again later in the day. I haven't made it to twenty minutes consistently yet, but I have done it more than I haven't which is progress. The question then is, if I know it makes a difference, why don't I? Back again to that little matter of choice.