Reclusive or Selective: The Semantic Game

I’ve told myself that I am not becoming reclusive; I am just more selective about what I do. I am not sure if I am just playing a semantic game with myself, but I am sure that my activities are changing.  I no longer log on to Facebook daily, but I do try to check in at least weekly to keep up with the people I talk to via messages.  I just don’t see much value in all the posts, seems like people put the silliest stuff on there.  I mean I guess it’s important to someone what you had for dinner, just not so much to me.  I also don’t tweet, don’t Pin anything nor am I linked in to anyone.  I really don’t spend that much time surfing any more either.  If there is something I need or want to know, I can usually find it with a quick search, read the articles and be done in fifteen or twenty minutes.   I also don’t go out as much as I used to.  I am quite content to stay in my house with my fur-kids. And they seem to get quite upset when I leave them.  Actually, it is getting hard to get me out of my house, not because I am afraid to leave, rather because I am just so comfortable here.  And I am always concerned that I will have to leave because of pain and cause disruption in the activity.  This causes me to stay home a lot also.

I did go “out” over this past weekend, however, and it was an interesting experience.  The “plan” was to go to a street dance that was a local fundraiser for the downtown district where I live.  Of course it was raining a lot, so they moved the party inside.  And they eliminated all the food vendors.  That meant going out to dinner, which we did and it was lovely!  The food was great, the company wonderful and the conversation fun.  Then to the “club” where the party was, which pointed out to me that it had been a long time since I have been in a club and I am getting old.  Wow, was it loud in there!  It didn’t take me long to re-acclimate myself and I found myself loving it! One of my favorite things to do is to “people watch” and there was the perfect spot above the main floor to do just that.  And the band, who were very good, was in the other room so they weren’t so loud! As a bonus, I had a fascinating conversation about a myriad of topics with a very cool woman.  I am glad that despite my desire to stay home, I went and had a great time. I was not able to complete the evening this weekend, as I came home early due to “wearing out,” but the going out was a good thing.

Being selective about what I do is a good thing, and I will continue.  Unfortunately, my stamina is not what it was and I cannot do all the things I’d like.  So I will have to make choices just like everyone else, even if mine are a little more limited.  Looking at the possibilities as though there are possibilities will make a huge difference in my choices.  

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A Three Year Journey, Never Intended

Three years I began a New Life.  Or should I say I began a New Journey in my Life.  A New Journey sounds so much better and more intriguing, wouldn’t you agree?  I would assume it depends on whether it is a Journey one intended to take.

I went home for lunch on a Thursday afternoon, it was August 5, 2011.  I’d been having “episodes” of unknown origin, but they were mimicking TIA’s or mini-strokes.  I had been to the hospital ER many, many times; had more CT scans of my head than I probably should have in my lifetime; and, had freaked out my friends, my co-workers and myself more than once.  On this day, instead of going to the ER, I called my doctor.  I thought that was a wise move, since I was tired of wasting everyone’s time and resources to be told that they didn’t know what was wrong.  The doctor told me I had to see a neurologist and until I did, no more work.  Little did I know that it would take a year, and my insistence at seeing a third neurologist to get a diagnosis and a solution.  Of course, by this time, I had no job, which meant I had to move because I could no longer afford where I was living.  Of course this provoked just a little (sarcasm here) stress in my life, which caused the RA to go out of control.   Additionally, I lost two of my main supports, which were my old neighbors.  I had not planned on that.  I’ve never returned to work and my health is such now, that it seems unlikely I ever will.  Although, I would like nothing better.

There are many details, twists and turns that life has taken throughout these past three years, far too many to mention here.  The life lessons are always the most important; the demons we struggle with and overcome; the challenges we face and win; and the realization of who and what really matters.  I know that these will continue throughout my life, I hope to get better at dealing with them and at letting go of the little things and the things I cannot change.  I am finding that, unfortunately, that also means letting go of people.  There are people in my life who let me down to the point that I can never trust them again; who have shown me their true character and, not that I am perfect, it is cruel; and, there are those who have, at least in their own honesty, walked away from me.  This has been the hardest part of my journey during the past three years.  Or maybe it has been the hurt I have caused others, for I know I have.  I have let people down in ways for which I have many regrets.  I have tried to make amends where possible and apologies when I can.  And tried to do it better the next time.  I guess that is all to do.

It has been an interesting journey.  I have learned a lot about myself, my world and the people in my world.  I have been to the depths of depression and have had wonderful friends to pull me back up.  I have had major health crises that without my friends I would literally not have survived.  And I have had triumphs that my friends were with me to celebrate and share.  What have I learned? That I have the BEST FRIENDS, that I am BLESSED they are in my life; that no matter how dark or lonely some days may get, they will ALWAYS be there, just one phone call away.  I have also learned that I can handle much more than I thought I could, and I really thought I was pretty strong before.  I’ve learned to be more independent and to ask for help only when it is truly needed.  I’ve learned to let the little things go and not stress about them as much.  I’ve learned to be GRATEFUL for all that I have, for it is so much!  I’m learning to ENJOY EACH MOMENT because it is all I really have and to stop expecting things to be a certain way.  It appears that when I can release my expectations, I am pleasantly surprised by something new!  The biggest thing I’ve learned about myself is that I have a lot to learn!  This is good, for life will continue with its twists and turns and how boring it would be without them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israelis, Palestinians and HAMAS, The Current War, 2014

I have been a news junkie for a long time and I don’t know that it is good for me anymore.  The world, or should I say the news, is depressing.  And the 24-hour news stations are worse.  The repeat the same things over and over and over, usually not even bothering to change the words or the videos.  I have decided this means that I watch it way too much.  I don’t even watch the same station, but go back and forth.  It still doesn’t change.  This post is not really about the media, however, nor is it about my watching too much news.  Nor is it about how in addition to this; I read not one, but two political printed materials.  This is about all the comments I am reading about the current war between Israel and Hamas.

The conservatives are mostly on the Israeli side, while the liberals are mostly on the Palestinian side.  No one is on the Hamas side.  At least no one that I have heard about in the media, and as I have established I pay attention.

I do believe that every country has a right to defend itself.  I mean could you imagine if a country was digging tunnels into the US?  Oh yeah, they are.  And the US went to war with a country who really didn’t do anything to us, no one got upset about that for a long time.  And when we did go to war with the country that MAY have been responsible for attacking us, we haven’t done such a great job.  I don’t have totals, however, I wonder just how many civilians have been killed in these wars. Of course they were, doesn’t anyone remember “Shock and Awe?”

The thing that is causing my anger to rise is that no one is talking about HAMAS, which “everyone” agrees is a terrorist organization that wants to destroy Israel.  People in the US are protesting the death of civilian Palestinians being killed by Israel; and , I agree, I do not like the death toll either.  And it infuriates me that these people cannot get out of this piece of land.  How can this be?  There should always be a way to flee the country.  Not just in times of war, but also for natural disaster or spread of disease.  After all, the supposed “decision makers” of Hamas are not even in Gaza, they are safely in Qatar; again according to the media.  So who is getting killed, the poor Palestinians who are trapped in a no win situation.  And they are trapped with tunnels and bombs that are part of their homes, schools, hospitals and places of worship.  Even if they are not complicit with this, they still may not have a choice with it.  I am not there, I am not Israeli nor Palestinian, however if I was a Palestinian living in Gaza I would have done everything I could to leave there after the first, second, third one of these wars.  If I could have; I have no idea if it is possible.

I am all about homeland and sentimental belonging, however, I am also about life and preserving a “way of life” and not a “place of life.”  That has been a lesson hard learned for me in the past three years.  I am also all about free speech and believe strongly that everyone has the right to say whatever they want, hence this post.  I also think that with free speech comes responsibility for one’s words.  And that one’s words does not give someone the freedom to do things that are irresponsible.  Inflaming situations without giving thought to the ramifications of the escalation, is not helping to raise awareness or even to get out one’s point of view.  It is simply to sensationalize so that they can get their fifteen minutes of fame.  Protesting is wonderful, it has accomplished a lot in this country and in others; violence is not.  It is sometimes difficult to see this however, when countries frequently use violence to settle their disputes and call it war to make it ok.

Is there an answer to all of this?  I don’t have one.  I am not there.  I live on the other side of the world.  And I don’t believe it is the United States fight.  Does the US have a stake in the outcome? Doesn’t every country.  I hear in the media that, “The US has to get involved because it is the only country to have major influence any more.”  So what, just because the US has major influence, does it have to use it?  It seems so, it seems that the US has to use it everywhere, which is why so many countries are “unhappy” with the US.  I understand that everything is global now, there is no way that any country can operate without being engaged with other countries.  I just do not know if that includes telling them how to live.

Now, there is the issue of Russia and Putin, but not today.  I do feel horrible for the 298 people who perished and all the people who love them.   No, not a topic for today; after all, I am missing the Sunday morning news shows…

How Humbling -100 Bloggers Following Me!

When I started this blog, I thought 100 people, whom I did not know, reading my blog would be quite amazing! And now that I have reached 100 followers, I have found that I am in awe that there are 100 people, whom I know only through this medium, that have read my words and feel that they are worth reading again, and again.  That truly amazes me and astounds me.

I would assume that each and every blogger wishes that they had thousands of other bloggers reading their words every time they hit the publish button, and in a sense I would be no different.  I would, however, rather have the people who do read my blog really enjoy it and have it mean something to them.

I have been thinking I need to publish more frequently and bring my “numbers” up.  Yet, while many bloggers whom I have great respect for, can do this very well, I do not feel that I would be able to blog everyday and have something that I really wanted to say.  So I blog much less frequently.  Not that there aren’t thoughts flying around in my head all the time, that is a given!  And, I am fairly opinionated, even though I have learned to keep a lot of them to myself as I have gotten older.  Or, maybe I am getting better at seeing both sides of a situation, or more, and less able to find “the right” one.  In any case, I am not sure I could be an everyday blogger.

I am sure that I have reached a milestone today! One hundred followers whom I did not know prior to starting this blog, have found my words worth reading.  How humbling and inspiring!  Thank you to each and every one of you!

The Consequence of Fear

So much for my “Just Be” theme of the year.

I think the Universe is giving a me Giant Push which is getting stronger and stronger.  I, of course, have not recognized it until now.  I am a bit slow in these things.  I tend to be the complacent type–no that’s not right either.  I am the one who gets really excited about doing something, so I get all kinds of “stuff” so I can start it; which I do, then I quit and everything just sits there.  I then kick myself for spending bunch of money for something I am once again not using; starting and quitting something again; and, feeling like I am never going to accomplish anything.  My next move, you ask?  I hit the couch, turn on the “I don;t have to think about it” electronic box, pull out the electronic game pad so I really don’t have to think and I can zone out for days.

Of course, that is not the only reason for this lay on the couch behavior. Usually it is because of the pain being bad enough that I just can’t function that day.  Sometimes it is because the depression has taken over and I just don’t care that day.  And sometimes it is because I am running away from feeling as if I give up on the things I want to do, without ever really trying to do them.  I’ve never thought of myself as a quitter before, at least not until I began writing the last sentence.  I really don’t like it.  Feels quite yucky, for lack of a better term.  Wow, I have to change that one.

One thing that I have not quit and will not give up on is writing.  A couple of weeks ago I was away from home and did not have any information about the book I have been working on with me, but I did have my laptop with me.  So, I started typing about my life, thinking it would be more cathartic than anything.  I really didn’t intend for it to turn into anything I would ever consider publishing.  It seems that the Universe may have other plans. The most interesting ideas about my writing comes to me around 1:30 AM, so I have learned to keep a notebook, flashlight, pencil and my phone (it takes dictation) next to my bed every night.  Last week, I “received” information about what I thought was my cathartic writing.  I really don’t want to go into all the details here, but the title I was “given” was “The Consequence of Fear.”  I then “received” reminders of all the things I didn’t do in my life, that I wanted to do, because I was too afraid to do them.  The list was much longer than I remembered.  It was also very sad.

Choices. I have had many to make and I don’t think I’ve always done such a good job at making them.  I know:  I did what I did and I can’t change anything.  I’ve learned from the decisions I’ve made and there is no use in looking backwards.  Except, to use what I see to make different choices now.  To overcome the fear when given the opportunity to make a choice.  To do something different.  To step outside of my comfort zone and do things differently.  To work on that Bucket List!  It is now or never, I suppose.  After all, “You have to have some fun every day, who knows if you will even have tomorrow.” This is a statement made by my great-niece recently, that has resonated with me ever since she said it.  She is wise beyond her years!

Getting back to that Giant Push I am feeling.  Things are changing, shifting in my life.  I feel disconnected from people I know, like I am being told “it’s time to get out there and do new things, meet new people.”  This is really tough for an introvert, especially one who has isolated herself for the past three years. I also have to be cognizant of my health concerns, financial concerns and physical abilities.  Of course, I also have to be aware of using these as excuses too.  They have been a convenient way to explain away my isolation.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to get ill.  I was exposed to pneumonia in May; I got it the first of June and I am still dealing with the effects of it at the end of July.  Health issues are a valid concern.  Yet the Push is getting stronger, no doubt about it.  Soon it will not be something I can ignore.  I don’t want to ignore it anymore.  I want to do some of those things that I have avoided.  It all comes down to the choice–let the fear rule or overcome it!

 

Friday’s Fears

It has been too long since I have posted.  I know this, not because of the date, but because my head is exploding with words.  It seems that the only times I have a lot to say are the times I have little time to write.  While the times I have a lot of time to write are the times I feel I have little to say.  I believe that is fear, my friends.  So, today I am taking the time to write and hoping that I am ready for the company that is coming in 70 minutes.  No, I am not showered or dressed yet, so I will have to type rather quickly!

I am back in my funk.  That bicycle I bought July 4th has left my garage three times and one was to go to the bike shop to be repaired.  So I have only been on it twice.  Okay, so I’ve had a double ear infection like forever and the doctor said riding it might not be good, and I have had trouble just keeping my balance while walking, but this would not have stopped me in the past.  So is my common sense getting better or am I just becoming too compliant? I hate being compliant!

The weather here has been perfect, 70’s and low humidity.  We have set records for cool weather in July!  I have slept.  In the house with the windows open at least, but I have slept.  Of course, I found out this has contributed to the double ear infection problem, so now I am sleeping with the windows closed and the air-conditioning on while the weather outside is perfect.  And the kicker:  I am 53 years old and I may need to get tubes in my ears…I think I am a little young to be going through my second childhood!  Don’t little kids get these when they are like 3? I’m no expert on these things, I didn’t have kids and dogs generally don’t get tubes in their ears!

Speaking of dogs, my youngest, and some would say my favorite, Willie (Princess Wilhelmina) has now been diagnosed with allergies and is taking daily medicine.  She is also eating a lot. She is supposed to be a mini doxie, but I am unsure how long we will be keeping the mini part.  I’ve already started the diet; I did that the day I started the medicine and we went to the park for a walk before we started the medicine.  I am very familiar with steroids.  I started them the day before.  I did not do the diet or the walk for myself, however.  I’ve always been better at taking care of others.  I did begin to be more careful with my diet last night, right after I ate the candy bar and the cookies.  I did not eat them in front of Willie, though, so that counts, right?  Today, I am hoping to go back to the park with Willie and might even take my oldest, Rudy, who is diabetic. (I didn’t eat the candy bar or cookies in front of him either.)  Of course that would leave the middle child at home by herself, which would increase my guilt significantly.  This usually means we all stay home.  And sleep.

My other project for today is to “let go” of my former life.  In my previous life I was a mental health therapist.  I was very good at what I did and I believe I helped a lot of people.  This illness has removed my ability to do that work anymore.  I could never handle the stress, the hours and the mental acuity required.  I no longer have the memory that is needed.  That all sucks and makes me extremely sad.  So I have decided not to look at all the books I have that related to my former life.  It is time to give them to someone who can use them.  I have no idea who that is, but maybe my local library does.  So I will start there.  Today a friend will help me box them up and I will deliver them next week.  In addition, I am going to make my “office” at home more of a “studio” where I can be more creative.  Now, it looks like an office, very practical and business like.  I am not business like any more.  Now I am all over the place, I “flit” and that’s okay.  I want to be comfy when I create, not sit at a desk in a desk chair that hurts my body.  So that needs to change.  And today is the day it begins.  It will be a fun project.  I will start with cleaning out the space, so I know what I need/want.  Then I can hit the thrift stores to see what I can find.  What an adventure! Kind of exciting, getting to create a new space in which to create. I am a writer now: maybe not an author (yet), but a writer.  That is my new profession and I am very grateful that I have it.  If I can ever get past the fear of putting the words on the paper!

 

 

I Bought A Bicycle!

On July 4th most people hang out with friends or family at barbecues and picnics, playing games, drinking beer, laughing and having fun.  That doesn’t for me, at least not any more. I did have lunch with a friend, which was wonderful, as we sat by the flooding river and enjoyed ourselves at an outdoor restaurant.  Afterwards, we shopped.  We used to shop a lot together, but we stopped that practice because it was not good for either of our bank accounts.  We are bad influences for each other when we shop!  And we know it.  So going shopping together can be dangerous thing for us to do.

I have thought about buying a bicycle for a while.  I need to get exercise.  I was told, however, by a couple of doctors many years ago that I should not ride a “regular” bike again, because of my back issues.  My bicycle “should be” a recumbent bicycle.  I listened to the doctors and stopped riding a bicycle. I bought a recumbent stationary bicycle and use it sometimes.  It’s just not as much fun.  I recently decided that I was going to try to ride a regular bicycle again.  I am tired of all the “rules” and “limitations” that I have been given.  I have listened and I have followed them and I am bored with life.  it seems that I sit in my house and do very little.  Most days that’s all I feel like doing; but those other days, I want to DO something!  So, I bought a bicycle.  It is not a fancy bicycle, it’s old, it’s a cheap brand and I didn’t pay a lot for it.  A number of people have laughed at it because it is “cheap,” or it is “old” or it has “rust” on it.  I don’t really care about all of that.  It fits me well and it works. The gear shifter was broken and it cost almost as much to get a new one put on as I paid for the bike.  Without a new one though, I couldn’t ride it at all.

After I adjusted the seat and the handlebars, put air in the tires and cleaned up the bike, it was time to try it out.  I got on, pedaled for about thirty seconds and got so dizzy I couldn’t see! Got off the bicycle and put it away.  Not an auspicious start to my new hobby!  I decided I must just be tired and it would be better the next day after I rested.  And it was.  The next day it was even better.  Now I can ride a bit farther every day!  Of course, yesterday I guess I rode a little too far and had an asthma  attack.  I will remember my inhaler from now on, though.

The main thing is that I bought a bicycle! I broke the rules.  I am pushing my limits in a controlled way.  I’m not doing anything too crazy and I’m working up to being able to ride around my whole neighborhood so that I can eventually be able to ride in the park. I will get there.  Maybe I will like it so much that I will buy a better bicycle, but for now the bicycle I have will do just fine.  After all, it deserves another chance as much as I do.