Facebook is so kind to bring up memories from past years. Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, always a peek into what was going on in my head that same day last year, or the year before that, or the year before… well, you get my drift.
On *this* day (October 29) four years ago, I thought I’d hit the emotional jackpot. I was two years out from 2014: The year of pain and feeling fine, thankyaverymuch.
Except, it wasn’t true.
Let me begin by sharing the post from October 29, 2016, one year (almost to the day) ￼before I began this blog:
A Long Update — Full Circle:
Two and a half years ago, I was working in a sales job where I’d been for eight years. I did well but it was in spite of myself. I was deeply unhappy. I volunteered at the Humane Society, as a writer. My musings were in the paper and online. I loved writing but something was still missing. When I was asked to manage the cat centre, I thought I’d find what was missing. So, off I went on a new adventure.
Three months later, my world crashed around me. Those who know me already know that there was cancer, death and the loss of not only my job managing the cat centre but a dear friend and of course the cats,,, that I’d wanted to save, love and nourish before adopting out.
My depression and anxiety, which had been “under control” (not really) exploded into a vortex of grief and shame.
Yay! I’d hit rock bottom. Also, not really.
For two years, I grasped at whatever I could to make me feel better. I spent an inordinate time at the doctor, crying and begging for help. I was sent from one specialist to another, told a dozen things about myself, some true, some not. It only added to my sense of confusion and feeling that I was, somehow, defective.
My role in life had changed drastically, too. Two of my children, who I rarely talk about because they are very private, had been adults for years. By age, I mean. When their father died, they were forcefully, by life’s circumstances, thrown from his nest into independence. There is nothing more difficult, as a parent, than watching your children suffer and having nothing to offer for a soft landing.
I couldn’t find work, I was fat. Unhealthy, Depressed. Anxious.
I lost friends; some important. Others, as it turns out, not so much. I was lonely. Afraid — so afraid.
Oh, *this* was rock bottom.
Several months ago, I finally had had enough of groping around in the dark. I told my husband I was going down the street to get a job at the local thrift store, which I did.
I told everyone that the medications my doctor prescribed were no longer being discussed because everyone has an opinion and it is a cacophony of noise to someone with anxiety. I was just gonna follow my doctor’s orders. For once. Just do what she says.
Like Leonard Cohen sings, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Finally — light.
I went back to my friend at the humane society and she graciously allowed me back into the fold.
My choice to leave the thrift shop for my health allowed me to fully engage when a publishing company called me about a resume I’d submitted a year ago. Here comes the sun, baby! Even when I could have caved after my serious vertigo attack (my first ride in an ambulance!)￼, I didn’t let it define or distract me from my goals.
Today, I am working at the sales job, very much like the one I left. Yes, there is a difference but honestly, not that much. I am writing for the Humane Society and have augmented it with a Monday visit to the shelter to cuddle cats and visit my friend.
I have come full circle. But this time, with my renewed vision and all this light, I can fully appreciate it. Thank you for hanging with me, friends and family. You are loved. ❤
I believed what I wrote 100%! I honestly thought “it” was over.
The light was on and somebody was home. ￼￼I wasn’t crazy. Yay!
To be clear… every time -since- that I’ve said something similar was also 100% honestly what I believed.
How many times has that happened? About a dozen.
But there was more pain and heartache to come. Quite a bit more; from our dear rescue -kitty Missy’s unexpected death on my birthday that year (2016) to yet another job change to my dad’s fall and recovery. Most of that is here, safely tucked into my blog posts. Free free to use the search field and read about it, if you’d like.
My point is that the road keeps on going and maybe I should avoid saying things like, “See, all better now!”
There’re many reasons that I’m writing about this today. ￼ not all of them need to be said out loud￼. But one of them does: sometimes life is just difficult. Like M Scott Peck￼￼ said… ahem… direct quote and I don’t even need to go look it up… ￼
LIFE IS DIFFICULT.
What makes me think I’m unique? ￼ It’s not a rhetorical question. I’m asking myself seriously. ￼
Life is ABOUT the ups and downs… lovely moments and gut-punching sad ones.
People we love die. Often, too soon. It sucks. Nobody gets by unscathed.￼ it’s universal.
Lately, it seems we’re all going through a rough patch.￼￼
In the last month, west coast fires have caused several families I know to evacuate their homes, including my own sister. Like others, she wasn’t prepared (not that you ever really could be – it’s not like you can grab everything of importance in your house!). ￼
In every case of evacuation I know… people, cats, medication, passports… maybe… a photo album.￼
￼Everyone I know who was evacuated came home to an intact house￼. ￼ Lucky. Blessed. Those are the words I’ve heard. It so easily could’ve gone another way.￼￼
This, during a pandemic. ￼A second wave.
Record unemployment. Homelessness… I know someone who lives on the streets… winter is coming… and I wish I could put a roof over her head. ￼
During a contentious election in the US that’s actually broken relationships.
We ALL need a break.
If nothing else has taught us that life throws more curveballs but keeps on going on, this last year should do the trick. ￼
So, my advice that I also need to heed:
“Seeing the light” isn’t a one-time thing… sing hallelujah… ￼it happens over and over … as it needs to! ￼ We’d go crazy otherwise! ￼
If you’ve gotten this far in my uncharacteristically￼ super-lengthy post, you deserve a special treat.
Here’s what I’d like to share with you… about the photo I chose for this post.
Yesterday, I passed a park that was so beautiful, I had to stop. I’ve seen it as we passed it driving, but it’s in a kind of not-great area, so I never stopped.
Yesterday, I parked, got out, snapped this photo and noticed a bridge with some weeping willows on the other side. I’d never noticed that scene before!
But I didn’t go. I wanted to… but…
What stopped me was… several men (each alone) just hanging around. One was sitting on a picnic table. Another was in his car with the lights on and the engine running. Another sat in his car, just looking ahead, in the parking lot.
Being a woman -and an older, slower-running one, at that – it seemed prudent not to go walking through acres of a park alone. ￼￼￼
When I got home, I told my husband about how beautiful the park was but the men that were hanging around scared me.
He said, “I’m glad you didn’t walk around because that park is notorious for drug deals and prostitution.”
In our town? In Canada?
I had NO idea.
Bad area, indeed! Yikes!￼￼￼￼ It pays to listen to your inner guide, doesn’t it?￼
Also, how can such beauty exist in the midst of danger?
Seems to fit in the message of this post, so I’m sharing. Life. Ups and downs. Surprises.
Don’t you think?