Some more hearts added to my Tumblr page today:
To see the full collection thus far, go here.
Confession time! Despite my declaration that I would be honest in this space, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t keenly aware of the possibility of an audience, and therefore self-edit as I write.
There are people I hope read it, as often I am trying to learn to talk to them in particular. There are some I hope don’t read it, for various reasons depending on the circumstance. There are billions I just don’t care one way or the other about.
Though having a billion views would be insane and cool, now that I think about it.
Anyway, it’s not that I’m intending to spew falsehoods here. But I definitely don’t intend to tell the whole truth every time. And there will always be way more that I don’t write about, because, you know, life. But if you find I reveal more to you specifically than I do online in a more public forum like this, then you’ll know you’re someone I trust with more of me than the norm. And as someone who writes creatively from time to time, the mere fact that I don’t write several drafts of each post prior to letting anyone read it is proof that this is all at least more raw and real than my other works!
So, moving on, lately I’ve been thinking about aging. Not in terms of getting old, but in terms of getting older. The hate directed at Carrie Fisher for whether or not she has “aged well”, for example. What does that even mean? How does someone age well?
I already know I can’t age gracefully, because grace is not a word that would ever be ascribed to ANYTHING I do. Graceful, I am not. There is no reason to think it could be a way I’d age. Or even walk.
But to age well? How does one do that? Does it mean fighting the effects of aging in an attempt to appear as though one has not aged at all? Because that would seem to be without grace or doing it well, as your attempts still won’t stop it from happening, nor will it stop the Earth from turning, so ultimately you will have failed. And failing does not mean you did something well. Quite the opposite, in fact.
So aging well must instead mean embracing the process and accepting the things you can’t change, while simultaneously understanding that every line, wrinkle and scar is there because you lived. You’re living. You’re alive. You grabbed life by the balls and participated in it. Created it. You got on the ride and held on for dear, well, life. You laughed, and cried, you loved, and lost, you smiled and frowned. You worked, you played, you created and destroyed. You were here, and you have a story to tell. Even as your story is still being written.
And when you look in the mirror, you see someone you know and love looking back at you, but it’s weird because that person is WAY older than you see them in your head. The you in your head is young and vibrant and in many ways still just a child, but with the ability to legally purchase alcohol. Maybe you even have children of your own, or pets, or a plant, yet there is the occasional quiet voice in the back of your head that’s, like, “Who’s brilliant idea was it to give ME a kid/dog/hibiscus?”
Maybe on the inside, none of us ever age. Maybe on the inside, we are forever young, and no matter how old our bodies are, we still want someone to take care of us when we’re sick, or fix things for us when we’ve been irresponsible, or just go out and play with us for awhile.
Carrie Fisher said her body hasn’t aged as well as she has, and those words ring very true to me. I spend my days in an unpredictable body that I barely recognize as my own, thanks in part to MS, and when I look in the mirror I’m usually startled to see what the outside world must see when they look at me, because it’s just the very surface of who I see in my head.
Maybe aging well means finding the balance between those two realities, and then finding a way to express that balance.
I’m thus interested to see how well a generation of selfie-takers age. Will they do better or worse than those of us who didn’t grow up taking photos of ourselves every day, keenly unaware of what we look like most of the time? I wonder.
In the meantime, though, it’s Sunday afternoon and the sun is currently shining. I’m gonna take Brody the doggie to go outside and play for awhile. After I wake him from his nap.
“This job you have, sure it pays the bills, but are you happy?”
“Does it matter?”
“It’s your LIFE.”
This exchange between siblings on the TV series This Life was short but powerful to me, because it kind of expressed what my brain has been trying to tell me for a long time now. Namely, what the hell am I doing?
I don’t need my job to make me happy. I have other things on the go that work towards doing that, and a day job is just one piece of my life. Albeit a fairly large piece, time and energy-wise.
While it is not the key to happiness, though, it IS important to feeling content. And for me that’s what’s been missing. For many years, I felt valued, and useful, and like I was contributing to something. In recent years, however, I’ve been feeling more like a body that’s only there to fill a spot in the schedule. I’ve been disheartened, and felt under-valued and vastly under-used. Like my talents are being wasted. Like I am being wasted. And that has led to feeling like I have nothing to offer at all.
I sometimes believe I feel trapped, but I think it’s more that I just feel inconsequential. Like my skills aren’t being utilized because maybe I just don’t have any. Which is silly, of course, but since when did feelings ever make logical sense? It definitely has not helped my depression nor my alcoholic tendencies at all, that’s for sure!
When someone asks, “What do you do?” I find it increasingly difficult not to respond with something like, “Mostly I just flail in frustration, sometimes cry, and often refrain from flipping my desk and storming out in a rage.”
Is that any way to go through the majority of your days?
And again, I don’t need to be happy at my job. I just need it to feel like less of a waste.
I realize whining about it won’t help (but I reserve the right to do so, anyway), and that any real changes need to come from me. So my dilemma now is this: I have no idea which changes to make, or where to even start.
Do I put in a more concerted effort to force change there? Do I look elsewhere for something that won’t leave me feeling like a waste of space every day? If so, what would I even look FOR. I know I intend to volunteer with animals in the spring. Should I wait and see if that helps elevate my general mood and sense of purpose? Do I try to save up money to take a class of some sort?
What do I even WANT to do? It’s gotten a tad late to decide what I want to be when I grow up, yet I’m finding it difficult (if not impossible) to decide what I want to be tomorrow. Or next month. Or next year. It’s like I can’t even see an employment future for myself. All I see are endless days of putting my head down and trying to feel less worse than I did the day before.
My day job is not who I am. But it’s a big piece of my life. And since it’s a big piece that I don’t even like, I need to start finding a way to change that. Change how it makes me feel.
Now to figure out where and how to start.
Does anyone else find themselves thinking in status updates and truncated-length tweets?
Maybe that’s part of my problem, actually. Maybe for too long I’ve been existing in incomplete thoughts and careful editing of said thoughts so as to not reveal too much to a general public audience. Even the status updates I think of don’t actually get posted most of the time. They remain unexpressed inside my head, along with much of my thoughts, understanding and experience of life. I’m not sure one can actually experience much if we never really express anything, can we? Maybe we can, but how much can one exist inside a vacuum? How much of reality is internal versus external? If a tree falls in the forest…
Anyway. Maybe I can train my brain to think in blog post-length thoughts, instead. It’s a step, at least. And maybe that’s all any of us needs to do. Take life one step, one moment, one thought at a time.
I’m resisting the urge to plan things to write about each day. I feel like, if I decide today what I want to write about tomorrow, I’ll be ignoring whatever will actually be on my mind tomorrow, and that doesn’t seem fair to me. I’m also concerned about running out of topics, but I’m not sure that’s a realistic worry to have. I think it’s more about me preparing excuses for why I won’t stick to my once-a-day post goal.
But today is not that day.
Brody wants to go out, but I am determined to finish this before we do, so bear with me. It’s about to get distracted and much shorter than planned. Maybe I’ll write more later, or another time.
I’ve been thinking a lot in recent years about my job. I’ve been with the same company for over 15 years. It’s defined nearly my entire adult working life. My roles have changed over the years, I’ve worked in several different departments, and so far have never really been bored.
Lately, however, I’ve been questioning whether or not I can find basic contentment there. I’ve survived a couple of mass layoff seasons (so far – we’ll see how the next few weeks go), and can’t remember the last time I got a raise or cost of living adjustment. I’m struggling financially month to month far more now than I maybe ever have, and yet I still go in to work every day. I still lose unused sick days at the end of each year, and I still have a ton of vacation days banked.
I don’t hate it. But I’m far from content.
As much as I hate the chaos and disorganization, I find I am now torn between wanting to fix it, and wanting to leave it behind and move on to other things.
The problem is, I have zero idea which things I would be suited to move on TO.
And that is at the heart of my issue, I think. I don’t know who I am or what I want, and I’ve spent over 15 years defining myself at a place in which I don’t really feel like I fit.
Okay, more later. I’m taking this puppy for a long walk.
I had a whole different idea for today’s post, but it was feeling too forced, so I decided to put it off for another time, and just babble about whatever’s currently on my mind, instead.
Words are hard to find. For me, anyway. Especially when trying to talk. I’ve always preferred to plan out what I’m going to say before I say it, but in recent years it’s gotten so that I end up not saying much of anything at all. There is a whole world going on inside my head – a whole life – but the external reality is that my life and the world around me is just slipping quietly by without me. Without me really being a part of it.
That was one of the reasons I wanted to give this blogging thing a try, actually. Recent years have seen me sharing very little in writing, and even less via spoken word. I have struggled to form connections with people around me, and instead have taken to connecting more with animals, since they require less of me, yet give me so much more.
Selfish, I guess, but while I have no intention of spending less time in the company of animals, I’m realizing that the lack of connection with other human beings is hurting me, and have decided to try and break the habits I have formed along the way that led me to this place inside my head.
It won’t happen overnight, of course, and sitting on my couch in pj’s writing a blog post on my iPad is a far cry from sitting across from a living, breathing person and trying to find the words that will unlock the door and release me from existing inside my own head, but it’s a start. It doesn’t even matter if any of this gets read, really. I mean, who am I? I can’t guarantee that I will ever have anything useful or worthwhile to offer you. But I can guarantee that I will always be as honest as I can with you. And with me. I know that my inner voice isn’t always telling me the truth, and I will be the first to admit that I’m not good at differentiating between truth and lies EVER, but especially not when they come from inside of me.
I will, however, always endeavour to speak my truth, whatever it may be. So maybe that’s all I have to offer for now. But it’s more than I was offering yesterday, and with any luck, there will be even more tomorrow. So that’s something, at least.
And hey, maybe if I choose to talk to you, you’ll understand that there’s something great about you that makes me WANT to.
Then, maybe someday, you’ll choose to talk to me, too.
Actually, this isn’t really a beginning at all. More a gathering, and a continuation. So already I’m off to a terrible start. Or non-start.
I’m Sue, and this is an Inventory Of Everything me-ish. I’ve gotten to a point where I feel like so many different facets of me are spread across the internet that I can’t keep any of them current for long. So I decided to create this one huge catch-all blog for all of my stuff-ses, so that even when I post in one specific place, anyone will still be able to come here and find it all compiled together.
We are more than the sum of our parts, I think.
And as this is a whole new year, I’ve decided to try something new and write something, create something, say something – every single day. For a year. And after that we’ll see. But it’s important to do things – to get out of my head – and just because all of the things I do aren’t easily classified into one of the categories I’ve created over the years, I find I’ve been neglecting them.
So now this can be one big category into which I can add anything and everything. So long as I continue to add. It’ll be random, and chaotic, and boring, and fun, and informative, and whiny, and triumphant and a host of other things. It’ll be anything it is. Anything I am.
An Inventory Of Everything.