Everyday is a Gift
January of 2010, I was still working for a non-profit and had tendered my resignation. I had been asked to not share the news with anyone and to work through the end of April. I agreed.
I quit the job for many reasons.
1. I had to fundraise my own salary and it was low for the 40 to 60 hour week I worked.
2. It was just hard to make doctor appointments with my mom, brother and myself.
3. I was tired of the demands of people. The services were offered at a nominal fee for the counties and as a result people did not respect the service.
4. I was tired of the demands of people. The school programs were in demand and I just could not make all the schools and do all the programs.
5. One of the board members wanted to micromanage and it was going to be impossible to match their view of what was needed at schools and what schools wanted.
6. I could not take a sick day or day off.
7. One of the board members wanted me to pay a helper to do evening programs which created at least five or more hours work to prepare and repair afterwards. On top of everything, she wanted me to pay this person $250 out of the budget and I was making less than $100 a day.
8. One of the board members wanted me to hire a secretary with money that did not exist. I mean, I would have liked to have been paid too.
9. I had a serious health scare.
If I had not been stretched so thin, I could have easily negotiated with the board member. The lack of funding and demands of the schools was not easily solved. I enjoyed the job, the people and the board member who wanted to micromanage. It had a humdinger of a title even though it paid little. In addition, people were under the impression I knew a bunch of "bigshots".
What I did next is the biggest surprise. I thought that I would have a cushy retirement. Write a few science activity books. Possibly become a science education consultant. Little did I know that my biggest problem was not the job.
Well we went on a family vacation to Hawaii and learned my demanding brother was a control freak. I had a huge conflict with my family after coming home. My mother threatened to move with my two handicapped siblings. More surprisingly, I told them I wasn't running a prison. Move if they want to. I reached a total meltdown. They blamed it on menopause and menopause was rough.
It was just that my life slowed down enough for me to realize it was totally out of control. Originally I gave my family and myself two years. I would eventually move each of them to a more appropriate living situation and I would be able to enjoy a few years before I got too old.
By January of 2011, I started writing. It's funny. I am a good writer or so I thought. Progressively, I knew I needed to learn more if I wanted to be good. I would feel dumb but most people new to a field have a learning curve.
The dumb things I did
1. Assume that I would start out great.
2. Assume that my writing style would not need to be honed. Writing grammatically correct is much different than enjoyable writing.
3. Assume that money was the goal of my writing.
I am still a work in progress. I've leaped a huge hurdle in being able to take what I want to say and filter it to only write what people want to read. My next accomplishment is having confidence in my opinion. It is not knowing what I should think but giving myself the opportunity to act on how I feel.
1. Even though I am on a eat healthy diet and exercise plan; I don't give a rip about others think about my weight and hang ups I may have because of it. After all, I got my own teeth.
2. The knowledge that life isn't always what you want. I have always heard when everything is going wrong, then maybe there is another direction available. It's hard to see this when you have experienced events that have no redeeming quality.
3. I choose to take care of my mom and two handicapped siblings. I used to think if I sold this house, I would get them a house so my complaining siblings can do as they wish. I now know it would be what they do now which is nothing. These people still need help. They go with me wherever I go. I know that they could live in nursing homes. It is a contentment I feel as my sister takes care of her little dog and fusses over her.
So it is January 2015, I have my writing projects and goals.
My mother is in good shape but no longer can drive. She is a good driver but she gets too tired to handle it. We've got one day to ten more years together and I hope I can remember to appreciate these days.
My sister and I get along better. In my family, I am the family member all my siblings complain about. The only one who never has is my mentally handicapped brother. I went to college and they didn't.
I had a great father. He had a fault which was control. He never wanted anyone to make any decisions but him. I got out of the house and left. I did feel anger over this until I learned that the children of alcoholics are big controllers. My dad was the son of an alcoholic.
Things are better with my other three siblings.
I'll be 59 1/2 this year and will empty an annuity that I thought I would never use to buy a minivan and make my house handicap assessable for my mom.
I know why so many housewives say they do not know how they did what they did and worked for so long. Caregiving is demanding.
I've faced the fact that my life is also finite. I have been getting my things in order. I don't expect to be kicking the bucket anytime soon. I just know that everyday is a gift.
This blog post is the result of the following prompt form Writer's Circle of Mama Kat's Blog
If you could have given yourself a snapshot five years ago of what your life is like now, what would the picture be of and how do you think you would have felt about it?