Sunday, August 14, 2016

Life Change!

Hello, Bloggie!  How ya been?  So sorry I've neglected you.

I had a very good meeting at the local Social Security office the other day.  Right after Jim died, I was told that when I turn 60 I'll be able to collect his Social Security benefits.  This was confirmed in that meeting.  What I'll be getting is substantially more than what I'm making working at Home Depot.  It just doesn't make sense for me to keep working.

Hallelujah!  I'm going to quit my job!

Not only that, this will be the first time in many years that I won't have to worry about money.  I can let my IRA sit there and grow, like it's supposed to, instead of dipping into it again and again just to survive.  I will have enough to live on, and some extra for home improvements and fun stuff.

What will that be like?  Already I'm feeling quite happy, although I don't feel like it's real enough to trust it.  I'm Charlie Brown, the widow's benefit is the football, and Lucy is right there ready to snatch it away (Lucy being the force of evil in the universe).

So!  What am I going to do?  Fun shit!  Take classes, visit people, work on my house, NOT worry about missing family events because I might not be able to get the time off.  If I can manage to save some money I can finally get a different car.  Maybe.

I'm pretty sure I'll just be happier in general.

Thanks, Jim!

Monday, February 08, 2016

That girl.

This is an old draft from two years ago that never got published.  I don't know why.

Living alone and being unemployed messes with my head sometimes. Every day is pretty much like any other. Even the weekends don't offer much variety. I can putter around my broken house and fix a few things that don't cost much money, but the kind work it really needs is something I can't afford. Sometimes it feels like I'll never be able to afford it. But doing these cosmetic fixes does make me feel better.
I just turned fifty-seven. Every year I chide myself for not having it more together by now. That vision I have of my possible self just hasn't materialized. I know there's no sense in whining about it. It's just one of those tedious personal struggles that most of us have in one form or another. Most of the time it obediently stays in the back of my mind with the rest my unfulfilled dreams. Every once in a while, though... Damn thing just can't behave.
You know, these days I think about that girl a lot- the girl I was. I think I was mostly oblivious to myself back then. A lot of what I was got squished out or suppressed by those who didn't value those qualities, or understand them (or ever wanted to). But I guess that's true of pretty much everyone.
These days I find I really need that girl. I need her boldness and her clueless courage. There's a photo of me from back then that speaks to me every time I look at it. It's like she's looking at me and saying, "This is what you used to be. Stop being so chickenshit and be me again. Everything you had is still here. Dig it up and use it."

I'm not cute.

Every once in a while one of my co-workers will giggle and say to me, "Donita, you're so cute!"  I think she's around twenty years old and she's quite the girlie girl.  Usually I'll get this comment after I've done something smart (in her eyes, anyway).  I've told her a few times that I'm not cute, just experienced.  She doesn't get it.

I recently read an article about some of the things that younger people will say to a woman over fifty. Often it's something like, "You're so cute!" or "I love older people.  They're so adorable."  At my sister's fiftieth birthday a very drunk 20-something girl said to me, "I love you!  You're sooo oooolllld!"  She said it more than once.  Jesus Christ.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately because it's been happening a lot and it's kind of a new thing for me.  Apparently I've reached the age where young, pretty girls think it's clever to give me this belittling, back-handed compliment.  The next one to do it may end up missing a handful of hair.

Listen up, girlie, and ponder this a while.  I'm almost sixty years old.  If you don't die in a texting accident, you will someday be where I am now.  One day you will do or say something in the presence of some future twenty-year-old, who will marvel at the cleverness and common sense you achieved from a lifetime of experience, and she will somehow be threatened by it.  She will giggle and say to you, "You're so cute!"

One thing I can say with certainty: when I was young I NEVER said anything like this to an older person.  I'm grateful for that.