On Death, Dying, and Saying Goodbye

I had a conversation with my sister today that has made me think about death and dying, and saying goodbye.  She told me she listens to this song below and it never fails to remind her of our grandmother.  So, I’d like to share this video with you, as it has really touched me to my core.  The song is Supermarket Flowers, by Ed Sheeran.

Remembering my Grandma and Grandma Helen

My best friend back in Boston is basically a younger sister to me.  Her family treated me as one of them, and they were the hardest thing for me to leave behind in Boston.  Her grandmother died last week.  She was 98.  When I heard that she was expected to only live for about a week, it brought me back to the last week of my grandmother’s life.  Both of them, I think, made up their minds when they were ready to go.  For my grandmother, it was that she had a DNR, and didn’t want to be kept alive on a feeding tube after her major heart attack and stroke.

For Sarita’s grandmother, she refused to take antibiotics again.  Sarita told me that lately she had gone from being sick, taking antibiotics and getting better, to needing them again, and it was just a cycle over and over.  Sarita thinks she had had enough and was ready to go be with her grandpa.  I am very grateful that when Grandma Helen died, it was peaceful and in her sleep.  That was best for her and her family.  Sarita had lived with her for the past six years.  I envy her for that time she was able to spend with her, even if at times, she did drive her crazy.  The people we love have a tendency to do that, don’t they?  I think I used to surprise Grandma Helen when I would go to hug her before I would leave, but it just felt natural to do it.  So,  I did.

I know my grandma was ready at the end.  I also firmly believe I was not the only presence in the room with her during those last 24 hours.  My sister was also there for a good portion of the time, and had my (now 17) nephew with her.   My grandma slept a lot for those last few days, but I do remember this moment when my sister put Sean onto my grandmother’s lap.  He was just shy of his first birthday at the time.

Sean reached out and touched my grandma’s hand, and she reacted back to him. It’s hard to put into words how I felt, seeing that.  It was like something other worldly took place in that exchange.  She had been asleep before that.  But I remember the look of peace on both of their faces.  My nephew, of course, doesn’t remember it, but I do.  And I always will.  I know how proud my grandma was of him.  He was her first great-grandchild.  I’m so sad that she was never able to meet Jack and Katie, but something tells me that she knows of them now.   I know her heart would burst with pride if she could see how all of them are turning out.

There were moments during those last twenty-four hours when I know she was looking over my head at someone or something.  Her eyes were quite focused, and she tried to speak.  I knew then and now that she wasn’t talking to me.  And that was okay with me then and it is now.   I know at the very end, her eyes were focused on me.  I know she heard me when I told her that if she needed to go, she should just go.  I knew she would be at peace.  And I know she understood me, that I was saying she should go be with my grandpa and her family, especially her sister Helen who had died so many years before.  (There’s that name again.  Helen.)

My Dad

My dad is in the Boston area now.   He’s 81.  He’s never taken good care of his body, so he has some liver issues, Parkinson’s, skin cancer issues in the past, and dementia or Alzheimer’s.

I was primarily raised by my mom since I was eight.  My parents split.  I’m not angry at either of them.  It’s just I don’t really feel much toward my dad.  He’s not a bad person.  We just have never had much of a relationship.  I don’t blame him.  I don’t blame me.  It is what it is.

My older brother  Eric has been his primary caretaker for the past few years.  He handles his finances and everything. It also takes a toll on my sister-in-law, Judi.  Eric emailed all of us with an update on our dad, and it involves him being moved to a long-term care facility.  He said he’s lost a lot of weight, and that it has been decided to put him on comfort care.  Without him even having to say it, I know what this means.  It’s probably not long, although my dad being as stubborn as a mule, he might just surprise us all and live for a lot longer.  (Even when my parents were together, doctors were saying if he continued living, eating and smoking as he did, he wouldn’t live another ten years.  Well, I’m 45 now, so you do the math.  They were clearly wrong.)  My brother said he could understand if we didn’t come, but that if we wanted to, this might be a good time.

It’s weird but I don’t feel much when hearing all of this.  I’m not sad, or regretful or angry.  It just is what it is.  Unlike my siblings, I have never really yearned for a relationship with my dad.  I’ve never felt like I missed anything, other than when I hear my friends like Sarita talk about their dads.

My dad is not a bad person.  He wasn’t perfect then or now, but no one is.   I just know that if I will  head back to Boston at some point, it will be when he’s gone.  And I will go because of my siblings.  I know they will need the support.

Maybe a part of me is dead inside, but it’s how I feel.  I didn’t say goodbye to my dad, really, when I left Boston 2 1/2 years ago.  I figured with his mental acuity diminishing at that time, he might not even realize I was gone.  Possibly I tell myself this because it makes me feel less guilty for not having acted like a better daughter in that way.  But it’s also in the past and there’s nothing I can do to change that.

Do I fear I will regret not going home now to say goodbye?  I don’t think so.  Maybe I will get his number at the new facility and give him a call.  If I do, I know it will be awkward and strained.  Somewhat forced, like in a way, I am talking to a stranger, because even though we are related by blood, we don’t really know each other well, and never really have, when it comes down to it. Again, I’m not assigning blame.  Just saying it like it is.

Lily and Stinky

It is hard to explain the pit that I feel in my heart when an animal dies, either in a documentary, or in a story I’ve just read (such as the short story, “Meat,” by C.S. Malerich, in Among Animals, a compilation of short stories published by Ashland Creek Press.)  It brings tears to my eyes.  I have a tightness in my throat. It compels me to ask “WHY??”

This week, I was mentally drained on two occasions.  Stinky was a rottweiler whose owners couldn’t afford to really care for him the way he needed to be cared for.  He was four years old and completely blind, from what, we didn’t really know.  But he was euthanized.  Before his owners made that decision, he and I bonked heads/faces together and I bled a little.  That’s not what bothered me, not by a long shot.  What bothered me is that his owners didn’t stay with him for the procedure, and that because of his accident with me, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold him and  tell him what a good boy he was while the doctors gave him the life-ending injections. So, my boss volunteered to be with him. I was and am so grateful to her for that.

Lily was a gorgeous 11 year old border collie mix.  After having gone through a lot of testing, it was found that she had a large mass on her liver.  I’m not sure what the care for that would entailed, but her owner decided to have her euthanized.  He was very shaken up and couldn’t be with her at the end.  So, I told him I would, and I’m super grateful to my co-workers who allowed me the time away from the desk to do so.  I held her head in my right hand and with my left kept stroking her incredibly soft long fur and kissed her head on the head a lot and told her what a good girl she was.  I told her she might see a little white chihuahua soon and that her name was Osito, and that she could play with her and all of my other babies up at the Rainbow Bridge.  As with my grandmother, I saw the  light go out of her eyes at the end.

I know Lily had an idea what was happening when I took her back to the treatment area without her dad and removed her collar and leash for him.  Whereas before she seemed to be smiling with all the attention she was getting from the nurses as they shaved some fur in order to place the catheter, she seemed much more subdued.  She didn’t struggle when I held her and she seemed to just accept it.  I was very glad it was quick and peaceful.  And I was very glad that the doctor let me hold her in my arms.  Because no animal should ever have to die alone, without someone telling them that they are loved.  Ever.

Many people say they don’t know that they could do something like that.  I think you find out what you are capable of when the situation calls for it.  All I know is, I do it because I HAVE to.  It’s not part of my job description.  I just can’t stomach the idea of them dying without being loved at the same time.

I know this post has been much longer than most of mine are, so I thank you for sticking with me all the way to the end.  I needed to put this out there.  If you think it can help someone else, please do share it.  If you have any thoughts on any of this, please feel free to comment below.

Many thanks.

 

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All I want (Read: Inner Conflict)

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It hit me tonight.  I want two diametrically opposed things out of life.  I want to live a very simple life, just me and my animals in our one-room house, with a small garden and a body of water located not too far away.  Oh, and warm weather all year round.

But I also want to go out of this world having left it in a better place than it was when I first entered it, way back in the ’70s.  Specifically, where animals are concerned, I want to make it better.

I took the dogs for a walk yesterday in the Bosque and asked the two of them that very question.  I said, “Guys, how can I make the world a better place for you, and for all the animals?  Just tell me how.”

If Snuggles or Morgan knew the answer to my question, they weren’t going to provide it.  They were too busy enjoying themselves.  Smelling all the smells on the path, leaving some smells of their own, getting tangled up in their leashes.  You know, the usual.  (Lazy Bums, the one time I ask them for something in return for all the food I feed them….geesh!) (j/k)

While a part of me hungers for stability where finances are concerned, I’ve been thinking of what it would like to be able to support myself through a combination of transcribing, proofreading or copy editing, and writing.  Would I then able to help animals more?  Or does it make more sense to try to get a job working with a sanctuary or other animal-related organization somewhere?  (Note, I’m looking a few years ahead into the future.)

When I get thinking like this, I get frustrated.  I can’t come up with an answer that feels right.  I feel adrift.  It ramps up my anxiety.  I need to be able to focus on just one thing at a time.  I need to feel control.  Or rather, in control.

That’s when I usually sit there and try to figure out my financial situation, depressing as it may be.  I try to start with the positives:  my retirement fund and itty-bitty savings:

Retirement:  $209,230
+  Regular Savings: $2141
Grand total:  $211,371

And then, of course, there are the liabilities.  (Luckily, my savings as noted above is larger than the liabilities.)  I just received my student loan refund check today and I decided to wipe out my credit card debt with it.  Six percent interest vs. 18 percent interest, that’s why I made that move.  And the credit cards are in the freezer.

I plan to pay off my overdraft on my checking account and then call them and have them deactivate it.  The credit line is only for $500 but it’s $500 I don’t want to have hanging over my head, at 11%.  No more revolving line of credit for me after the overdraft is taken care of.

I think that the second student loan refund from yesterday is what is stressing me out at the moment.  The idea that I am taking on even more debt.  I know, I know, many of you commented on this last summer when I considered going for the degree in humane education.  And believe me, I was aware of the numbers.  And I am now as well.  I wonder to myself, should I continue on past this semester?  I finally feel like I’ve met some members of my tribe, but at what financial cost?

My friend Dan says that instead of concentrating on changing the world, I should concentrate on changing my neighborhood.  That’s his way of being like my grandma when she used to counsel and calm me — trying to get me to not think of everything all at one time.

I think what he is saying is I need to remember the ripple effect.  When you make one small change, that has an effect on other things, and they in turn, have an effect on other things, and before long, the total effect is huge.

I need to work on one thing at a time.  Work through my day one hour at a time, much like I did when I was recovering from my divorce.

But what I really need to do is figure out what is my gift to this world.

If you’re wondering what I mean by “my gift,” you might want to watch this video below, by Sustainable Human.  He starts talking about your gift, or life energy around the halfway point.

 

Simply put, I NEED to figure out why I’m here on this earth.  And how to give it back.  Until then, I don’t think I will always feel comfortable in my own skin.

What do you think is your gift to this world?  Please share your comments in the thoughts below.   And if you’ve liked anything about this post, please share it with someone else.

As always, thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Embarrassed to be a human sometimes

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image from pixabay.com

The above image is what most of us would like to think is how most cows live.  Unfortunately, it’s not.

I spent most of my afternoon watching different videos for my Animal Protection class, and one of them was the 2005 film, Earthlings, which you can watch for free by clicking here.  (I must warn you, the film has graphic images.  The first link goes to the Wikipedia description.)  If you watch it, I can guarantee you will be changed as a person.  I cannot believe what some humans are capable of doing to another living creature.  I really can’t.

Now, I know that telling people all the things that they are doing wrong will just result in their tuning you out. So I’m not going to do that.  But I will say that it caused me to rethink the cavalier way that I sometimes react when I really want a cookie and it might have been made with eggs.  “Oh, it’s vegan today!”  I sometimes say.  Crunch, crunch.

Well, no more.  The images from that movie are seared into my brain.

Chickens crammed into cages so tightly they can’t even move or stretch out their wings.  Dairy cows unable to move from their milking area all day long, pumped full with antibiotics and pesticides so that they will produce more milk, having had their babies ripped away from them on the very first day of their lives.  The slaughter scenes are what really did me in, as I knew they would.  (I’d already known what happens in those buildings but seeing it again is something else.)

Another thing.  In the past, I thought I could be in a relationship with someone even if they ate meat.  I don’t think that I could do that, going forward.  If I were dating someone, and they sat down across from me at the table and started to eat a raw steak, I think it would be nearly impossible to not imagine a cow being slaughtered and the immense pain it suffers from how it’s treated.  I would hear its cries as my partner munched away.  And I really don’t think I can do that again.

I choose to no longer be a speciest. 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, speciesm is defined as the following:

Definition of speciesism

1prejudice or discrimination based on speciesespecially discrimination against animals
2the assumption of human superiority on which speciesism is based
When I was eating meat and using dairy, I was being a speciest without even knowing it.  I was raised to think that eating meat (even veal) was just something everyone did.  Animals were put on this earth to make our lives easier.
I’m not condemning others who eat meat.  But I do think that more people should step out of their comfort zones, and open their eyes to the suffering that goes on every day with so many thousands of animals who are raised for purposes of our food, clothing, entertainment and scientific research.  I no longer accept the phrase “Yeah, I’m good.  I don’t want to know,” as being a valid excuse.  In this day and age, we have so much information at our fingertips.

It may sound like I might be going to too much of an extreme in saying I can’t be with someone who eats meat.  However, I realized today, watching that movie and holding Snuggles closely to me, my animals are all I need.  I don’t need a romantic relationship in my life to make me feel complete.  A few very good friends, located near or far, are enough for me.
A line in the film really stuck with me.
Humans are the one species on this earth that inflict pain just to inflict pain.  No other species does that.
Animals may inflict pain on one another but it’s for survival reasons.   The predator kills and eats his/her prey.
Humans have so many other choices for food and clothes.  We don’t need to kill an animal just so we can have the newest “cute” handbag or “sexy” boots or softest fur coat.  We have so many other options.  The only vitamin a vegan needs to take in order to supplement their diet is B12.  The rest can come from foods that don’t include dairy or meat.
I will add links to some of the other videos I watched to my animal rights page of this blog in the near future.
If you’d like to leave a comment below, please do so.  If someone else’s comment goes against what you believe in or think, please respond in an above-board way.  A healthy exchange of ideas is best.
As always, thank you for reading.

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Keep paddling, keep paddling, keep paddling, don’t stop.

Ever feel like you’re treading water or like you’re one of those ducks you see swimming on the pond?  You know, looking all graceful and put together, but underneath the surface, there’s a whole lot of stuff going on?

School and Freelance Work:

That about sums things up for me these past few days.  Been getting up at 5 or 5:30, drink coffee, eat a bagel or something else for breakfast and then get started on whatever project needs to be done that day, or on which I think I can make the most headway.  Busy reading not one but two books for my classes at the same time.

Doing some transcribing for my friend Elaine.  Readying myself to work with another company on a weekly basis so I will still have freelance work when Elaine shuts down her company in the upcoming months. (In case you’re wondering from my last post – I decided to only apply to one outside transcribing company, not the three that I was considering.  I was just getting way too stressed thinking about getting all of that work done and finishing my school assignments.  Oh yes, and sleep – sleep is important!!)

Self-Care:

Trying to work out about 3-4 times per week.  I reward myself with 10 minutes on the hydro massage beds that Planet Fitness has for Black Card members afterwards.

Writing:

Writing about who I am as a writer for one of my classes, and trying to not freeze while I’m doing it.   I feel a bit like a fraud.  I just throw words down on the paper, thinking I can go back and edit it afterwards, or if something else comes to me, I can add it then.  There is shortage of ideas or topics I would like to explore with my writing, but who am I as a writer?? That halts the flow of ideas and thoughts.

I don’t know why I feel this way about my writing sometimes.  Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I can define myself in just one or two terms.

“I’ve been finding it easier to write in the essay about what I want to be as a writer rather than what I am now.”

I want to be a fiction writer.  I want to write a memoir — everybody keeps telling me I should write a book about my life since my path has been so unusual.  But who would want to read about my life??

Reviewing Books:

I am so flattered to have been contacted by Ashland Creek Press, located in Ashland, Oregon.  They’ve asked me if I would like to receive some review copies of their books.  Wow!  This is how they describe themselves on their “About Us” page:

Changing the world one book at a time

Ashland Creek Press is a vegan-owned boutique publisher dedicated to publishing books with a world view. We’re passionate about the environment, animal protection, ecology, and wildlife, and our goal is to publish books that combine these themes with compelling stories.

So let’s see — do they seem like a perfect company for me with which to stay in contact??!!  Hell yes!!!

Vegan-owned? Check!
Publishes books with a world view? Check!
Passionate about animals, environment, wildlife and ecology? Check!

So I’ve asked them to send copies of two books to me and I will let you know as soon as I’m done with them, my thoughts.  I would have asked them for more but didn’t want to seem piggish. 🙂

Take a look at their page if you share any of these same interests with me! (And no, they are not compensating me to mention them.)  I’m so excited to see that there are publishers out there who are focused on such markets and topics!

Keeping it all together:

You could say I’m busy, but if you know me, you know that’s the way I am and like to be.  I like to be productive.  I believe my friend Dan would call my hyper-focused at times, or the Energizer Bunny.  I find that using a paper planner and setting a few goals for myself each day helps me keep organized and on track.

“I’ve also been reminding myself to breathe.  I’m a human.  I can’t do it all.  Just focus on what I can get done every day.”

As I’ve said in a recent post, if I want to make changes to my life, I have to do the work.  You can’t just sit around and complain or wish for your life to change, magically, without any effort.

Have you ever felt like there is a bit of pandemonium in your life?   How have you kept things under control? 

As always, thank you for reading!! Please share if this post has helped you or if you know someone that could benefit from it.

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If you need to shop online, I’d greatly appreciate it if you use my Amazon affiliate links or Ebates referral link! Every little bit helps, and it costs you nothing to do so. Thank you!

 

Light at the end of the tunnel

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Guess what?  I’m going to Florida!!!! After my post the other day in which I mentioned the APHE (Association of Professional Humane Educators) conference in Orlando, a good friend of mine who shall remain anonymous offered to buy my plane ticket with airline miles he couldn’t use and that were set to expire soon.  So I’m going!!

I choose to take this offer as a sign of good karma and accepted his help.  It’s hard for me to accept help, but I know this conference can help me help others — the furry ones who can’t talk in the same language we all use.  I had already asked off for the time at work, just in case I could figure out a way to afford all of it.  So I’m going!! (And yes, I know that is like the third time I’ve said that so far, LOL.)

I am hoping to meet a lot of people at the conference and also check out some of the sanctuaries and shelters, of which there are many.  I have some friends in Sarasota I am going to reach out to and see if we can finally meet in person after having been online friends for over 7 years.  (Seriously, it’s amazing the friends you can meet via blogging or twitter, etc.)  And if time permits, maybe check out some locations where I might consider moving to if things work out.

Transcribing:

I have been busy doing some transcribing for my friend Elaine, and finished up testing with one company called Transcribe for Everyone, based out of Israel.  They seem pretty well-organized, even send out a newsletter to their contractors on a weekly basis. I now need to go through their online training and then I can start getting some paid work.  I will be part of their legal team.

I might have mentioned I paid for a course on freelance writing with Kristin Wong.  Well, she asked me to do some transcribing for her last week, which I gladly accepted.  Also, I’m in the assessment process with two other companies, so will be working on that this weekend, along with some schoolwork.  So hopefully soon, my money situation will really improve.

By the way, transcribing is about more than just being able to type fast.  You have to have the right tools, and you need to be able to concentrate very well, and follow guidelines for consistency and to please the client.  You have to be willing to look up terms you’ve never heard before.  Finally, it’s a great way to learn about new topics to which you might not otherwise be introduced.

Engaging in self-care

After my last post, a lot of folks mentioned self-care to me, both here on the blog and on facebook.  So I made sure to go to the gym the past two days, where I have been riding the exercise bike, doing about 12-13 miles on high resistance.  Takes me about 45-46 minutes and I am a sweaty mess afterward, but it feels good.  I am also reading The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, which just came out (I pre-ordered it.)  She is one of my favorite bloggers and podcasters, and now authors!!

Pushing myself, but why?

A friend of mine who wanted me to come over and hang out last night (which I couldn’t because I was exhausted) commented that I want to have a minimalistic life but I seem to hustle a lot.  At first, I thought he was criticizing me.  My response was that “Well, I’m not happy with my life, and I don’t want to be one of those people who moans and groans about it, but doesn’t change any habits, and expects things to change.”

I realize I am fortunate enough to be able to make changes to my life when I feel the need.  Yes, a lot of people do complain about their lives.  A lot of them have families to worry about.  I don’t.  But I feel like, if you’re unhappy, to the extent you can make changes,  you should.

“Nothing in your life is going to change just by wishing it to be so.”

And in case you’re wondering, no, I don’t like working all the time.  I mean, really, does anyone??   But I don’t see this as happening forever.  Transcribing work can be up and down, so when you get it, and have the time, you take it.   Developing my writing will be a lifelong pursuit. Educating myself about humane education issues will be too.

“Once you open your eyes to a lot of what is happening around you, be it with environmental issues, or animal welfare issues, it’s impossible to shut them again.”

I would like to thank everyone, especially my friend who generously donated his airline miles to me, for caring about me and writing me words of encouragement over the past few days.  Some of your notes and comments brought tears to my eyes when I read them.  Thoughts like those keep me going on the days when I really question myself, when the doubts creep in.  In fact, the title of this post came from a good friend who commented that it seemed like I was in a dark tunnel, but I would soon find my way out.  It’s kind of like when you are having a crappy run that you keep pushing yourself through, because you know a good one is soon to come.

And now, I’m getting ready to head to the gym for a bit this am.  As always, thank you for reading, and please share this post if you think someone can benefit from reading it.

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If you need to shop online, I’d greatly appreciate it if you use my Amazon affiliate links or Ebates referral link! Every little bit helps, and it costs you nothing to do so. Thank you!

 

Chasing your dreams, even simple ones, can be difficult sometimes

 

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Image via pixabay.com

I just found out the other day via LinkedIn that a former coworker of mine just left Harvard Law to take a new position at another university, and from the sound of her title, it sounds pretty high up there.  I’m sure the salary corresponds to it well.  This person is a very smart cookie and knows how to negotiate.  (It was only after she got hired there several years ago that myself and another coworker were then given substantial raises in salary (ahem, readjustments.))

Why do I even mention this?  Because it made me feel kind of crappy.  I mean, I was happy for her.  She has always been a very hard worker and an excellent librarian.  She manages working full time with twins and has since had another baby.  And now she has this big-time sounding job. And here I am, scrimping to get by on just under $25K per year, not counting in my freelance work.  It made me question myself.

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Image via pixabay.com

Experiencing Compassion Fatigue and Feeling Burnt Out:

I think I have begun experiencing what they refer to as compassion fatigue.  Receiving multiple calls, day after day, from people who have just adopted a pet but can’t afford to take care of them, can really get to you.  Getting a call in which someone says “my pet just got hit by a car, but I don’t get paid until next week,” is really rough.  I’d love to say to them, “I can help you pay for that,” but the reality is that on $12.50/hour, it’s just not possible.  I have my own bills to take care of.

I’m taking a class in Animal Protection this semester.  I’m going to have some hard emotions to work through.  I already know that.  When I read about factory farmed animals, I experience physiological changes.  I feel it in my heart and in my throat.  I want to yell, scream, or hit something. (Not my pets, of course.  They actually help calm me down.)

The film Earthlings is assigned for us at one point.  (That link goes to the Wikipedia description of the film.)  The teacher has made it clear in the syllabus that we have the option to not watch it.  I haven’t yet figured out if I will or not.  I don’t want to have nightmares as a result, but in learning to be a humane educator, a part of me feels it’s necessary to bear witness to what is going on in this world so I can better advocate and educate humans for those who can’t speak.

Did I also mention that I have been trying to find extra side work with a few transcribing companies?  I have, and going through the assessment process can be somewhat stressful.  But the good news is, this morning I found out from one that they would like to work with me.

Stressing about finding a job in my field or determining what that field is:

In addition to feeling a bit burn out, I’ve been starting to feel a bit down about finding a job that really makes me feel like I’m making a difference and having the funds to make a move sooner rather than later.  (I’d like it to be in the next year or two.)  I spent some time talking/texting with my friend Dan, and applied to be a member of the APHE (Association of Professional Humane Educators) so that I could start networking with others in the field.  My application is currently pending.

They (the APHE) are hosting a conference this March in Orlando, Florida so I’m considering going, but it would be a substantial financial investment for someone at my income level.  And while I like meeting people, and can be extroverted at times, I hate the idea of schmoozing.  I’m just not a schmoozer.  Makes me nauseous when I see others doing it, and my past experiences at conferences showed me that a lot of that goes on.  I hope this field is different, though. So I will let you know if I decide to go.

All of these reasons are why I haven’t posted in about a week.  I just didn’t feel I had anything positive to say, and you know what they say – if you don’t have anything good to say, best to say nothing at all.  It could be the cold weather we have here in ABQ, or the fact that it’s winter, or the fact that payday is still two days away, but I’ve been feeling a bit down.  I’m working through it the best I can.  And trying to get enough sleep.  But nothing is a miracle cure.

Change in my personal life:

Oh, and I broke up with the Canadian boyfriend a few weeks ago.  I’m sure that having that in the background of my mind doesn’t help.  We still talk occasionally.   I know it’s for the better but I think subconsciously, it brings back some feelings I experienced when I left my marriage.  That fear of being alone for the rest of your life and wondering if there’s something wrong with you.  However, truth is, I think I’m not in the right head space or life space to be in a relationship right now.  Not when I’m trying to figure out a lot of things.

I hope you are all doing well, despite the cold and heavy snowfall a lot of the country has been experiencing lately.  Please drop me a line and let me know how things are going for you, or if you’ve felt down at times, and what you’ve done to pull yourself out of it.  Or share this post with someone you think would appreciate or benefit from it.  And as always, thanks for reading.

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Just being brutally honest

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Image from pixabay.com

Since taking a good hard look at my finances the other day, and seeing that my money is so tight, I’ve highly felt the need to earn some extra income.   And cut my expenses even more, if that’s even possible.

I won’t lie to  you. I felt moments of sheer panic.  Moments when I could feel my breath becoming shallow.  And wondering if I would ever be able to move someplace near the water and even afford $600/month again for rent, or even a tiny house mortgage?

I also felt anger at myself for not being able to afford a simple one bedroom apartment on my own.  Me, the one with the law degree and the master’s in library science now working on yet another degree.  How is it I’m only making $24,000??? What is WRONG with me and why did I throw so much away?? WHAT WAS I THINKING?

So, I’m here to tell  you that while yes, it’s important to follow or “chase” your dreams,  it is not always easy.  My life and apartment look nothing like those Instagram photos that people like to share where they always wake up near a gorgeous sunrise and everything is all hunky-dory.

I’m still using those plastic drawers for my clothes I had in my RV.  I have book crates that I use as book cases and as the base for my bed which has a mattress on it from Walmart that I bought for a whopping $129 and because it could be easily shipped to my house, and unrolled from the box and voila, a bed is born!  Oh, have I mentioned my bed is in the living room which is now mainly my bedroom? (By the way, the mattress works just fine.  No need for me to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars.)

I’m 45. This is definitely NOT how I thought I would be living my life 20 years ago.  Not even 10 years ago, or even when my marriage ended.  But then again, back then, I was anything but honest with myself.

So, back to those moments of panic I was feeling.  They were combined with feelings of anxiousness at wanting to do so many things at one time to get myself into a better financial position.  Should I apply to all the transcription companies I can find? Should I apply to be a transcription editor?  (So far I’ve heard back from the three I applied to, and they’re interested in going further through the process of me.)   Should I spend the $199 for the freelance writing course I just heard about from one of my favorite YouTubers, Kristin Wong, as an investment in my future goals of wanting to create income through my writing?  (Here is her YouTube channel.)

And if I do get multiple positions for transcribing, and I start writing and submitting to places, and I’m still going through the humane education program, HOW CAN I POSSIBLY DO IT ALL? Will I have time to sleep?

And what if I’m just kidding myself?  What if I never get published anywhere, and my writing actually sucks?  Oh, sure, I can talk a good game sometimes about how I want to derive more of my income from writing and transcription jobs, when push comes to shove, and I sit down and try to write for anything other than this blog, I get scared and all that negative self-talk finds its way to occupy center stage in my mind?  I know some REALLY GOOD writers who struggle to make ends meet.  How could I dare to think I might have any better luck than them?

Do you see the spiraling that was occurring in my mind? I do, looking at it now.  And I started to feel it then, and caught myself staring off into space, trying to figure it all out.  The good thing is, I recognized it for what it was.  Panic.  And I forced myself to breathe.  And then I pulled out my journal.

To calm myself, I forced myself to write down three questions, all having the word FOCUS being written in all caps.

  1.  FOCUS – What  am I good at?
  2.  FOCUS – What do I like to do?
  3.  FOCUS – What am I unhappy about with my life right now?

Yes, that third question can quite possibly grow out of control if I let it.  But I felt like the first two were more positive and might help me figure out my way of dealing with what gets listed under the third.  Below is what I came up with at that time.

What am I good at? 

Writing, proofreading, transcribing, research

What do I like to do? 

Write, color, be outside in nature, exercise, spend time with my animals, read/edit other people’s work, research, read, teach others

I noticed that the word write/writing was in both categories, as was the word “research.”  It shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering it’s what I loved about being an English major in college – writing.  It is what got me through law school – writing for and getting published by the Environmental Law Journal, and all that research that went along with it.  It’s what kept me in my job as a librarian for so many years – my love of research.  The hunt and the thrill of finding something you thought might just be impossible to uncover.  (And it’s what I miss now.)

And that’s when I thought to myself, “You’ve always been a hard worker.  When push comes to shove, you get out there and work your ass off, just like your mom.  You CAN and WILL change your life, your location.  It might not happen overnight.  But you WILL find a way.”

So, I’m trying.  I’m trying to get that extra work.  I did sign up for the writing course because I’d like to learn from someone who has been successful in the world of freelance writing.  I am going through the assessment process for a few transcription companies and I’m going to apply for a proofreading (independent contractor) position this week.  And when school starts, I will do my best to keep it all together.  And I WILL make enough money to live on like a normal person! 🙂

Eventually, I WILL live near the coast in a warmer climate than Boston!

So when you start to feel overwhelmed, like I did, just take a moment and stop yourself. Start writing down things that are going through your mind. FOCUS.  And see the commonalities.  And then, instead of just moaning and groaning about how you don’t like your present situation, take one step.  Just start doing SOMETHING to change your situation.  YOU will have taken control.  Not your anxiety or your fears.  YOU.

I hope this post can help someone else as it’s been cathartic for me to write it. Please hit the like button, or subscribe to my blog, comment below or share it with someone it might help.  And, thank you, as always, for reading!

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