Thursday, January 21, 2010

An Onion and a Few Potatoes

First, let me report that "payback" has been received and it only took one day! After helping Sam out of a financial jam by depositing some funds into his account, my good deed was rewarded by some unexpected financial gain! I am applying for health insurance benefits and had to locate certain records. While going through my file that stores our birth certificates, social security cards and the like, I came across some old savings bonds totaling $150.00. So that means if getting through the end of the month is a challenge, I do have a way of seeing it through! Whether or not all future favors are paid back in such a way is not the issue here because in the end, I want to be in reciprocal relationship with others. But it is an interesting development and food for thought about the whole Universal Law of Attraction theory and all.

Yesterday was spent focused on the insurance matter. Today I have to buckle down and put together a new resume suited for job hunting as a CNA. Having not been out in the job force for a number of years, I am a bit intimidated. Things have really changed since I last looked for a "real" job over 10 years ago! And I have to also admit that my ego took a tremendous bruising and battering with the divorce. There is a part of me that sees myself as a "bad" and incompetent person, which of course is totally false but I was emotionally wounded and have doubts about my worth. Attaining a job and working at it well will do loads for making me feel more balanced and adjusted.

So, today is a start in that direction. I find myself struggling less and less with thoughts of how this is not supposed to be. That we shouldn't be living in this apartment, that I shouldn't be seeking work as a CNA (I'm a master's level clinican for goodness sakes), that I shouldn't be on my own instead of married... Somehow, I am embracing the here and now of my reality with less horror and shame.

In that vein, I read a little entry from a book last night that really resonated with me. It is from a book published in 2004 titled "Younger by the Day," by Victoria Moran. It is presented in journal fashion with an entry for each day focused on ways to live, think and act younger. This is the entry for January 18:

"The Best-Laid Plans"

"One reason midlife disappointment is all too common a syndrome is that we sometimes reach the point of having our plans play out, and we don't like what we see. Someone may have liberally (to her thinking) given her children lifestyle choices A, B, and C, only to find as adults they've chosen D, "none of the above." Someone else may have done everything right: worked hard on her job and in her marriage, saved regularly for blissful retirement, and then found herself widowed, or caring for a partner with a debilitating disease.

Such things happen because life on earth is not a sure thing. We can do our best, hedge our bets, put unassailable actions behind well-conceived plans, and still find ourselves the exception to the rule. What do you do in a case like this? First, feel what it feels like - probably rotten. Sit with the feelings. Write about them. Talk about them. But don't reach for them when they start to subside. They're meant to go, and you're meant to go forward.

Going forward means acquiring the kind of flexibility that can make something lovely out of Plan B. It's seeing the big picture that you're a soul on a path, rather than the little picture of you as a woman alone, or one whose retirement savings half vanished at the whim of the stock market. It's making beauty out of the available ingredients, the way you can make a nourishing soup out of last night's leftovers plus an onion and a few potatoes.

And it's the stalwart commitment to continue making plans and doing the work to fulfill them. If you make them, they MIGHT not turn out. If you don't, they WILL not. Give yourself the best odds for the best life. Work with what you've got - that onion and those potatoes - and concoct something warm and comforting and delicious."

I read this last night and it gave me such peace and calm. I don't believe this author truly recognizes how derailing tragedy can be. My personal grief from my husband's death, my divorce and everything inbetween has taken more than a just "talk it out or write it down" strategy. Let's throw in loads of grief therapy and personal emotional work. In other words, it's not that simple or striaightforward. But I do appreciate this author's overall tone and message. Right now I AM starting over but I do have a CNA certificate to get my foot in the door. And hopefully that will be my onion and potatoes - the start to a better, future opportunity more in line with my education and experience. But no one says that leftover stew can't be pretty darn tasty, rewarding and filling in the meantime!

Today I am grateful:

1. That the freezing rain did not come last night.
2. That I have built up a nice and substantial book collection.
3. For our computer and internet access.
4. For being able to have a strong cup of tea every morning.
5. For having nice items I can donate to Goodwill.


  1. Something that I've come to believe very recently is that there is no such thing as fair or unfair in reality ... it's just random. Just because we work hard and we treat people well doesn't guarantee jack. Everything is random. All we can do is keep moving forward and never ever give up. That sounds negative, but for me, it was a lightbulb moment ... and I found it easy to let go of stuff that was bothering me at that point.

    And it's one of the reasons why I LOVE your "Today I am grateful for ..." points on your blog - what a great attitude.

  2. Boo - It's good to hear your perspective on this. I still struggle when comparing my situation against other people's who haven't had to go through any or much hardship. I am also strangely finding that even in the face of having to deal with all this crap, I still want to be as decent a person I can be. I make an effort to be grateful, especially for little things but some days it is a challenge to come up with them easily. And sometimes I cheat and ask one of the boys for ideas!

  3. found your blog thru a link I've now forgotten & have been intrigued by your struggles & successes. I've nothing directly in common w/you as I'm happily married for nearly 40 yrs w/no financial worries.

    but your experiences bring back lots of memories & have given me some new insights. when my dad died, my mom was 42 & we 3 children in our early to mid teens. as you said about yourself in one of your entries, we were also not a good family to go thru this. my mom had no work experience, had relied on my father to take care of her (didn't even drive or want to learn) & had no ability to cope on her own. our family literally fell apart & my mother spent most of the rest of her life trying to find someone else to take charge of things, pushing off responsibilites on whoever would take them (mainly me, the eldest). I've come to understand her a little bit more & see life thru her eyes somewhat as I've grown older--how scary & "not-what-she-bargained-for" life must have been.

  4. Anonymous - Thank you for reading and commenting. I am glad you have experienced a stable and happy life after enduring the struggles in your teen years. A big intent on my part in posting this blog is to provide insight and understanding about what this experience has been and is like. If it has provided you with some compassion toward your mom, then I feel some of my effort has been worthwhile in this direction. I appreciate hearing your story and knowing of your reflections.

  5. Sounds like the Law of Attraction is alive and kicking! Keep sending out those positive thoughts!

  6. Kelly - I've started to cut out pictures for my visualization board which you have done. We'll see how that works too.