When I was a young lass, like five years ago, I thought that by “my age” there’d be more. More job stability and satisfaction for my husband. More job stability and professional respect for me. More autonomy. More money! My younger self believed that someone my age would be fully-formed at this point. Someone my age wouldn’t have to worry about funding college for her children, paying bills and making ends meet at the end of summer. People my age were OLD, and OLD people had money in the bank, their mortgages nearly satisfied and nothing left to do but plan exotic vacations.
Now I am my age. But of course I’m not OLD–delusional perhaps in this way, but definitely not old. We don’t lead extravagant lives. Our home is modest–not our starter home, but no palace. We drive mid-range cars, avoid designer labels, and our kids attend public schools. The only, only things I pay big for are eyeglasses and concert tickets, and I don’t get to go to that many concerts. So what happened?
Employment in public servitude used to mean a modest but stable career. One worked hard, but understood that for this hard work one was rewarded with family-sustaining benefits. Salary was decent, not great, but fair, and I saved enough during the school year not to have to seek summer employment. But having your take-home diminished several thousands of dollars a year–I’m talking more than one or two grand here–gnashes its teeth and bites you hard. Since my youth (that ancient history of five whole years past) I’ve been painted a villain, a parasite feeding off my fellow taxpayers. What??? Public employees like me were made enemies of the state–thugs, they called us. Suddenly we became the worst kind of neighbors by politicians seeking a base of power. My home state is “open for business,” but apparently not open for dialog, decency or open for our children’s future. People believed the politicians. Everyone believed the sound bite of the day, and we lost. We lost big. And we lost a lot. Turns out there actually was more back in the good old days. Waxing nostalgic isn’t for the weak, friends. And lamenting history, yearning for the good old days will get you nothing. So we march ahead. There’s nowhere else to go, is there?
From my friend Tracy, I received a book of lessons titled Never Iron While You Are Naked by Trevor Perry, a motivational speaker who has been influential in Tracy’s family’s lives. She thought I might enjoy it given the state of affairs at Chez Wendy. Perry’s book is a compilation of pieces of advice he terms “I-Drops.” I-Drops are to soothe and keep one’s I-Sight (one’s view of the world and his place therein) buoyant. I-Drops call the reader to reflect, take stock, relish the good in a mindful way and do better with the bad stuff. That’s like the world’s lamest, weakest book review right there, but Naked is not Shakespeare–it’s a self-help reminder to honor decency, moments and mindfulness.
I’ve learned a great many lessons in 2015 thus far. Some lessons were LIFE lessons, all caps; others, more mundane light bulb moments about my place in the world, and some specific to me alone. In the spirit of going back to school and the forward-looking search for beacons of hope, I recap some of the truths 2015 unearthed for me. I’m a pretend writer, no renown motivational speaker as clever as Trevor Perry, so Wendy’s iteration of I-Drops are tainted, sour fruit–just me entertaining myself again with a few truths interspersed. I leave it up to you, dear reader, to determine which feels like which. And now, it’s back to school I go!
The second row is NOT the front row.
It IS possible for me to be completely shut up in awe.
I’m ashamed to admit my iPhone is more a distraction than I’d ever have thought. I might be one of those people.
You can visit a zoo for several hours yet manage not to view one single animal. Polar bears can’t eat penguins because they inhabit the Arctic, penguins the Antarctic. ‘Cause I’m smart like that.
I should have heeded Cosmo’s “even if you have acne, you should use facial moisturizer in your 20s” advice in my 20s. I still have acne. And wrinkles.
Our family should never take another rustic vacation. We love not camping.
Muscular dystrophy sucks. Sucks is a woefully inadequate verb, but there aren’t enough profanities to clarify it further. I know from profanities, so just trust me.
Friends, family, colleagues, neighbors and strangers provide a world of love and concern I hate having to need.
It can be more than nerve-wracking to watch your child do something so elementary as pitch as baseball. Or walk.
People you’ve not seen in thirty years can bestow the most heartfelt gifts.
There is nothing like getting something personal in the mail. Like cookies. Or postcards. Or personalized travel magazines.
Social media likes, stats and favorites matter more than they should.
It was terrifying to reveal to others that I blog, and I wish more than anything I hadn’t a reason to feel I needed to get it out, write it out, work it out. Who cares about me and my tale? You. What a gift.
Having three important somethings to look forward to at the end of a school year rocks. Having nothing to look forward to at the beginning of a school year does not. Being promised “another dance” does little to ease or minimize the malaise.
I want gravy on satisfaction.