Having one of those days... you know, the kind where you fixate on something from the past and then start ambling through your memories and wind up miles from where you started ? Does anyone else have those days ? You're laying around, minding your own business, when a stray thought triggers something... a spark sometimes, a landslide other times... and suddenly it's like you are falling through time, through your life, through your mind. The day started out innocently enough. Except maybe I didn't get quite enough sleep, lately I'm suddenly having a hard time falling asleep. Often I can't stay asleep, but lately it's been going to bed and tossing and turning, my mind going a hundred miles an hour. I lie there, thinking--Any minute it will stop and I can sleep. I know that if I get up, I'll have to contend with the dogs who are currently sleeping peacefully all waking up and getting their jig on, so it's safer to just stay where I am. Sleep finally comes, but this is something new.
Anyway. We've had a week or so of calamities of the sort of normal type (for us). Chicken massacres, health issues, broken sewer pipes, nasty summer colds, truck repairs. I was ruminating on how the problems today are so different from the problems of our past. Which led me to the impact age has on all the things we try to deal with, physically, mentally and financially. Thinking of times when we had so much less money than we do now, and how much easier it was to deal. Sometimes. At least in my mind now. Maybe it really wasn't. How different our life was before we came here. Thinking about those early years, when he was in college and I was at work and we managed to pay rent and eat well and and pay bills and still go to the movies once in a while anyway. About how many more bills we have now, between insurance and taxes and medical care and just, well--life. How much the world has changed in 25 years. The things we think we absolutely can NOT live without today (cell phones, computers, central air conditioning, 2 cars, etc). Thinking about how my dad bought a 4 bedroom 2 story Victorian house on an acre for 5 thousand dollars when I was 15. And how, 40 years later I bought a 3 bedroom doublewide on a half acre for 15 times that much, because it was out in the country. And this August 20th, it will be 32 years ago that I lost my dad. That means he's been gone half my life now. My biggest cheerleader in life, The guy who always told me I was beautiful and smart and could do anything I wanted to in this life. That guy, who worked in a steel factory to support his family of 8 and never complained about a bit of it, because he felt like the luckiest guy on earth. He had been in the second world war and come back home again. He lived in America, the greatest country in the world. He had 6 wonderful kids that he loved with everything he had. Yup. One lucky guy. Here he is in 1953, with his first child, a baby girl. Me.
I get a lot of my optimism from him. And my heart. And every year about this time, I mourn the way too soon loss of a man who just turned 60 (4 years younger than I am now) and wonder what he would think of this world of ours. Wonder what his life would have been like. Wonder the same about my mother, who died 5 years before he did, at 55. Rambling, ambling, walking through memories that never were.
This morning I learned that a friend of mine (my age) has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Another friend has it too, though I'm not sure of his age. Other friends being diagnosed right and left with cancers, with aneurysms, with assorted and sundry illnesses and ailments of a mysterious nature. My peers starting to die. This is the stuff that I don't think about any more than I have to, except when it's right in my face. One of the great things about being in a 12 step program is that they hammer into you how important it is to just live one day at a time, to focus on the present, to stay where your feet are. That kind of thinking goes a long way in helping you stay sober in the beginning, and then not freak out about your life and the world later on. When you're sober enough to be scared shitless about what's going on, because you're paying attention. Like now. Today there was a mess in Virginia. A rather young man drove his car into a crowd of people protesting a white supremacist rally. People are scaring me. The tsunami of hate that has rolled across this country scares me. White supremacists scare me. And someone like me cannot go around being scared through her life. It's hard to hold fast to a faith in a generous and compassionate supreme being when stuff like this is happening. And at a time when I need it the most.
I am blabbering I guess. What do you do ? If I listen to my own noise maybe I don't have to listen to the ugly noise in the world. If I get lost in my thoughts and my memories and my little world out here on Honeysuckle Hill, maybe when I wake up things will have righted themselves and it won't be so scary anymore.
But I'm not holding my breath...