Favourite Books

  • The Green Mile
  • Animal Farm
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Lord of the Rings
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

Friday, 16 June 2017

Living History

As I stated yesterday..I have a new job. It's not a whole lot different than what I did before..just a different setting. My previous job had me cleaning mainly empty rooms, this one has me cleaning rooms with occupants. Kind of out of my comfort zone, having to be somewhat sociable, after more than a decade of wandering along with my Ipod blaring music..and I do miss my music, because it does help me move a wee bit quicker.
  So, unlike the traveling public or working folks I dealt with back then, this time, I pretty much deal with folks that don't have a choice of where they are (no it is not a jail,LOL). I see them out of their element, some at what probably is not the best times of their lives, but for the most part, it has given me a new perspective on what will likely be my future, and it breaks my heart.
  Do you ever think of what life will be like if you are lucky enough to reach old age? Do you wonder if you will be one of the lucky ones, and have a grasp on all of your faculties? Will you have the ability to move about, granted with far more creaks and moans, but, still able to get out of bed, and enjoy the outdoors? Will you recognize others, who you have met throughout life? What about the simple pleasures, reading a good book, having a heartfelt laugh?
  Oh, don't get me wrong, I have often wondered what life has in store for me in my 80's , if I am so lucky. I consider my Grandmother, who had an amazing long life, and was bright as a star up until the end. My Dad, also lived a full life, and knew everyone right until his last moments. I have my fingers crossed, I am lucky enough to follow along this line of my DNA, because I have already been lucky enough to surpass my Mother's life span, and her Mothers..so there is a pretty good chance, I just might have a few more decades ahead of me.
 That said, there is a whole other possibility out there, a long life without the ability to go outside when I have the urge, or the most frightening, the loss of memory, or loss of limb use. Because the rest of the world doesn't see those affected in this manner, we don't really give it much thought, but there is a very high probability, this will indeed be the future for some of us.
  Those folks who suddenly find themselves in care, after lifetimes of independence, have not stopped being people! They are all someone's mother or father, or brother or sister. They have a very long past. They have struggled, they have rejoiced, they have feelings and memories, just some of them have lost different abilities, some, sadly perhaps, have lost their memories..how very sad would that be? That is what we have to lean on in times of despair, and sorrow, to lose that, would be the worst thing ever. That, I cannot fathom, although I know it happens. I wonder, though, what would be worse, to live day after day, confused, or to lay helpless, while one remembers life before?
  However, there is one thing that makes a difference no matter what..and that is company! I know, you may say, why bother if someone has forgotten their friends and family? Ahhhh..see..that is something I have found I feel a wee bit different about lately. I wonder because I have seen little tiny things, that make me think twice. I wonder if some of those who have dementia,..have moments of clarity..well..you know, I don't even wonder, I believe they do. I also believe that many simply give up, because they are lonely.
  I know..I always state how I prefer very little social interaction. But..keep in mind, I have family, and I have pets..oh and of course some pretty damn amazing friends! I have learned that being all alone, is awful, and I need contact with others I care about, to keep me sane. That is the big thing..others I care about!! People who matter in my world, people who have been along on the ride with me, who know who I am, and what I am like.
  So, my new experience has opened up a door to something I have never really seen before, and what the majority of the world never sees. I see Elders who have lived, for the most part, very long lives. I know for a fact, most are parents, which means they are likely Grandparents, and Great Grandparents, and yes, some Great Great Grandparents. Through the process of age, they have become incapable of caring for themselves, in a variety of ways, and are now living with a new family, one filled with others in the same stage of life. These folks are in fact, living history. Now, granted, not all of them can remember, and very few of them speak much, some not at all! But one cannot see them, without knowing..like you and I, they stepped in our same footprints, just ahead of us. They lived in far different times, much harder, without modern conveniences, many without hydro or hot water tanks, and flush toilets, and TV, and of course now, internet. They lived the past, I live the present, and my children and Grandchildren will live the future. Each and everyone of those old folks are Me and You!
  i don't work closely with them, and I have total respect for those who have the patience and love (yes, I see love in many caregivers), but, once one has experienced this side of life, it is impossible to not worry and wonder, what life holds for our future. I am frightened of living day after day, without friends and family. I don't want to imagine living 6 days with virtual strangers who have not been on this road with me , to have a visit on the 7th day, for a 1/2 hour..if I am lucky, and everyone doesn't have something more important to do.
  Please..do not think for a moment I am bashing anyone, because, I definitely do not walk in their shoes. I have just made my children promise, if I ever, with the passage of time, have to leave my own home, and live out the remainder of my days in some sort of assisted living place, they arrange something. If they can't visit me, they will hire someone nice..oops forgot to make that part of the deal..remember kids,..someone nice..to pop by and visit me on a steady basis. Someone from the outside world, a place that I take for granted, and likely each and every soul there, took for granted as well.
  I was taught growing up to respect my Elders, I know that they have lived longer than I have, and have experienced far more, they learned lessons long before me. They have the knowledge I am still seeking..and yes. some are probably not the nicest people in the world, but maybe they were at one time? Maybe age has simply been cruel to them? I know it hasn't been all that nice to me, and I am damn lucky, so far. I think, maybe respect isn't quite enough..I wish we could tap that resource, one of knowledge , and experience, and yes, of history. Every single one of those seniors has a story ..can you imagine reading a book filled with those stories? Definitely would be on the best seller list, and all over the world there are countless stories..imagine the lessons the future could learn!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Life Change

  Note the title..it says Life Change..not Change of Life..LOL..although I could indeed go into the second issue, with tons of experience.
  Yes..I have been in the process of dealing with a massive life change. Who would imagine at 60, suddenly one would take a 60 degree turn, and have to learn a sh*tload of new tricks? I admit, I have not become any quicker at learning new things since I was in elementary school, quite the opposite, I find I need to write everything down, and follow a check list. But..hey..I love checklists..because one can watch the end getting closer, and feel a sense of accomplishment as those little check marks grow in number.
  So..I won't go into detail on my new position, except to say, once again, it requires a mop and water! WTF?? Back in the day, did I ever , for once , imagine my life would suddenly become a series of cleaning jobs? Geez..when I think back to my childhood bedroom, I can say with total confidence, my Mother would never have imagined me getting paid to clean!! We don't even have to go that far back in time..stop by the house..place is a constant disaster..perhaps because there is no pay cheque involved? Hey..I do try, however living in a place, constantly with others..and...4 flipping dogs, is a whole lot different than an 8 hour cleaning bash.
  So, my previous job taught me a whole lot. It was one of the hardest learning experiences in any work place I have had the "pleasure" of belonging to. That job actually burned me out, and badly! Somehow I took on responsibility that should have been left with my employers. That job became my whole damn life! I covered my own job and more than often, duties of many others. Now the burn out..well it didn't come as a shock, something like that hands out a whole whack of warnings. But, like most folks, I just assumed I was immune to things like this, because I knew the symptoms. Knowing those, and accepting them, are two different things..I didn't ignore them, I just figured I could manage. I couldn't!
  The burn out was not just physical, it was majorly mental..and I have stated more than once, I am a tad shakey when it comes to depression, burnout sent me right down the toilet! I tried to do everything in my power to halt this, I poured my soul out to my employer, explaining if I had to continue the way things were, I was not capable, but..that fell on deaf ears..I did say "NO", but wasn't heard. I was left with no recourse but to walk away..actually run very far away, because I knew if I didn't go far enough, somehow I would have been dragged back.
  The reason I write this, is because I am flabbergasted at how much this affected me. I am an old biddy!! In my lifetime I have done more than a few jobs that were not pleasant, but, I came away from them with experience, and picked up bits and pieces that have helped me through other jobs.This" Burn out", has in fact scared the crap right out of me!! It showed me that no matter what I assume I am capable of, there are limits, and if I surpass those limits, there is a huge price.
  Perhaps the price is so high, because I am older? Perhaps I was not aware that I can no longer do near as much as I did when I was 40? Well, thing is, if I pushed myself, I could indeed do it, however, if I did this continually, absolutely every part of my being would revolt. I imagine the fact that I was living alone with only a couple of dogs and an amazing friend that would constantly check on me, and a partner that would "listen" to the continual sob stories over the phone, was probably a good thing. I was no longer able to deal with people..I just didn't want to have to expend energy on anything , because I needed it all for my job. I hated everything, and everyone, including myself! Funny, I should have had the control to walk away much sooner, but life works in mysterious ways, and in my case, I kind of sort of, needed that income, and jobs in that locale were few and far between.
  So, clearly I made it out of that alive, but, surprise, the scars of that job will never go away. I told myself, I was past full-time, so casual was the way to go. How wonderful, maybe work a day here, a day there, some money in my pocket, and desperately needed social interaction. I went into this with the mindset not to repeat my mistakes. Hah! Clearly I have not learned quite how to say NO out loud, so people actually hear..including myself! I find myself falling right back into the habit of accepting way too much on my plate, and then hating myself. Not only do I hate myself, that which I call me, revolts, and I scare myself. I am so frightened of "Burn out" and see the symptoms once again, yet, I keep putting myself right in the middle of that road.
  I am getting old! I know it, I see it (vividly) and I feel it. I just have not quite learned to acknowledge it completely. I simply cannot do now, what I did 20 years ago..crap..even 10 years ago! My work ethics that were ingrained in me, to do my best, have got to get a touch up. I have new limits, and I am going to have to write up my very own check list, and when I put the required checks all the way to the bottom of the list, I have got to learn to put the list down, and step away.
  For the rest of my working life, that Burn out will forever haunt me. It is much like the time I got lost in the bush with my son, when he was very young. The experience is burned into my mind, and not every one has gotten lost, nor have they ever experience work place burn out, but, trust me...both affect one's life massively.
  If you ever get to a place that your job causes you continual depression, and I mean continual, when your job becomes what controls your whole life, and you absolutely dread each day. when you leave your work place, and can think of nothing but, how you are going to manage going in the next day. When you feel totally used up, and abused, be afraid. Because now when I feel worn out at the end of a day, and wonder if I have enough to complete another, even though it is very easy for me to say NO, at this new job (still learning my limits) I am scared sh*tless. Mostly I am scared that my previous job has damaged me so much, I am no longer capable of working like a normal person. The price I paid for that job, was life changing..I just hope I learned my lesson..only time will tell, I guess. So..wish me luck..everyone likes Casual..LOL