taking stock

i’m sure there is a rule of some sort about not writing a blog entry when one is in a dark mood, but i never read that rule, and i am feeling that i want this writing to be real, so i delve in, here in the depths of a dark mood. i watched “julie and julia” last night – a nice, cute little movie – but it got me thinking about what i am entering into. at the end of the year (if not sooner) i will be joining the ranks of the unemployed. and as semi-useless as i already feel, i fear i will feel more nearly completely useless come january and beyond. so i lay in bed last night, trying to sleep (with little success – i’m told that some people just go to sleep, others try to go to sleep, i am of the latter class) starting to take stock of who i am, where i am, prospects, etc. and so i set down here what i came up with so far. probably not a good idea.

i’m 51. married 26 years (i don’t think my wife reads this, so if i’m off by a year or two, i don’t think she’ll notice.), at least 40 pounds overweight. two kids, my son about to graduate the university of glasgow, my daughter, about to celebrate the tenth anniversary of her heart transplant, and thus about to enter essentially uncharted territory, who is a freshman at keene state. i have ms – probably secondary progressive. i had been using a left-foot gas pedal since my right foot was at best unpredictable, but got into a gas-pedal related car accident, and so have not been driving for a month while we figure out what to do (hand controls?). i have been working for the last two or so years as a customer service rep (working for the same company, in different capacities, 10 years this coming june), answering phones, taking orders, about as low on the corporate totem pole as one can get, but even that has started to become more than i can healthily handle. i spend all day at work in a wheelchair, and my time at home staggering around the house with a cane.

on the personal side, i am a photographer and writer of questionable skill (i often like what i produce, but i have not had a lot of success finding other people who felt that same way, at least not people who would pay me to continue those pursuits.) (not that i’ve tried very hard to find them) and now that my mobility is severely restricted, the photography will at best take a back seat, and might just, for all i know, fade away. i used to be out on the street (for examples, look at some of the older posts on http://lightcaptured.wordpress.com/). i am facing, to say the least, a crossroads, a major upheaval and reorganization in almost everything i do, everything about me. i am left wondering what the hell i’m going to do, what then hell i’m going to be, once i stop working. usually either, or both, of those thoughts simply exhausts me.

i have some ideas. i’m sure that, once i get myself sorted in january (after sleeping for a few weeks) that i can find something to do, using my writing “skills,” and my internet “skills.” i’m told that realtors and the like will hire people to do their grunt work – maintaining their web sites, blogs and twitters, creating peripheral materials, etc. i’m hoping i can figure out something to do with photography that will be both fulfilling and maybe make a few $$. i even thought, last night, of writing a “wheelchair gourmet” book, but then realized i’d have to rebuild my kitchen to make it wheelchair accessable. (my whole house is not wheelchair accessable.)

in short, i feel like i am heading for ground zero, the starting line. as little as i have, as little as i am able to, i feel like there will be even less. a least now i produce a little income and bring home very comprehensive insurance policy for my family. come january, i’ll have neither of those things. i am either going to have to find the strength the reinvent myself, or else just, as they used to say about delicate southern woman, “take to my bed,” just curl up in a ball.

at the moment, i am tired, so the curling up in a ball is appealing. but it’s the holiday season, and there are expectations placed  before me (like i’m supposed to make my “famous” ginger biscotti this afternoon) so there’s only so much curling up i feel i can do.

in her book “the invitation,” oriah mountain dreamer asked if one can disappoint others in order to be true to oneself. i have long wrestled with that thought.  it is a very challenging book in general, but that one idea has always stuck with me. can i do what feeds my soul if it means disappointing other? as i progress through this reinvention, i am sure that thought will come to me over and over. i’ll keep you posted.

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2 thoughts on “taking stock

  1. You are having the rug pulled out from under your feet.

    Who are you? A husband, a father, a photographer, a customer service rep…all these roles you play, but is that who you are?

    Buddhist dharma teaches there is no separately existing self..and…

    It is true that when a door closes another opens. Keep your head up and you’ll see that!

  2. Stephen – It’s scary when MS nibbles away at your ability to earn a living. Don’t let it nibble away at your self-image, too. Even if there are things you can no longer do, you’ll still be the same person. As your abilities change, you’ll find ways to do what you still can. It’s hard — no lie. I know it’s easier said than done, because I struggle with this very thing every f#*king day, as do many other people with MS. But you can do this!

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