Absence Note

AbsenceNote

I haven’t been blogging for the past month, even though I enjoy writing more than I ever realized. My career, when I was employed, was working with computers and financial statements. Numbers are cut and dry and programming and designing databases, require a logical forward thinking approach.  I had a successful career and this vocation seemed to suit the way my mind worked, or so I thought.

Now after being out of work and on disability 4 years ago to the day, I realize that even if I were to return to work, what I did for 28 years is not what I would choose to do now.  My nephew is starting law school in the fall and is so passionate and excited about being a lawyer.  I was never excited or passionate about being a financial analyst.  It was just the logical thing to do after I received my MBA in finance.  I didn’t even interview for any other types of jobs and now I wonder why.  Why was I so focused on the analytic career path?  And once I landed a job, the career seemed to form itself and then an opportunity opened up for me to start designing databases and I started doing that and enjoyed it.

I was very content in my career.  I had 3 jobs over a 28 year career and 1 of those jobs was only for 11 months, so basically I spent 27 years with 2 companies.  I must have been content otherwise I would have made different choices.  I felt challenged, loved my work family and was very nicely compensated.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t even think of doing something else.  Most people have to reinvent themselves when they are challenged to do so, just as I have been since I became ill.

Writing has been a very different kind of enjoyment.  Writing is personal, writing is subjective, writing is relaxing and writing is solitude.  So why haven’t I been writing lately.  I’m really not sure.  I know I’ve been in my own head much of the time over the past month, trying to figure out ways to learn new things, meet new people and start enjoying life as I have to live it.

There are many paths people can choose when faced with a difficult life situation and I know I have handled mine with grace and dignity.  No one can take that away from me.  Maybe now it’s time to try and add in a little fun too!

 

 

Forgiveness

forgiveness

This past weekend, was Yom Kippur, which is a solemn, reflective day to all Jewish people.  Everyone thinks back over the past year and reflects on things that have happened, people that have passed and the deeds they have done.

On this holiday, it is believed, everyone’s fate is sealed for the next year.  We atone for our sins today and tomorrow we start the new year with a clean slate.  It’s a new beginning, with new possibilities for us all.  In the spirit of the holiday, I have forgiven someone close to me who has hurt me tremendously, on several occasions.

I have been carrying around this hurt and annoyance and it was weighing me down.  I decided that forgivenss was the kindest gift I could give myself to lift my spirit and I also felt it was a gift to the person I was forgiving.  The person was very appreciative and apologized for the hurt and said that for me to forgive them, really shows that I am a special and understanding person.

It felt good to forgive someone, really forgive someone for something big.  We are always forgiving people for running 10 minutes late or for misunderstanding something we said or forgetting to wish us “Good Luck” on an important occasion.  These are little things, that in the scheme of life are unimportant.  But I felt like it was a cleansing to forgive on a greater scale.  Forgiveness brought me peace of mind.  So for now, I have let go of the deeply held negative feelings I had towards this person, but time will tell if positive ones will replace these newly released negative ones.

Forgiveness does not mean that I am forgetting what was done, nor does it mean I’m excusing the offenses.  It means that I am no longer holding on to this negativity and that I am free to move forward into the new year with a truly clean slate.

Writing 101: A Girl Grows In Brooklyn

Brooklyntree

I grew up on a typical street in  the 1960s in Brooklyn, NY.  I lived in the same 2 bedroom  house for my entire childhood until I left for college.  The small, but uncluttered house was home to my parents, my little sister and myself.  Once you walked up the 7 brick stairs, you immediately stepped into an eat in kitchen with yellow, orange and black plaid wall paper.  There were 4 vinyl brown swivel kitchen chairs, surrounding a round walnut table.  Underneath the table, was our toy apricot poodle, who waited patiently there so that she could get fed scraps of meals from my father, as he had a soft spot for this dog.

Next to our kitchen was the living room, with green shag carpet and a green plush velvet couch, covered in plastic.  There were 2 high back velvet flowered print chairs across from the couch and in between there was an oblong marble table.  The piano, which I played (but not very well), was on the far end of the living room, flanked by 2 candelabras.  Above the piano was a beautiful oil painting, done by my favorite uncle, who was a Canadian Artist.  The sheer white curtains, barely shielded the room from the intense sunlight, that would stream in and discolor the carpet and the couch.  The view was onto one of the most pleasant streets any child could hope to grow up on.

The pick and black tiled bathroom was an eyesore, with black and white square floor tiles and pink fixtures.  One bathroom, 4 people.  Imagine that!  We never locked any doors in the house. To this day, I still don’t see the point of it.  Knocking was key. The pink and black stall shower when it wasn’t being used, stored the laundry basket and portable clothes dryer, which was used during the winter, when the weather was just too cold to hang our wet laundry outside.

The 2 bedrooms were a little further down a rectangular hallway.  My room, was shared with my sister, who was quite a bit younger than me.  Our blue paneled walls, surrounded red shag carpeting. My side was the right.  Her’s the left.  The fake wood wall shelves that hung above our small desk were filled with little blue smurfs.  Hundreds of smurfs.  My parents bedroom had green painted walls and a light shag carpet.  The big room looked empty, as there wasn’t much furniture, until later years when they purchased a dark wood, used bedroom set from a neighbor that was moving.

Most of our time was spent in the kitchen.  Funny to think that we survived without cell phones or computers.  We actually talked to each other during dinner.  We had dinners together almost every night.

After dinner, we would sit on our porch and so would most of the neighbors with their children.  Many of these children, I’m pleased to say are still in my life, some more than others, but the contact with many has kept up over the years.  The block was an extended family, as I didn’t have many close blood relatives.  We would be playing hit the penny or stoop ball  or drawing hopscotch boards on the sidewalk, only to be washed away by the rain.

The house was filled with love and the block was filled with real lifelong friends.  That’s my most favorite memory.

Writing 101: A Character Study

characterwelcome

 

Shortly before this course started, I posted a blog about 4 incredible women that I have met in the years since I’ve been ill, but I don’t want to talk about them today.  Today I want to describe a man that has touched my heart and my life in ways that no one else has and probably never will.  He isn’t my boyfriend or my husband or my partner, but he is my truest friend that I could ever wish for.

I met this man close to 20 years ago when we both worked for the same company and we have both changed a lot since then.  I remember being intimidated by his stature at first, because he was an ex navy officier, who stood up straight, walked with a steady and deliberate gait (even in his cowboy boots) and had the biggest belt buckle I have ever seen.  His thinning hair was covered by a 10 gallon cowboy hat and his silver trimmed glasses highlighted his kind eyes. Beneath all of these clothes was a man who exuded positivity, warmth and love.

When he walks into a room, he commands respect, but not in a snobbish, pretentious way.  You just sense that this man has something important to say and that being around him will make you feel good.   He speaks in a calm and gentle tone and in all the years we’ve been friends, maybe he’s raised his voice once.  When he speaks to you, you believe in him and in what he has to say.

He is a protector of people and I have been protected by him in many ways, both on the job and in my personal life.  Since I’ve been ill, he has come to my rescue on so many occasions that it’s hard to recall them all, but he was the one that took me to my disability hearings so that I wouldn’t have to go through it alone.  When I had to stop working and go on disability, he bought me an ipad, so that I could keep myself occupied and during the first holiday season that I was sick, he came and picked me up and drove me around NYC so that I could see the holiday decorations.   When I had to move because of my illness, he handled the movers and made sure my apartment was empty and clean.  He makes me feel safe whenever I am near him and he doesn’t even have to do anything but be himself.

But he doesn’t only protect his loved ones, he was the last man out on our floor when our office buildings were evacuated on 9/11.  He made sure everyone else got to safety before he left the building and then he made sure to secure our computer and data systems, so that our company would be protected from downtime and data loss.

His approach to life, when I first met him was very foreign  and strange to me, but as time went on, I began to start to see life as he did.  He was an example of the “law of positive attraction” and he taught me to ask the universe for things and to change my thought process.

Although I am still working on this, as it doesn’t seem to come easily to me, to him, it’s second nature and there is no other way. He never seems to worry about little things, such as checking the bus or train schedule.  He believes whenever he gets to the station, there will be a train waiting for him.  He never worries about finding parking spots because they always open up when he drives on a block.  He  never worries about how much things cost because he believes everything will even out in the end.  He is generous to a fault, to the people that matter to him and I am lucky enough to be included in that group.

This man is one of a kind, and I thank my lucky stars ever night that he walked into my life that day.  When he greets you, he encompasses your body with a big warm bear hug or when he calls you on the phone and says “Morning”  in his southern drawl, you know things will always be alright as long as you have him on your side and in your corner.

 

Toxic People

toxicpeople

I read an interesting article this morning describing how to deal with a toxic person in your life.  It’s sad to me that the word toxic can be used to describe a person.  In my mind, anything toxic is poisonous, very harmful and can also cause death.  So why is the word toxic used to describe someone in our inner circle.

Many of us have at least one friend who can be described this way. We are so careful to remove toxic food and chemicals, second hand smoke, decrease the time spent on cell phones, wear x ray vests when visiting the dentist; yet we openly invite someone into our home that is equally as destructive.

Toxic people are good at getting what they want from you and manipulating you to the point where you begin to feel it’s your fault. They know when they’ve pushed you too far and then do something sweet and caring and get back into your life. I am speaking from experience. There is one particular person in my life that I know can be bad for me, yet at times the friendship serves a purpose and is just what I need.

The tip I am going to focus on today is to OUTGROW the DYNAMIC of the relationship.  I have tried many times to lead by example and to not stoop to their level when they get insulting or hurtful, but it hasn’t worked and I have learned that being subtle also doesn’t work with this person.  So I have given up on trying to change them and have realized that I can only affect change in myself.  If I change, then the dynamics of the relationship will have to change as I am no longer the person I was when we began this relationship.  Maybe the person won’t like who I become and the relationship will end on it’s own or maybe the person will also begin to grow and change.

While I can’t cause the other person to change, just as I am making a conscious decision to change some of my actions and behavior, they can too.  We are changing all the time, hopeful for the better!!

Where have I been hiding??

hiding

 

I haven’t posted in a while, but have been lurking in the backgrounds reading post of the bloggers I follow, but I’ve been feeling very uninspired.  I also  haven’t been participating in any of my on line support groups and I have been wondering why I have shifted my focus away from these communities.  Instead, I have been reaching out to certain individuals from my past that I miss and that I really want to reconnect with.

For the past 5 years, I haven’t cared or thought much about these individuals.  They really, in my opinion, abandoned me when I became ill and when my illness became a problem for them.  So why now am I reaching out.  I’m not sure.  Is it because I am trying to reconstruct my old life (which I know I can’t do), is it because I need to let them know how they have hurt me in order to move forward or is it because I miss human interaction with people.  Not just any people, but people that I have fond memories of.

I’ve heard a million times that time heals all wounds and maybe the hurts I felt are diminishing and I am ready to see these people again and discuss how their actions have hurt me.  I am trying to arrange to see one person in particular within the next week or so and this will be a big meeting for me.  I wonder how I will act and if when I see this person, will all the hurt I’ve been carrying around with me  just dissipate or will I have the need to rehash why I felt hurt and slighted by him.  These are my truths that I’ve been carrying around, what will his truths be?

I hope I have the opportunity to find out!

 

Peaceful, Easy Feeling

serene

I, like many other people who suffer with chronic conditions, go through decent periods, tough periods and horrendous periods and I have just been through a tough one (won’t say horrendous, cause it always can be worse). My pain has been intense, my fatigue has been high and the weather is not warming up.   This winter is just not leaving and even though it’s spring on the calendar, the weather in the northeast USA is cold.  I have been holed up inside for months and while I did get a lot of rest, I really haven’t had much social interaction.  I spoke on the phone and texted and emailed people, but haven’t really seen many people in person for months.

Yet throughout all this isolation, I still find that I am at peace.  I am at peace with myself, even though everything around me is in disarray.  My future, my living situation, my job outlook and my health outlook are all up in the air.  Nothing is stable and probably won’t be for a long time, yet I AM STABLE.  I am even keeled, positive and at peace.

Even before I got sick, I was alright when I was by myself.  Some of my friends couldn’t stand the silence and the emptiness of being alone in their apartment.  One of my friends would never sleep in her bed if her boyfriend wasn’t home or if she was between boyfriends.  She would always be busy making places and double booking, just in case someone backed out because she dreaded being alone.  I always thought she didn’t like herself.  This was a friend I grew up with and so I knew her for a long time.  But 6 years ago I made another friend, who also hates being alone.  At 50, you’d think she’d be used to it but I guess some people never will get used to it or be comfortable being by themselves or with there own thoughts.

Someone who isn’t comfortable with  who they are, can’t be alone for long periods of time (at least that’s my observation).  I like myself and I like the person I am.  So while I may enjoy being around other people, I know I will be fine when I’m alone too.