Christmas is not the only holiday that is over commercialized. In America, where everything is for sale, all major and many minor hoidays are over commercialized. As though a holiday is reason enough to go shopping for cars or furniture or anything under the sun.
So you know what Memorial day is for? Look it up.
Some of us spend our lives working jobs that we hate to buy stuff that we don’t need to impress people we really don’t like or who don’t like us. This has become the American Dream to many young people.
I have been a professional driver for the past 10 years. I spend my days transporting people where they need to go. I have seen the world through a windshield without ever visiting the places I go. I have taken thousands of people to airports without ever going myself to fly somewhere.
Satisfaction in life is not based on how much stuff we have or whether we have the newest and latest version of something. “Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Covetousness in the Bible is the fear of not having enough. Is that what you worry about?
We don’t dream about what we love because we are so caught up with what we are obliged to do. Duty drowns out dreams.
When I ask, what would you do if money were not an issue, most people say, I would do what I am doing now. That’s missing the point.
I have dreamed big dreams in the past few years. I was afraid that it was the grief dreaming. But as my mind becomes clearer some of those audacious dreams are pretty desirable now.
I couldn’t figure out a way to tie all of this together into a story or an essay, so I just let the words come and put them down. I wish we could talk about some of these things in person.
What a day. I woke up this morning and it was 10:30 am. Good grief. I knew I was tired but I never sleep that late. Unless for my job I have been driving all night. This is turning into a do nothing day so far.
Is it okay to have a do nothing day? I think so. In our society we tend to work too much and too long and we don’t seem to know how to relax. We work as hard at pur playing as we do in our working. Our hobbies are as strenuous sometimes as our daily work load.
So that’s all for now. I am relaxing, doing a little around the house but nothing to write about. And I believe I deserve it after a long and hard week of work.
After a long work week I often wake up on Saturday morning thinking about doing things but feeling like doing nothing. This morning I did some laundry, ate breakfast, went grocery shopping, and now I’m sitting here writing. That may be all I do today.
I am not one of those people who cannot relax. I don’t need to be busy all of the time. I don’t think that is a character flaw on my part. I don’t think spending $10 to make a dime is smart or efficient.
So I have the window open and I am listening to the wind chimes making musing outside and I just finished some coffee and I’m feeling pretty good right now.
I looked back on Facebook to see what I had posted one year ago. I am grateful that I am feeling better and that I am better off than I was then.
One of the changes in my life recently has been feeling like I need to begin to change things in my home. Furniture, artwork, etc. I have not done anything up until now because of the irrational but nagging fear of doing anything that might show disrespect to my wife. I have learned in the grieving process that there are things that will be done only when you feel in your heart that it is time to do them.
Today I sold my dining room table. The lady who bought it was thrilled and her family loved it. I was glad because I didn’t love it anymore. It was Kathy’s table. She doesn’t live here anymore. So it was time for it to go. Little by little as I can afford it I intend to go through my house room by room and replace existing furniture and art with things that I have chosen and that I like. This will be harder than it sounds for me. But when it is over I will be glad to live in my house, not Kathy’s.
Does it seem that I am being self-centered? It is called self-care. Learning how to choose things for myself is something I have not had to do for 40 years. Eliminating things that keep alive a relationship that is over is bad for my mental health. Taking care of my heart and my mind is as important as taking care of my body. I have learned that self care is not selfish. It’s smart.
I have days, like today, where it seems that everyone who I try to communicate with isn’t available. They don’t answer their phone. They don’t reply to a text or IM. They don’t check their email. So much for being connected 24/7 via our smart phones.
It’s funny how left out days like this make you feel. Like if I were someone important you would communicate with me. I know that’s a silly way to think.
But honestly it is a relief when the phone lets me know that someone is responding to me. We are social creatures. We crave social interaction. This is why lonliness is epidemic in our always connected society. We are not connected at all.
Part of the new me is trying to figure out just who I am. This has to do with what I like and what I enjoy doing and what is important to me. I was married my entire adult life up to 4 years ago and therefore my whole adult life has been spent trying to please someone else. Unless you have been married you may not understand that. From what color to paint the walls to what kind of rug to put on the floor to what kind of food to eat. I would defer to Kathy on most things. Even where to live. Now I have to make those decisions on what I like and what I want and it is a challenge so far.
The other thing that surprised me was how different I have become since Kathy died. Grieving was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. And as I began to emerge I found myself interested in and drawn to things that I had never thought of or hadn’t thought about in a long time. At first I wasn’t sure if I was remembering things from before we were married or if these were new desires that have awakened in me. One of the lessons I learned in grieving is to think about things you used to do before you knew that person, which for me was my childhood years through high school.
I don’t have the answer to my own question yet. It seems like I have to feel my way around again like someone who hadn’t lived a long time and who hadn’t been married a long time. I am just now, four years past Kathy’s death, thinking about changing the furniture and the wall color and a few other things where I live. I need a new bed, since I am still sleeping in the bed where Kathy died. It has to go. I need furniture that I like, not that she liked. I will just say that I could not have thought like this before now. But now I am anxious to get started.
This is why I titled my blog with the disclaimer, “And Beyond”. I don’t want grief to define who I am now. I am a new man in many ways. There are days when I don’t recognize myself. But I am liking who I am becoming.
A friend of mine told me he likes to do some work around the house when he gets home before he eats supper. I have done that too. So tonight I went out and started on a job that I didn’t get to last Saturday. Just cutting out some unwanted trees.
The problem is that I just now finished eating my dinner at 9pm. It is nice that it stays light out longer now. But it makes for a short night before I need to get to bed.
But I did get started on the bigish job so at least that is a plus.
It was April 28, 1974, that two very young people were married in Prescott Arizona. I was still only 18 years old. Kathy had turned 19 the previous November. We both came from broken homes. There was little chance that we would make it for the long haul.
Kathy and I were 3 months shy of our 40th anniversary when she died. We were talking about what to do on our 50th anniversary. We both were never married to anyone else.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to. Our plans don’t always work out as we hoped they would. But we never considered quitting, though we both had reasons to justify divorce at one point or another. But we made it through and I am grateful for the years and the memories. On this day I still remember. Not with grief or remorse or regret. But with joy.
I have been broke for so long that it feels strange to have more than enough to cover my bills and buy the things that I need. It was hard to go through but the hardship years taught me how little I really need to be happy and how to live within my means. It was hard to go through but it is pleasant to write about it now.
They say that there are far more widows than widowers in the world. I wonder where the widows are? Most of the single ladies I know are divorcees not widows. Or they have been married several times to different men. I am not looking for romance. But it does seem odd that the statistics say one thing and my experience says another.
I deal with mostly sick folks in my work. It makes me grateful that I am reasonably healthy. It makes me humble to see how very ill people still get on with life without complaining.
In my work I get to travel around northern Arizona. Too bad that the times I get to go somewhere that I have never been before are at night. Couldn’t people be courteous enough to get discharged from the hospital in the morning instead of in the evening?
As the topic of grieving drifts into the background it makes me wonder if I should change the name of my blog. I am more into the Beyond rather than the Grief in life now.
Have a nice day.