This sounds a tiny bit silly to my own ears, but I have come to realize that the biggest problem with my no-longer-employed-fulltime life is that I'm lonely! I send my husband and son off in the morning and I have enough of a routine that I usually stay marching through things up until lunchtime, but from about 12:30 until my son's bus brings him back at 3:30, I really struggle with loneliness!
I'm pretty sure this is a self-induced injury. After all, I know there are tons of other people out there out of work, so it's not like there is no one I can call. Or for that matter, there are probably many at work who wouldn't mind my call. But somehow, I feel that I've lost the art of the casual, friendly call to chat. I am reminded of the scene in one of the last episodes of The West Wing where the character C.J. Craig opines that she has missed the window for buildng a relationship. I have that significant relationship, but I feel as though I've forgotten how to have or be a friend. There were so many years where fulfilling my obligations as employee, wife and mother consumed all my time that I got out of practice at just being a friend.
A friend of mine who called me the other day suggested that I take on some sort of volunteer activity while I'm unemployed. My first reaction was not enthusiastic. I believe strongly in volunteering and have done so in many capapacities over the years, but my first reaction was that volunteering never seems to actually be free. There always seem to be meetings where you are expected to buy your breakfast or lunch, or things where you need to drive all over town burning your gas, or something like that. And right now we are watching pennies that closely.
But upon further reflection, I think Ann (the friend on the phone) may have been onto something. I saw the other day that our church is sending a group of workers to an inner city soup kitchen to work the lunch shift every Friday for Lent. I'm thinking I may try to go join that effort. I figure it would have the double benefit of getting me out interacting with humans AND reminding me that I'm really not that bad off. And obviously, the work would be worthwhile. I also figure if a group is carpooling down there, the financial cost to me to participate really would be darned close to zero!
I haven't posted in a while, I know. I think it is safe to say that for a while there I put too much pressure on myself to write something really, really good and worthwhile, and thus ended up blocked from writing at all. I still hope to raise the bar and make this less a personal journal and more a collection of essays and reflections worthy of publishing. But in the interim, I think writing is healthier than not writing.
My 84-year old mother had a cataract removed earlier this week. The surgery was blissfully uneventful and she is recovering nicely, but surgery day did start with some drama. She was due at the surgery center at 7:00, so I went and stayed the night with her and my sister. We got up that morning and walked out the door at 6:30. I wanted to grab a pencil out of my car for use on crossword puzzles in the waiting room. As I sat in my car sifting through the collection of writing instruments, I thought I heard my sister yell. But I sort of doubted my own ears. After all, it was 6:30 a.m. What's to yell about?
I got out of the car and immediately saw the answer. She was kneeling by my mother on the ground. Mom had somehow fallen on the short was from the front porch to the carport where my sister's car was waiting. She hit her head pretty hard, and her glasses were forced into her right eye with enough force that it opened a gouge on her eyelid. Of course, the eye she landed on was the one she was scheduled to have surgery on. We got her into the car and drove to the surgery center, all three silently fearing that they would cancel the surgery.
As we got out of the car we realized she had scraped up her hands pretty badly in the fall, too. We signed her in and explained the situation. The nurses there were very kind, and immediately took us to an examining room where one of them cleaned up her scraped hands and put gauze bandages on them. She expressed doubt about whether the doctor would want to go on with the surgery, too. But as soon as he arrived in the building they sent him in, and after looking at her eyelid he said, "Sure, we can still do it. And if she gets a little black and blue around the eye, we can blame it on the fall instead of on me this time."
We were very relieved, and as I said, the surgery went like clockwork after that. She has been back to him for her first post-operative exam already, and she goes again next week. My sister tells me the bruises have bloomed into full technicolor glory, but there is obviously no real harm done.
I must say, it feels good to be writing again!