Month: August 2017

To Care or Not To Care

Let me preface this blog by saying I have a fever and it might have fueled this rant. From my 20s to my 30s, I cared about everything.  I cared what people thought of me.  I cared about what I looked like.  I cared about my makeup and my clothes.  I cared about what kind of car I drove and how my house was decorated.  I cared about what books were on my bookshelf and what music I listened to.  I cared about the environment to the point of depression.  I cared about getting sick.  I cared about how the events of the day would effect me.  In all truthfulness, as I look back, it was all about me and how I felt.  Not really the definition of caring.
Then my 40s came, and I was tired of caring about most things.  No longer did I care what people thought of me.  I only cared about running away whether only in my mind or for a day.  I stayed the course and worked while I earned my degree, stayed responsible.  But I found inside I cared about very little.  I was profoundly sad all the time and probably drinking too much.  I didn’t care what happened because all I wanted was a different life and I became resigned to the fact that would not happen.  

I would wake up in the morning disappointed that I had woke up.  I was that empty inside.  Every day was a chore to get through and at the end of it my reward was NyQuil and dreams of the road. I stopped caring about all the things in my life and started down a minimalist path.  I lost the ability to find joy, although I have doubts that I ever really experienced true joy.

Clinical depression was talked about like it is today. I just thought I was going slowly insane.  
Then I turned 50.  Nothing changed for a while, but then everything changed.  I felt like I was drowning everyday. Then one day I wrote a note to my boss explaining why I had to resign. My reasoning wasn’t all that clear, but I knew I had to go.   She stood behind me as my crazy ideas unfolded. That is how the epic journey was born.  I got rid of almost all my belongings and felt nothing. I did not care except for a few things and many of those things have since found a new home with someone else.  As I hit the road, I still felt nothing. I tried but it was all too overwhelming. I was sure the Pacific Ocean was going to heal me. When I got there, nothing.  Nothing changed and I could not have cared less that I was there. That’s when I knew I was in trouble. 

Then I started meeting fellow wanderers and people on the fringe, for lack of a better word.  I started talking to other people and listening to their stories. I was moved by them.  I started to care again.

On this epic journey, I have met some amazing people. They have changed me as have the places I have been. I do care again but about different things. I don’t care what color your skin is or what religion you are. I don’t care where you have been only where you are now.  I don’t care how much money you make or don’t make. Car? Who cares? Home furnishings? Who cares?  I know there is a class structure in this country but I don’t care. The only thing that matters, that I care about, is how human you are. I use the same criteria for myself.  I have often said in this blog we, as a society, are losing our humanity.  We just don’t care anymore. 

Caring hurts, but so does being dead inside.  Caring takes time and time is harder to give than even money. Caring is about someone else, not just you.  All the turmoil and separation going on in this country scares me.  The person who does something caring is news because it doesn’t happen all the time. I want to relearn the meaning of caring and start living it for real.  I want others to start caring again. It is so much easier to live within the walls we construct for ourselves but it is empty. I’m tired again but this time I don’t want to give up. I want to care again. We will see how that goes…


Well, That Didn’t Go As Planned

My new philosophy in life is to be calmer and more mindful. Last weekend was a very busy weekend at work. I thought it would be a great time to test the waters of my new internal calmness. I realize it is easy to be calm and thoughtful when you are in a calm and thoughtful place, but really putting the concept to the test seemed like a great idea. That is why I picked last weekend to jump into the fire, so to speak.

I started the day by having everything ready for work; my uniform was ready, lunch was packed, etc.  I got to work a few minutes early which was good.  I collected my money bag, keys and other items I would need for the upcoming 12 hour day.  I got to my train car and proceeded to get it organized the way I like, made sure I had enough supplies for two runs and started my evening paperwork so it would be done in a timely fashion at the end of the day.  I was feeling good about myself.

I was told that I would have help boarding passengers and that I would have time to start getting beverages early which is essential when you are the one server on a car with up to 44 passengers.  Efficiency and order are the rules of the day.  When doing a double run, it is absolutely imperative!  I was relieved from boarding and I was able to give the morning announcements earlier than usual. My new plan was working perfectly.  I was just getting ready to start my first beverage service when a co-worker asked for help.  I jumped in and helped, when I got back to my car the train was moving.  That meant that i was suddenly already behind. The ideal situation is to have the first beverage service done before the train moves. I wondered how I got behind all ready.

So I rushed as fast as I could to catch up, and was starting to feel upset and frustrated. How could I have done all this planning and still be behind?  I continued doing my tasks at a pace as fast as I could. I figured I would be friendlier after I got caught up.  Then the power went out in my car, which has never happened before.  I had visitors in the car entertaining so I could not continue my tasks until they were done.  I finally was able to start bar service, much later than normal.  So I quickly ran to my server station made four cocktails and poured four glasses of wine.  I picked up the tray like I have done hundreds of times before, took a few steps past the first few tables, lost my balance and proceeded to spill all the drinks down the front of my uniform, the uniform I still had to wear for 11 more hours.

I was devastated as this has never happened before.  Next thing I know I am down on all fours trying to clean up the absolutely huge mess I made while realizing that now I was even more behind and was worried about my customers becoming upset.  By this time, I still have a few tears running down my cheeks, I have several alcohol and wines dripping from my sarturated vest, and now lunch is being served without many of the customers lunch bar requests. I stood for a moment contemplating my next move.  Do I simply throw in the towel realizing that no matter what I do nothing will ever go right? Or do I calm myself, talk to the customers and keep going?

My mind came up with a plan way before I realized what was happening.  I explained to my customers what happened, made a few self-deprecating jokes, aplologized profusely and started the day all over again.  I proceeded to still have things go wrong:coffee stations just stopped working, my normal schedule was thrown off because of the second run, and other small crises.  The day finally ended, most of my customers seemed to have a good day regardless of all the many things that went wrong.

After I got home, I was finally able to wash off all the stickiness from the mornings beverage spill.  My uniform was in the washing machine also getting cleaned and I realized something.  That morning I had expected everything to proceed smoothly because I had done a lot of preparation. But all the preparation in the world cannot take into account all the unknown variables that can happen on any given day.  My focus was completely incorrect. 

I should never have expected the day to be perfect.  What I needed to focus on, and eventually did, was how I would calmly and thoughtfully deal with all the mistakes, mishaps and unexpected events that happened. I realized the old me would have thrown a tantrum and gotten really angry. But I didn’t, I had a moment of that thinking, then gave into the situation. We all laughed a lot that day.  I felt like my customers and I were in this together and it seemed like we had all connected on some level.

Even though so many things went wrong that day, so many things were right.  My attitude was severely tested and for once I feel like I actually passed the test. Maybe I am starting to change on a deeper level.  I am well aware that I cannot go on living and stressing every little thing. I have tried to let go of things in the past with very little success. Maybe I am finally learning to let go and to let God.  I hope that is true. I’m so very tired of trying to control all the things in my life. It is absolutely impossible, so I have to let go in order to live a calmer and more thoughtful life. 

Wow, what a day and what an amazing lesson learned!

A Revolutionary Idea

I’m going to start a new movement. A movement that is so new and so exciting everyone will want to join in.  I am going to start a movement that simply states that everyone has a right to their own opinion.  Crazy, right?  Yes, I’m being a little sarcastic but I am fed up with the thought that we all have to agree on everything. If I do not particularly agree with someone’s stand today, I run the risk of offending them.  We are all so easily offended in 2017.

Back when I was a kid, it was harder to get offended as I remember.  Unless someone overtly called you a name or made fun of your clothes, you pretty much were not offended.  Yes, feelings got hurt but we got over it for the most part. And when was it decided and by whom that we all had to have the same opinions?  Isn’t that a form of brainwashing?  Isn’t one of the beauties of living in America that we have the right to think for ourselves and, therefore, have the right to hold tight to our own thoughts and opinions?

I’m purposely turning off the television and lessening my time on the Internet.  There are too many factions fighting against each other because neither side agrees with the other.  Should we not embrace those differences and work together to find common ground?  Oh that’s right, there doesn’t seem to be such a thing any longer.  It’s either my way or you are completely wrong.  

There are days I feel so sad that our world seems to be dividing more every single day.  People’s anger is so out of control. Violence is rampant because we don’t see things the same.  That seems like groups are holding those who do not think the same hostage.  Threats of violence have never been the answer.

Of course, there are issues that need discussed and there are things that need to be changed but have we not learned how to remain civilized?  Can we engage verbally without the possibility of fisticuffs?  For me, no more “famous” people telling me that I am wrong and that I am the problem; while they totally ignore the rules of a civilized society.  No more yelling people on the news, screaming the same three thoughts over and over again.  In my little corner of the world, people I know are going to be free to have different opinions than me.  I want to foster calm and educational conversations about such things.

I’m saying no to being easily offended.  I’m saying no to being bullied because I have my own opinion.  I’m saying no to dirty, underhanded anonymous internet comments.  I’m going to “get over myself” and stop thinking that everyone has to think the same way like robots.  We are human with the ability to reason for ourselves.  I am going to embrace differences as well as civility.  I’m going to stop engaging in manipulating one-sided conversations.  I want to listen more and talk less.  I want to bring value to every person I meet.  All lives matter and we need to remember that simple fact.

You may not agree with the things I have written. I am well aware of that possibility. But this is my blog and I write about things that make me happy and make me sad.  Until there is no longer freedom of speech, I will do this same thing.  Honestly, I am worried about our world today with its aggression and extreme anger.  I can’t believe some of the things I hear people say.  I want the world to be a better place and my goal, as it has always been, is to make myself better with the hopes of making the world a little better along the way.

Getting Older

Today is my 55th birthday.  55 years old.  I swear I was just in my 30s.  Where did the time go?  It past by rather quickly, much to my surprise. I try to have a mindset that says it’s just a number, but my body and mind are fighting me.  I cannot believe the changes going on.

This bothers me the most….I lose track of my thoughts more often.  I will be talking about a view or point of interest on the train and my mind suddenly just goes blank.  Only for a second, then it reboots but it throws me off. This happens several times a day.  

I don’t register faces as well anymore. Last night I went to a local pub for a dinner hosted by my boss. As I walked in, everyone sang Happy Birthday.  It was sweet but the attention flustered me a little bit.  Then a lovely young woman came up to me and I ordered a beer.  Well, she was a co-worker of mine not a waitperson at the bar.  Everyone laughed, except her, and I felt bad.  I tend to not always recognize people out of the context in which I know them. If I had seen her at work, it would have been obvious.  

I am so easily overwhelmed now.  I always seemed on the edge of it, but now I go over the edge more frequently.  When this happens I lose my sense of internal balance.  I forget for a few brief seconds what I was doing and sometimes where I’m at.  Then it is difficult to get my timing back.

I don’t feel like myself anymore. Odd thing is I spent so much time trying to figure out who I was, and I found out for about a minute, then lost it again.  I snap at people and am generally lack patience across the board. I don’t like this version of me.  

I have been following my personal trends lately as I try to understand what is happening.  I do not think it has as much to do with age as outside stimuli.  There always seem to be a hundred things going on at a given moment.  There is no such thing as a leisurely drive anymore, someone is always behind and pushing to go faster or get out of the way. I feel as if I am always being pushed to go faster or to get more done.  Granted, my pace is slower than most as I constantly try to keep my, ever allusive, internal balance. 

 At the grocery store, I feel like I am being swarmed when I stop to look at something.  All of a sudden, everyone in the store has to look at breakfast cereal at the exact same time I do.  Or get gas at the time I do.  And on and on.  I just want to go about my business without having to get out of someone’s way constantly.  I live in a town where people come for vacation.  Why are they in such a hurry? I do not believe we as human beings know how to slow down anymore.  Everything is on a checklist, even having fun.  

So am I just getting old and feeble or is the world spinning faster?  Maybe a little of both, I would guess.  I want the pace to slow down but I do not know how to achieve it.  I believe that is the next step in the epic journey, how to slow down in such a fast-paced world.  There has to be a way, my mind is depending on it!