What’s The Point

going in style

Could it simply be that the days have been too short and that not enough Sun exposure has been occurring? Could it be that 65 is approaching and Medicare is ‘calling’? Could it be that this is about the same age that my mother fell into a five-long-years battle with clinical depression?

Well, I must confess, that for about three weeks now, the daily walk was put aside. I’m not sure which one affected the other the most. I was finding myself under-motivated to go, as much because it was seeming like too much drudgery as that I was feeling low — but, I went walking today to do errands and I have to say, my spirits have been somewhat lifted. I think walking is best with purpose. I did make it a point to stop at a shop on the main street where I know the owner and had a long involved chat. That worked wonders too.

I spent $5 on a movie lately, Going In Style, with Alan Arkin, whom I love, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine — oh heck, I love them all. Ann-Margret was in it too. Who doesn’t love Ann.

I laughed my head off in one of the first scenes where Michael Caine’s character is at his bank and has to take a seat to wait for someone to attend him. He just barely gets plopped down in the low-slung chair when he’s alerted to an available attendant. As he struggles to get out of the low-slung seat, he behaves exactly like I do when I try to get up sometimes. I just hooted. What I absolutely LOVED about the movie, was that my peer group is being depicted in all their current glory — old age.  It’s not the first movie of its kind lately. The one with Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen, Book Club is another.

What these movies reminded me is that we live until we die. The dying part is awful to think about and it gets continuously closer as the days go whisking by — and I’ve been thinking far too much about it lately. If I could say why I think I have been going through this low emotional state that I have been lately, it would be that I needed to. It is forcing me to look at my life and see what I don’t like about it and what I don’t want to spend any more time wasted on.

For 16 years come June, I have been here thinking that I was making a life for myself. I’ve been busy building hugelkulturs and soil and trying to get my home to a state that doesn’t leave me anxious at the thought of others seeing it. I’ve tried several ideas to create income and the only somewhat successful model was to provide sewing and general services for others.

Speaking with my friend in town, she asked if I was still cleaning house for one of her neighbors. I grimaced and let out some exhaust in my breath because I don’t want to do it any more even though it is $60 each time I go and they need me, (I can’t find anyone I feel confident to suggest they use instead).

Money just isn’t at all what motivates me. As little as I need, prices on everything continue to rise. That really angers me. They seem to just because it isn’t illegal for them to.

Anyhoo, I’ve been forced to really look at things.

What’s the point of having a straightened home if no one comes to visit?

Seems like I go around in circles and it is more because of anxiety than anything else — I’ve needed busy work to keep me from thinking. Something is forcing me to think for a change and I’m discovering that I’m not all that happy. I need a better purpose.

I don’t know what the answer is just yet, but I know that I’m glad something has forced me to look.

Years ago, and I’ve probably told this story before, I had an elderly client that was living in an assisted complex call me out to help her fashion a drapery treatment for the ‘room’ she and her dying husband were residing in. I think they were in their 90s. He had a hospital bed in the middle of their space. There was one big window that looked out to the complex and that was what she wanted treated. She’d had it in her mind to have, forever she claimed, purple drapes. We found the most beautiful purple satin and a purplish blue sheer and she took out a line on her JCPenney’s credit to fund them. People live until they die. They turned out beautiful. All her neighbors came to see. She was very pleased with herself for getting it done, finally.

The point is, we have to find reasons to want to live. At the least, we have to find reasons to be happy about living. Maybe my next purpose will involve animals, maybe it will involve other people. I am getting very tired of living for myself.  I’ve lived for my mother, my sister, my dogs, but they are all gone now. Yes, I still have the kitties but you know how kitties are. There is great value in living to help life even if the life we are encouraging is something we almost cannot see. Maybe when warm weather, longer days and growing things return again in Spring, this malaise will lift and that will be the purpose — soil microbes — simple as. Time will tell.

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What’s the point? The point is, we can either drudge through life or make it purposeful. Not always easy. One of the lines in the movie was Michael’s character addressing Alan’s character and stating that, “You have been waiting 20 years to die.” Another one was where they were trying to decide how much money they needed to steal to make up for the losses to their pensions and Michael’s character was asking them all to account for how much longer they thought they’d live. Alan’s character said, “I’m unlucky, I will probably live to be 100.”

By the end of the movie, Alan’s character thinks he is suffering from happiness. I hope to do the same — live to be 100 and ‘suffer’ from happiness.

Scientists are working on 1000. Imagine that!

 

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The Moral of the Story

For twenty years I lived in the second story apartment you can see through the middle of the building in the left image. Far upper left in the pool shot. Relative happiness. It was really just a nest.

The front was crammed with potted plants and I ran a hose from the kitchen faucet to water.

The pool was wonderful.

I had a stray kitty come in one night while I was on the floor cutting fabric, making a bridesmaid’s dress for a friend. She was there with me. The only thing I had to feed her was a can of bean and bacon soup. She ate it. She continued to come back for years. “No Pets Allowed”, so I tried to get her to be quiet when she meowed all the way up the stairs each night following me in. The landlord turned a blind eye. She just came to eat and sleep and went out again in the morning. Pinky. She had a deformed mouth so her little pink tongue showed against her black fur.

I finally bought a big house almost four time the space and spent six years there sorting myself out and accumulating stuff. It had a big yard and I did a lot of practicing on growing things. The new owners took all that out and all of the previous 20+ year of hedge growth, trees and things and put in lawn. By the time I had grown completely discontent with California, I had two dogs and two cats and they all came with me to Arizona. Little Red-Haired Girl is the only one still of that tribe.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

And a lot of stuff came with me too. Years and years of stuff and then I went on to try to start a business here and acquired ever more stuff, stuff, stuff.

Stuff is anxiety provoking. It robs peace and I am all for a simple life of abundance and peace. Now that I know better.

Having been a neurotic accumulator (aka: a hoarder, albeit with a purpose) for so long, it has been a process. It is so cathartic to finally be getting rid of it all. There’s lots more to go, but great progress has been made. I’m glad to say that the more one practices letting go, the easier and easier it becomes. It becomes less important to imagine an income from ‘things’ than to imagine the freedom from it, from the anxiety it all creates.

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The most resent riddance has been books. I still have books, but all of the ones that were just taking up space for nothing are going, going, going to the Library/Friends of the Library or friends who want any of them. Some of the ones left will go too. A whole life’s history of work, worry, study and thought. Time to be in the now. Good riddance.

So the moral of the story is that all that really matters is living, breathing things; plants, animals and other people. Revisiting some of those books, I was reminded of the many stages of life and the tools required to get through some of them. I have always turned to books. It seems like there is an answer in there somewhere; but after revisiting some of them, I realized that most of the answers come in the living. Break up with a boy, fall apart, study psychology (another book or two or ten) to try to understand things…time heals all wounds and in continuing to live, the problems get solved. What helps you get through things the best? Focusing on things outside of yourself, living things; plant, animals and other people is what does.

My favorite quote is a static feature at the bottom of every post.

That book I kept. It’s full of wisdom. I was 14 when it was published, so it is still relevant to the era of my youth and young adulthood in its nuance.

Plants.

Animals.

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“Why are you on the other side of the fence, Mom?”

And other people.

That’s it. Simple as that. Living things.

For a Simple Life of Abundance and Peace

For a Simple Life of Abundance and Peace