Aging Hippie's Guide to Aging

Youth is a gift of nature, age is a work of art...or not. This journal reflects on the many challenges we face on our journey of aging...

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Location: Oceanside, California, United States

Baby boomer, wannabe writer, advocate for seniors & cats...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Second half 2013 - oy

This blog went silent for a very long time as I felt OBE - overtaken by events in my life.  As with most writers, the muse often leaves the building.  And I am not the best at self-discipline, or should I say I use what self-discipline I have in other areas.  My practical WASP nature, work first, hobbies (like my writing) later and sometimes never.

Short version, I listed and sold the house I'd shared with my Dad, where I'd lived for 11 years.  I'd lived in that general area since 1996.  I had lots of furnishings to downsize and spent loads of time trying to sell them.  I tried to buy a manufactured home close to the beach, but it needed so much work, I backed out of the deal.  I moved from North Inland San Diego county to North Coastal San Diego, and while the blog has been dark, I've crafted a new life for myself.  I only moved 30 miles, but it was a pretty big change for this old girl.

Lessons from loving and losing Jasper - May 4, 2013

Excerpt from Morning Pages 2013

Saturday May 4

Trying to have an ordinary day, spent last night on some closure tasks hoping to dull the pain in my heart.  Saw a ball of orange and white fur in my bathroom trash can, fur removed from the brush on what turned out to be Jasper's last brushing.  I missed him a lot this morning, sitting in the living room reading, where he would always be sitting nearby, watching out for Yuki and keeping an eye on me for an opportunity for some petting, some play or some food.  Missed him this morning since he would always be my wakeup cat, chirping up the hallway to my bedroom way too early.  The less fond memories are of Jasper waking me up with vomiting in the middle of the night, I mustn't lose sight of the reasons that I had to say goodbye.  Yuki is still watching for him, in that territorial way of his.  I don't detect any emotion in this, but I could be wrong.  Yuki is calm which is nice for a change too since I am realizing how overwhelmed I was for so long in Jasper's care.  He was a little love but a high maintenance cat.  As I put away all the meds, special foods and supplements I realize how much I catered to Jasper.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn said in his book, Full Catastrophe Living, our connection with others, pets included makes us feel alive (my words here).  The past ten years of my life have been pretty codependent, it is a fine line between a healthy connection and going over the top.  So I guess is Jasper's last gift to me - the chance to have another look at my connections going forward and to reinvent some of what makes me feel involved and alive.   One of his other gifts to me was teaching me patience which I thanked him for in our final days together.  He was also such a delicate and vulnerable soul that I learned something about tenderness and not coming unglued so much as I often do with Yuki, and others, humans and certainly men on the top of that list.  My straightforward NY in-your-face problem solving style is not always such a good thing.  Know this, hard to soften my heart.  Jasper was a great help in the heart softening and I will remember his sweet and sensitive nature.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

RIP Jasper & all the cats I have loved...May 13, 2013

An excerpt from Morning Pages, 2013

This is a sad day for me,  I had to say goodbye to Jasper.  I agonized for weeks/months trying one more thing and one more thing, at great expense and it got to the point where I just had to accept that congestive heart failure is not going to get better and his vomiting returned.  I could have waited a couple more months probably but I was so traumatized losing Layla, I waited too long with her, and did not want Jasper's little life to end in the ER vet at midnight.  Dr. R did a good job, thanks to a half valium at home, he was not as freaked out in the car and in the carrier which was a big help.  They still had to give him more sedation.  They were very nice to me, very supportive. It was  very painful decision, made all the worse by him having a good day today.  Not a good day yesterday however, he was starting to seem weaker, more wobbly gait and more congested.  I could second guess myself forever but it is done.  I guess there are reasons they don't allow euthanasia for people.  You just don't know what to do.  The vet did support my decision as kind and compassionate under the circumstances.  

All that rationalizing doesn't help - I came home and started cleaning up the carpet and moving Jasper's stuff out into the garage.  Kind of therapeutic business. I'm afraid if I sit I will start to cry.  I cried most of yesterday and off and on earlier today.  I was able to spend some nice time with him last couple of days, lots of snuggling.  I had to confine Yuki overnight to keep him from jumping Jasper so Jasper slept on the bed and he enjoyed that special treat a lot, not having to deal with Yuki.
I am heartbroken not to see my little peanut Jasper over in the dining room looking out the slider into the back yard.  I told him he could see the bunnies from Rainbow Bridge.  Seeing his place in the kitchen empty and the empty spaces where his scratchers used to be is not going to be easy.  I miss him so much already, he was always my baby.  I will miss his chirpy little meow coming up the hallway to wake me up in the morning.   He had a very charming babyish personality.  Being somewhat of a special needs cat, I never thought he'd live a long life, but I hope that I was able to give him a good life.  We had our moments of being a dysfunctional family, but on balance we also had our moments of peace and contentment.  I guess that's as good as it gets in any household.  

I have to work on my attitude toward for Yuki going after him when he was so sick, but they are animals and don't have values.   I have no idea how Yuki will adjust to being an only cat.  He may improve or he may become more demanding of me.  I have ordered the compounded Elavil and will give that a try.  Some of Yuki's behavior issues did not seem to involve jealously or competition with Jasper, so I just don't know.  I really need things to settle down, I can say that for sure.  I have to safeguard my own health and sanity and make some decisions about the second half of this year.

It is easy to feel like a failure when one is not able to save a pet.  From another perspective, I was thinking today how good he looked for a sick cat.  For years I had to stand there so he would eat his wet food, two times a day or more.  Lately with all his intestinal trouble, I often got down on the floor to coax him to eat.  Many cat guardians would not go to such great lengths for so long, so I guess I have to keep these things in mind rather than feel like my best was not good enough, as I felt with losing Layla.

Pets have shorter life spans and of course we will have to say goodbye.  Right this moment I feel numb, as well as greatly relieved - I was feeling overwhelmed more and more just getting through the day and things were not improving despite meds, supplements, special foods, research etc.  It was starting to take over my life.  I have spent so many sleepless nights worrying about the cats, Jasper's health and Yuki's behavior.  With all that said, I would gladly trade today for a better outcome if that were possible.  As I told Mrs. B today, the Serenity Prayer applies to a great deal in life- God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.  Knowing the difference seems to be my life's work.  I now have to live with my decision to say yet another goodbye. 
I remember so clearly years ago, back in probably 1992, I gave away my Flame Point Himalayan Sunny to a nice woman whose maiden name was the same as mine.  I was working long hours and I'd hear Sunny meowing inside my apartment on First Avenue when I would come home and walk down the hall.  I would call to check on him periodically and one day when I phoned, the lady told me that he had gotten out and had not returned.  I was devastated.  I sat in my apartment in the dark and cried and cried.  I think I cried more for that cat than I cried over my divorce.  We had Sunny together.    

Then I adopted two more and made the decision to put down the female at 9 years old in 2002 the day before I moved into my house. That was a bad situation, she, like Jasper was high strung and had intestinal problems, constant vomiting.  Would not eat special food, could not pill her.  I could not put her through a move and and all the repairs.  Then to lose the beloved male of that pair in 2007, at 14, two months after my Dad died.  I cried for him for days and weeks.  I would come home from the hideous job I had at that time and just cry.  My house felt like just a big closet, he was the heart of my home.   Then in September 2007 I adopted Yuki and Jasper.   They got along ok in the beginning but over time, started to fuss.  I adopted beautiful Layla in 2009 as a peacemaker.  Layla was the youngest, but also the sickest and we did not diagnose her seizures for a year and a half.  I had to say goodbye to her in January of 2012.  

And today my little boy Jasper.  He was a delicate little soul.  I saved a snip of his fur, and one of his favorite fleece mice.  I need to write a little email eulogy to friends but for now this journaling will have to do.  I am feeling pretty shut down.  Later.

Monday, February 20, 2012

LOL - Living on Less

I've spent a bunch of time in the last few days looking over my due bills and trying to figure out where I can cut down.  I hesitate to even write about this since I am so blessed - compared to so many people, I have so much to be grateful for.  I keep hearing stories of people who have lost so much over the past few years of this damn recession and I am so grateful that it has not been as harsh on me.

I saw a few minutes of a 60-Minutes segment last night and the subject was long term unemployment and its effect on a person's self-esteem.  It is sad but true that our purchasing power often dictates our self worth in our culture, but that is fodder for another post.

At 62, after a decade of one upheaval after another in my life, I do have my cash flow challenges to be sure.  I am becoming semi-obsessed with cutting costs. I'm of Scottish descent, a culture known for our "thriftiness".  This always seemed lame to me in better days, although never having been a big earner, I was not able to really afford a "lifestyle" similar to some of my Baby Boomer compadres.  I always managed to live within my means, mostly, and my Dad in years gone by, would help me out with major unexpected stuff like car repairs.  So I guess considering we Baby Boomers are the big spenders, I guess I do have that "thrifty" trait.  It's all relative, as my Dad used to say.

It is easy to find articles and blog posts on shopping at the dollar stores or thrift stores, both of which have been my habit for years.  I'm a lifelong thrift shopper - I used to go with my Mom and buy doll clothes, that's how little I was when I first started!  All through the years, I've been a collector of various things, and in every city I've lived I find thrift shopping very entertaining and very productive!  People give things away for many reasons and there are treasures to be had at a fraction of retail in all categories.

A friend and I have three categories of shopping - TS (thrift shop), GS (garage sale) and DS (dollar store).  I have not been to the mall in years.  But for my downwardly mobile semi-retirement life, I guess it doesn't matter.  I shared with a twenty-something acquaintance that I used to think older people looked so bad - bad clothes, bad hair, old cars - now I get it!  They're (we're) trying to get off the treadmill and hang on to what money we have.  So our store-bought image goes out the window, instead of the money to maintain it.

Consolidating errands to save gas is another no brainer.  My car is nine years old, and with the ever rising cost of gas, a new car with better gas mileage has great appeal.  But I don't want a payment and higher insurance costs, so I just live with the dorky old Accord.   I was thinking of eliminating the collision coverage but I better not go crazy with this thrifty thing.  It only has 51K miles on it!

For years, I've cut fun and entertainment to the bone - I rarely drive all over the county the way I used to, attending various events.  I do miss that.  My world has definitely gotten smaller and more virtual.  Perhaps that is age, perhaps it is a cultural trend.

I am on COBRA and medical insurance is one of my biggest monthly expenses.  I recently had the chance to lower my coverage level and I took the risk to do so.  It's not a big difference in routine coverage, but if I need to go to the hospital, I pay big time. I guess this kind of cost sharing is a good business model to encourage good health habits.  So I'm on board with Kaiser's hope that I stay out of the hospital.

Last year I 86'd my landline - I miss having fax capability but otherwise, I'm not a big phone person and I don't miss it.  I also left Verizon in favor of a no-contract provider.  Just this past weekend, I ordered a $20 CDMA no-contract phone so I could go with a lower service plan than they allow for my smartphone.  Right now, I'm in between clients, at home alot, and really don't need the unlimited everything on the higher service plan.

I stopped getting DVDs from Netflix and just get the minimum instant play subscription.  I do think they were cold to their loyal customers in raising their rates for DVDs, but they are in business to make money not cater to customers like me who have TVs from 1999 and a VCR/DVD player from 2006.  Would love to upgrade the TVs and get a new computer and printer, but while everything is still working fine, it stays, that's my rule lately.

I lowered the speed of my cable modem Internet connection, and cancelled my extended TV cable channels.   I have received two great gifts recently to help me with some of these video cutbacks - my new Kindle Fire is great for watching stuff on the very small screen! It's funny to have my cat on my lap when I'm watching something on the KF, for him, it's a perfect size screen!  I also have found some of my news shows that I miss on CNN on CNN radio which I get on the Kindle. The other wonderful gift is a Roku gadget that connects me to Netfilx instant play and other free and pay channels, on my ancient TV thru my wireless Internet connection. 

Again this year, I'm using TurboTax and hoping for the best.  I'm not smart enough to cook the books, if I make an honest mistake, the IRS can write me a letter.  This is my fourth year using TurboTax.  I'd much prefer to use a tax preparer, but the cost savings doing it myself is substantial, like $50 compared to $250 or more.  And at my (shockingly low) level of income, I figure I have the time to spend to DIY.

And then there's home repairs, and this subject causes me a ton of angst.  I have a long list of deferred maintenance on this old house, built in 1968, including needing a new roof.  Not making the repairs is only a temporary fix.  I've felt so stagnant here in this house - I've lived here ten years in March - longer than I've lived anywhere not counting my childhood.  The housing market is so anemic - I'm not underwater - yet - but making big financial decisions like buying and selling real estate is not my forte - I do better with the little daily purchasing decisions.

At least I have the little decisions somewhat under control in my world.  I am no math genius but I do get that cutting spending is only a tiny drop in the bucket, all things considered.  It really is about earning more, not just spending less.  I wish I got this message when I was 25 - I'm sure I was told, but I didn't "get it".  I had no concept of being prepared for retirement, until I was in my 50's and took care of my Dad, who was well prepared.   I've reflected on my options and my talents for a life reinvention at 62 - I note that most of what I'm good at doesn't pay...traditional "woman things". I've made my peace that being of service is my contribution in this life, but to date, the pay has not been good and the cost of living keeps going up!  So it is a struggle not only to keep the bank account balanced, but to keep my head and heart from plunging into despair.   Cutting monthly bills is easier than re-tooling my self-worth in a world gone mad.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

What are you doing on New Year's ...

New Year's eve is just a memory, and it for me was as blah as New Year's day is turning out to be.  It is a fabulous day here, 80+ degrees, clear and sunny, but I have not been out.  I have been trying to relax a little, and not bury myself in the usual chores and desk work that fill my days "off".  I am trying to stay off my feet, supposedly I have a slight fracture in my right foot, which has been bothering me for months.  Staying off my feet is a simple plan, but like many good intentions, not so easy to actually do.  The situation has not been readily (or definitely even yet) diagnosed, and I am hoping this lovely boot they sent me home with will do its job.

So it is just a regular Sunday for me I guess, maybe a slower than regular day.   I continue to feel uninspired, perhaps a little more so today, after reading and watching all the motivational articles and videos on New Year New You and Getting it Together and all that good stuff which I am always attracted to, yet lately it all just seems so overwhelming.  I try to counter the inevitable entropy of life - since it is the nature of things to so readily fall apart, I try to improve myself in as many ways as I can, just to stay on an even keel.

I have been remiss in taking time for myself in recent years, my spiritual and self development path has disappeared from my life.  I haven't done any writing in ages.  I seem to just chase cash flow in all its convoluted and time consuming forms.  Keeping the wolf away from the door could be considered a form of self care, but I am wearing down. I have not really been a person to define myself through my work through the years, so I am spending most of my energy on a portion of my life that is not all that gratifying.  Somewhat gratifying at times, but not what I would consider a calling or life purpose, not in present form.

The subject of underemployment crossed my mind this morning, I am very grateful to be working at all in this economy, yet the stress of the past few years has not been lost on me either.  Underemployment has dampened my enthusiasm for making plans and goals for the future, to say the least.  And at my age, staging a life reinvention is not so easy either.  Years gone by, I could make changes very easily, now I feel the quicksand of inertia under my feet. 

Not surprising I am having pain in my foot - Louise Hay in Heal Your Body says foot problems are an indication of "fear of the future and of not stepping forward in life".   I like her Beginnings and Endings post for the new year, but I am feeling lazy about setting any resolutions and directions.  I do have a mental list, but have not gone so far as to put it on paper or call the list "resolutions".  I feel sometimes as a woman I knew years ago once said, that she one day just walked out the door literally on her old life.  I fantasize about doing that, move to a new city (country?) starting over with a couple of suitcases and boxes as I've done many times years gone by.  But I am not young anymore, not sure how that would "fit" into my sixth decade of wandering around LOST on this planet.  I'm hooked on the creature comforts, and some of the trappings of midlife.

Well it is time to tackle some chores with what is left of this day.  Perhaps I will post more often in this old journal blog.  Used to do Morning Pages - maybe I should make a big list of things I used to do and call that list New Year's resolutions...

another year, another lame Christmas letter, another cat picture...

“Multitask, multitask, busy every day - Oh what fun it is to try to have a holiday!” - Well, you get the idea.  It’s an “Attention Deficit” holiday for me – not a lot of jingle in my bell.  This year my life has been about as stable as the stock market.  I’ve barely done a traditional holiday thing – I’m just distracted.   I put up a kitschy red tinsel peace symbol on my front door and sent a couple of cards, but for me, this holiday is about charitable donations not “stuff”.   I’ve enjoyed receiving some holiday cards and letters – I’ve read some fun stories, and some sad stories.  We all have our times of joy and sorrow to be sure.

Each year we are more deeply immersed in technology, which connects and isolates us.  I log too many hours of screen time, mea culpa.  I troll Craigslist and many job sites for work, read tons of news, and of course shop.  I am addicted to Redfin studying local real estate.  I have a website, two FaceBook pages, LinkedIn, a blog, plus the usual PC software, my calendar, Quicken, QuickBooks and smart phone.  Argh.   I am the proud owner of a Kindle Fire, an early birthday gift which has been a lot of fun.  And fun I need!

I’m self employed again, after having two receptionist jobs this year – one at a retirement facility and one at a skilled nursing facility.  I felt that I had better become my own boss again, or risk being wheeled in there myself on a gurney.  I turn 62 this year and I am very aware of the impact of constant stress on health.  I’m a hard worker, but I have no interest in drama or dysfunction - I want a peaceful life!

I applied for early “retirement” Social Security.  Not that I’m actually retiring, but my work as a freelance personal assistant is part time so I can maintain a healthy life balance.  The only benefit of self employment is that, yes, I can work in my pajamas with a cat on my lap!  It is surprisingly challenging work – my clients by nature are not good at the things I do.  If they were, they wouldn’t NEED me!  So there is plenty of opportunity for MY self development too - in terms of patience and communication skills. I am working now with three clients who need some type of office support, but I’ve also returned to senior companion care.  I enjoy working for seniors, and I have made several lasting friendships.  Friends becoming clients and clients becoming friends is another benefit! 

I’m volunteering as a driver with our local Rides & Smiles program and as a receptionist at a senior center, both as networking opportunities and community service.  I have joined a local political group also.  I joined a new gym about three minutes from home, and have actually been going!

My home life continues to be very quiet.  I have three BFF cats, all of whom are spoiled and demanding in their own way. No such thing as a low maintenance pet – that’s an oxymoron!  Have not done a thing to my house, it has been turning back in to the fixer that it was when we bought it in 2002.  I’ve held off moving due to concerns about housing prices and employment.  I continue to feel restless and ready for a change in many ways, but the crystal ball remains a bit hazy as my Dad used to say.   I have lived in this house for almost ten years.  For me, that is a long time.  So I’ve been practicing gratefulness for my comfortable, if not terribly exciting life, and counting my blessings and taking one day at a time.
 “Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are only days away from the winter solstice, which celebrates the return of the light, and the promise that the days will once again grow long and warm. But until that time, perhaps our energy would be best spent aligning with nature, and like the trees, pulling our energy deep into our roots, in preparation for another year of growth.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fast away the old year passes

I've been procrastinating and not very inspired this year about composing any sort of Christmas greetings - preoccupied with work and looking for work.  "Looking for work is the new work" as the cynical saying goes and this rings true for me.   This article in AARP really hit home - we can easily forget that our personal situations are often experienced in the context of the circumstances of the larger world.  I think "perspective" would be the word I'm looking for.

This past year I've had several very nice senior clients through home care agencies, and a very hectic part time position as concierge in a local retirement facility.  I also do freelance administrative work from my home office, and I've served several clients.  I am grateful for all of these people, and the income derived from my various efforts.  The downside is trying to keep it all together and have some kind of routine and personal life while juggling all these commitments.  This aspect needs some work in 2011!

Despite the difficult job market, I have notified my retirement facility employer that after January 2nd I would not be available for the five evenings a week "short shift" that I've been working since July.  I would like to continue with them as "relief" concierge and work maybe once a week or as needed on call.  Coincidentally, I haven't exercised nearly enough since I started working there.  I now work at the front desk in my "exercise window" which is not good for this old gal.  I'm not eating right either, and this year I've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, which to me is clearly a lifestyle issue.  My 61st birthday is coming up later this week, and I am thankful to one of my clients who has given me some sage advice that our health is our greatest wealth - so I must get off the "hamster wheel" and pay more attention to wellness.  I plan to continue freelancing and working for home care agency clients when suitable clients come my way. 

Ironically my health insurance premium, which has gone up in November to $602 per month has been my biggest motivator to be on the hamster wheel to begin with.   So I am trying to sort through my conflicting priorities of income, cash flow and good health and sanity!  This is the dilemma we are all faced with for sure, but as I get older and try to deal with all these issues in the Great Recession, it seems to be more perplexing. 

I have one "outside the box" project that I've been working on for several months - I'm looking into buying a low priced "distress" condo in Oceanside.  It is the only coastal area I can afford to consider.  I am undecided if I will use it as a rental, or move into it and use my existing home as a rental.  I'm no math genius and investment property requires a good amount of analysis.  I have been doing my research online, and have seen a number of units over the past few months.  Whether or not I can swing it and replace my cash flow from a job with rental income remains to be seen.  But rents are high here, and although the stock market is doing well now, the future is unknown.   At least I can relate to real estate, I can drive by it, make repairs etc.   Having all my retirement funds invested in stocks, bonds etc. is intangible and also not my core competency, although improving my investing skills is also on my list for 2011.

When I free up some personal time I must deal with some needed home repairs including a new roof on my house and several smaller projects.  This has never been my favorite pastime, but if I'm going to get into investment property, I need to get back into the groove with these projects.  I've done a number of fixer type projects through the years, including this house when Dad and I first bought it in 2002.  I guess I've just been burned out on home projects.  I've been watching HGTV and getting more ambitious!

My three little adopted cats are fine, sort of. They are all "psycho" in their own special ways.  They're relatively young - 2, 3 and 4, so they have a lot of energy.  They are my little fur family, and it is nice to be greeted when I get home and nice to snuggle with them and feel them purr.  Makes all the extra work worth it!  I had a senior client who lived alone and she said to me that sometimes she didn't speak to anyone all day -- I said "get a pet!"  They are wonderful companions despite the extra work and expense, and as another client said about my three, I'd be lost without them.

My holiday will be a little quiet and a little busy.  I asked to be scheduled to work at the retirement facility, it's time and a half plus a free dinner on Christmas Day.  I like the residents very much and it is nice to share the holiday with them.  I was expecting a visitor this week to help celebrate my birthday but we're in a rainy pattern and he's been sick so we are rescheduling.  I think I will manage to fill my time!  I am usually ecstatic when I find myself with a free day!

I must get back to some non holiday and non creative pursuits.  I have a load of bookkeeping to catch up with on Quicken and QuickBooks, plus all the usual chores, errands and desk work.

Oh did I mention wanting to spend more time writing in 2011?  Seems that has been on my New Year's Resolution list forever.  This just may be the year!  Goodbye hamster wheel - hello semi retirement and passive income!  A girl can hope and pray for the best for us all through the holidays and in the New Year. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vector splatter v. my elusive one thing

I've always been a generalist, often adventurous, especially in my younger days.  I have tried many things over the course of my first 60 years on planet Earth - various kinds of educational programs, work and alternative lifestyles.   Since computers and technology have taken over our lives (what, 15 years maybe?) my multitasked attention deficit personality has been kicked into high gear.  Lately, I feel as if I am multitasking to the point of not getting anything done.  I guess the reality is that I get things done in such small fragments on various projects, it takes forever to have any sense of accomplishment on anything.  I've never been very patient with projects that are pending for many months or even years, although I admit I have several of those on my own list right now.

I guess age is a factor, as a friend said, "As we age, we get more busy, but with less interesting activities".  I agree - just errands, chores and life maintenance seem to take up way more of my time than they used to.  Or as another friend put it, "I don't get as much done in a day".  

I'm also conflicted on my life purpose - my dharma, my "kuleana" (Hawaiian term) - I've thought for many years that mine was to live a life of service.  As I look back, if I had to put the things I've done in a broad category, service to others would be it.  As I look ahead, and try to find a common thread among all my interests and talents, service of some sort also comes to mind.

While this is not a bad thing by any means, my personal bottom line tells me that I am not exactly prospering from this philosophy lately.  Surely this feeling is shared by many many souls in this lingering economic recession.  Since I have little discretionary income for a "real life" I spend probably too much time online.  I have been making a little study lately on some friends - virtual or IRL - and how *they* spend their time, how they dedicate their lives to a purpose.

I've concluded that people who are self centered do better, and that they concentrate on one thing basically.  Not that they can't walk across the room and chew gum, but they aren't generalists.  They are specialists.  And they concentrate on what *they* are doing, first and foremost, not what others' needs are.  They charge high rates for their services because they feel they are worth it.  (I've been discounting mine, due to temporary insanity I guess.)   It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm a cat person.  I need to get over whatever erroneous messages about money and work that still float around in my value system and refocus my professional efforts to my one -- profitable -- thing.  And that would be asap, before I get even less done in a day.

I saw a $4 refrigerator magnet that I didn't buy, but it magnetically stuck in my mind for free - "If you settle for less than you're worth -- you'll get even less than you settle for."  Hmmm.  I can sure buy into this intellectually and see the dynamic in my own life.

So how to push past this latest identity crisis and rebrand myself as a power player in this complicated Universe, not an underemployed part timer and freelancer helping everybody out with life's dreary responsibilities while they go out and live a life I can't afford.  Wearing too many hats lately, need to let the wind blow through my hair and clear my brain on this subject.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

What a revolting development...

I've always tried to have nice feet...probably this little vanity comes from living for 10 years in Hawaii and 27 in San Diego.  I've always done my own nails, manicures and pedicures.  Back in the nail polish days, I was pretty good at it, and always took pride in my nails.  This past week, I dealt with a painful ingrown toenail.  It had bothered me for about a week, just slightly.  So I tried to "fix it" with my nailfile which really screwed it up.  I couldn't put my weight on my foot for several days.  Or even wear slippers, anything with a closed toe was painful.  Argh!  What about all my chores and errands?  All require shoes and bearing weight on the afflicted paw! 

So I did a quick Google search on treating this little self inflicted wound, and launched into my first aid program.  Saw some shocking pictures of toenails I did not want to have, and got the main message - don't fool with it, just clear up the little skin infection.  I soaked my feet in a little dishpan of boric acid, I used peroxide, bacitracin and a bandaid.  I put the dishpan under my computer keyboard, to the endless fascination of my three cats!  I wore slipper sox with treads which I had from yoga classes in the winter.  And I stayed off my feet as much as possible.  THIS was the hardest part!  Mobility we take for granted - being unable to race around multitasking doing chores, etc. was sobering.  I of course had desk work to do, so I caught up a bit on things like bookkeeping and indulged in more Web surfing than usual.

After a couple days of sort of dragging my right foot around, I had a pretty big muscle pain in the right calf, from altering my gait.   This totally minor thing is having a noticable impact on my life.  Not to mention my to-do list.

Being a caregiver for elders, I am always cautioning my clients to be careful of falls, etc.  This week I reflected in a very personal way on how important mobility is in a person's life.  We never consider that accidents and setbacks can happen to US.  That person limping or using a cane, walker or wheelchair, is always someone else, not US!

I'm glad to report that by today, while not 100% perfect, my toe is feeling much better.  I'm still wearing sandals and pacing (instead of my normal racing) myself, but I was able to catch up on some errands and a couple of chores.  Today is a work day, and I'm not full speed, but I am grateful to be recovering from this minor mishap.

I'm also grateful for the reminder that good health is number one.   And grateful for mobility.  And cognizant of the reminder that things CAN happen to me.