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A new decade

Cross posted from Facebook:

So, we had to put Rabbit cat down yesterday. She'd been losing weight for a while, but I kept thinking it was due to x, y, or z, and surely she would get back on track as soon as I fixed z, y, and x. Mind you, the cause might not have been treatable even if we'd caught it earlier, but I'll never know, now. Hindsight has left me with a lot of soul-searching to do.

A sleepless night was filled with second-guessing, remorse, and heartache. But also some harsh self-realizations.

I've always believed, on some level or other, that we are all put on this earth to make a difference. What that means, I'm unsure, because there is so much suffering and injustice in the world that much of humanity must be getting it wrong. As a species, I believe we are getting it wrong. And that doesn't make much sense from a cosmic perspective. Why set up a system that is bound to fail? I'd go off on a tangent here about free will, but I don't really believe in a Christian God, and I digress. Suffice to say that I think we should be doing better, myself included.

In an over-simplistic way, I can divide my life experiences into decades. Childhood, teens, college. My thirties were perhaps my best decade; full of self discovery, and personal and spiritual achievement.
My forties were lost to health and dedicated to career. When my health started to go to pot, I put my time and energy into my job.

My career. I thought my career was my path to make a difference. What could be a more worthy goal than trying to train emergency responders how to do their jobs more safely and efficiently? On the worst day of your life, they are the ones who will respond to your need. And if they can't do their jobs well, it may be you who ends up suffering. Or them.

So. It seems a noble pursuit. It is a noble pursuit. But it also takes most of my energy. Most of my spoons, if you are familiar with that analogy, go to work, with a few left over to spend on my family, my parents, and my yard.

I haven't written any fiction of note in years. I haven't done any calligraphy and illumination. I've stopped playing SCA, which was an area in which I once achieved great success and personal satisfaction.

And I just let a cat die of liver failure because I was too tired and stressed out to notice her ill health or do anything about it.

That is not the kind of difference I want to make in this world. It is unacceptable.

I could use Lupus as an excuse, but it would be just that: an excuse. I made the decisions that got me here. I choose how to spend my energy, and while I may not have as much of it as I like, I still determine how and where I spend it.

So. I have to decide what I want my fifties to be. I know I don't want there to be another Rabbit.

It was about this age that my dad started painting. And I confess that I've been having the urge to write again. (As you can see from the length of this message.) Art and writing are things I can do from home, and require less energy. But my greatest urge is perhaps photography, and I'm not sure I can afford that, the type of cameras and lenses I'd need to do what I really want. But it may be something to prioritize.

I still don't have the answers, but I do know that I can't go on like I have been. The start of my fifties has to be about change.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
eve11
Mar. 19th, 2016 07:39 pm (UTC)
I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. There are lots of reasons why cats lose weight and sometimes it is nothing and sometimes it is not. You gave your kitty a good life, and it's always up in the air whether or not something can be treatable even if it caught early. For our pets we try to do our best.

Painting sounds nice. Making a difference is a big part of life, but don't forget also about appreciating things: the differences others make, the natural beauty of the planet and the creativity, art, craft, and good in the world. Having a good time and not feeling guilty about what you could be doing instead that is "substantial". Me, I am facing the impending start of my 40s trying to ask the same kinds of questions you are. One thing I have to stop worrying over is stuff like, "I wish it hadn't taken me so long to find/learn/do X". But X can be either something impactful for the world, or something that I just truly enjoy doing.
shimmeringstar1
Mar. 19th, 2016 08:23 pm (UTC)
I'm so, so happy you posted here. (Even a crosspost.) :) (((((((((Guni))))))))
ziparumpazoo
Mar. 21st, 2016 01:29 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry about Rabbit. It's never an easy choice that isn't second-guessed, even in the most obvious of situations.

You know, not two days ago I was shuffling around the big plastic tote we use to overwinter the 4 O'Clock tubers in the basement and I got to thinking of planting and wildflowers and doing things a bit different in the garden this year... Which led me to thinking 'hey I wonder what happened to Gunhilda? I haven't seen a post from her in ages...' Prophetic, maybe? I don't know, it's not the first time I've wondered what you've been up to when I'm working the garden, but the point is that you have made an impact on people, even if it's not how you imagined it, and I'm really glad to see you again. :)

What kind of photography are you thinking of getting into? Is it something you can get away with building your kit a bit at a time, or maybe going with gently used lenses and such? I got a 35mm film Minolta SLR as a gift that my sister found at a thrift store, and which is almost as old as I am. It still works beautifully and was so ahead of it's time - the shutter is actually touch contact sensitive to activate the camera's light meter, years ahead of current touch screens, so I'm enjoying learning a new tool and reaquiting myself with the uncertainty of film at the moment. (That is assuming the old roles I've dug up are not completely expired junk!)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )