Another month gone by. Spring has kicked into high gear. Not necessarily the weather part of it, but certainly the time part. Suddenly everything is green, fruit blossoms have burst and fallen to drifts of pink snow on the sidewalks, daffodils are a distant memory. The garden center at Fred Meyer has gone from echoing emptiness to full to the rafters with all manner of green and flowering things in the wink of an eye. It all just seems to be going too fast for me this year. Increasingly too fast with every passing year, as a matter of fact.
We have been busy with fixing up the Junction City building to get it ready for restaurant licensing. Every weekend for the past two months, the husband drives the 100 miles south to put in a couple of full days painting, scraping, plumbing and wiring. And I have been spending weekends plus. So far, we’ve torn out a sink, had a new sink installed (in a different room), torn down walls, scraped mold, painstakingly scratched old paint off of floors, created a real bathroom out of what once could be barely called a pot to piss in, balanced on ten-foot ladders to paint, scrub and plaster.
All things that could have been done much more handily by a group of folks twenty or thirty years our juniors. But we did it. We had to, actually. Seems that business is so great for small contractors that they have no interest in getting paid to do the things we need done. So we pulled on our big-girl and big-boy pants and did it ourselves. The results are acceptable. Honestly, judging by the quality of some of the work we DID manage to contract out, I’d say doing it ourselves saved us money while not necessarily compromising the quality of the work. It’s not a professional reno job by any means…but it looks a helluva lot better than it did. I’m kicking myself, now, for not taking “before” pictures.
I mention this by way of explanation for why I do not come here and write these days. But I know that’s just a smoke screen. When I was exhausted unto catatonia in the restaurant days, I came here with my thoughts and frustrations, and even threw in a political commentary here and there. No, it’s not that I’m too busy. I’m just wrestling with demons that I’m pretty sure no one is interested in reading about. And I guess I’m not interested in writing about them, anymore. I’m so done with clawing at the same walls of depression, fear and anxiety that have surrounded me for more than fifty years.
There are times I feel like I have victory. Like the walls have finally eroded away and I am free. This is not one of those times.
And the hell of it is, I’m sick to death of thinking I’m free at last and then figuring out that, no, the walls are not gone. I’ve just been too busy or engaged to pay them any mind for awhile. But they never go away. And at this precise moment, following a winter of illness and aimlessness and loss, the walls are looking as tall and stout as ever. And I’m SO tired of them. I hardly have the strength or the drive to scratch even a tiny toehold into the shortest one.
Of course, the answer is to get busy and engaged again. I’ve recently come to realize my options in that direction are severely limited—by my age, by my resume, by my physical location. And this has really put me into a funk. Every other time in my life, I felt confident that all I had to do was get myself up off my butt and “get out there,” and the work or the distraction would be available. I don’t feel that way anymore. Unemployed near-retirement-age is new—and frightening—territory for me. It is decidedly uncomfortable to realize you don’t have anything to offer anyone anymore. That, after a lifetime in the workplace, you have not one skill that anyone would be willing to pay you for. That, in fact, those years in the workplace haven become a stone around your neck, or a scarlet letter, when it comes to finding employment.
Life goes on. I’ll do the building renovations, I’ll tend my yard, I’ll vacuum up the dust bunnies and do the laundry. Rearrange the furniture and clean out the cupboards and closets for the umpteenth time.
And wish that spring—the season of rebirth and renewal—was more representative of what is going on in MY life. Because my soul seems to be stuck in mid-winter.