Sunday, December 18, 2016

Warning: Poisonous Introspection Ahead

Might as well make the blog my personal whine-fest, as long as no one's around...

"Retirement" has been a challenge.

It's been five years since the restaurant closed.  And at least a decade since I worked for anyone besides myself. But it seems that only recently have I figured out what appealed to me about being employed, though I hardly had a job in four decades of employed life where I wasn't at least semi-miserable.

To me, employment brought the new and wholly unfamiliar sense of being essential; the concept that there was something to be done that only I could do, and that it wouldn't get done if I was not there.  That could, of course, be taken too far...but when I was in management, I understood that part of my job was to make sure that the place could function without me.  In that case, THAT was the job only I could do, so it was all good.  Being necessary, being needed, is something I haven't experienced a whole lot in my life.  And it matters a great deal to me. 

I suppose it's partly a product of my birth order.  No one needed me for anything when I was a kid.  I was always the afterthought, the tagalong, the person that everyone HAD to deal with, but nobody wanted to deal with.  I brought nothing special to the table, growing up.  My sisters hung out with me because they had to, and as soon as they didn't have to anymore, they didn't.  It was right around then that I started working for a living, and everything changed.  Finally, there was a place where MY presence, MY skills, were needed and appreciated.  It was like a drug.  I couldn't get enough of it.  the more hours a week I had to spend at work, the happier I was.

Yeah, I met a young man and got married.  And that was a decent high, for many years.  Until, at some point, it was made clear to me that he didn't need me, either...  During the cafe years, when I began to get the sense that I was more of an obligation than an asset to my husband, that I was in fact the biggest drag in his life, but he put up with me anyway because he had to...  Well, the "being needed" part of being married kind of flew out the window and has never returned.

Now I'm semi-retired.  I have my own business that keeps me occupied about half the year.  And it needs me, I suppose...  But my business is, essentially, me.  No one else.  So it doesn't really count when YOU need yourself.  If I stopped showing up and the business went away, who would care? 

Ordinarily, I'm okay on my own.  At least 85% of the time, I would as soon be alone as in a crowd of people.  But that other 15% of the time...even though it is such a small part of my life as to be inconsequential, I need to be needed.  And that little essential chunk of motivation supports the entire rest of my life, it's what gives me a feeling of contentment and well-being.  Without it, I feel empty and off-balance. 

All the time.

And you can't MAKE people need you.  Or maybe you do. Maybe that's the problem.  You DO make people need you, if you're a decent, thoughtful, caring human being.  It's a passive thing, not an active thing.  People need you if you're worthwhile.  And if I've spent a lifetime never really being needed by the people in my life... Well, that kind of speaks for itself, doesn't it?     

1 comment:

  1. A reminder - you may have readers whom you don't see visiting, because we read the feeds.

    As to being needed, have you considered volunteering?