A few hours ago we drove back to our old cold house. Our sons endured the brut of the cold here while we were sheltered in place around our daughter’s heat pump. So today we switched places with our youngest son, so he could repair our daughter’s fallen fence and take George out for walks. Two things my old damaged body won’t let me do anymore. So at the moment, my kidney is reminding what rocks feel like in your urinary tract.
Sorry but I had to stop for a moment and surrender to the pain in my body. While feeling the pain, our Calico cat, jumped from her perch across the room to groom herself next to me. Rather she did this as a gesture of comfort or just plain selfishness on her part doesn’t matter. What’s important was the act itself. It would be so easy for me to just be a bitter man. Wrapped up in the problems around me shouting hate back at the world. And in a way, I suppose I do, do that in these little novellas that you read and that I write.
It's our attitude towards others that reflects our true intent inside. So many sprinkle words of kindness and good among those that agree. Giving only as long as they are getting back. It’s funny how people will discard you as soon as their needs are met. Looking back, I can see moments where this has happened to me. But to remain that bitter, to allow that hurt to feaster; only reinforces the lie of pain. So through whatever circumstance, give back words of reinforcement and kindness. Don’t allow the pain that grips you now overtake who you really are.
I wish I could be festive and joyous this holiday season. But this year seems to be ending with the same thud I’ve experienced the last few years. I don’t want to be the grumpy old man that yells, “Get off my lawn!” But as gravity drags my face and body to the ground, it seems almost like destiny to happen. Currently I’m swollen to epic proportions. My left kidney and urethra are hurting at a steady pace. I’m having to use the painkillers so sparingly, they really have no effect other than the side effects.
A friend asked me earlier, what my word for the year would be? All I could think of was, “Ouch!” I mean besides dreading turning 60 all year, let alone just making it to 60. I’ve endured continued gastro issues, had a cardiac ablation, not to mention kidney stones…twice. This doesn’t include any of my past or present mental health issues, or struggles being a caregiver. I am basically a “F**ked-up mess.” I suppose this is where I go into survival mode and talk myself down from the ledge of self-pity. But being alone in someone else’s house on the holidays in sub-freezing temperatures, isn’t conducive for motivating self-talk.
So I lay here for a moment and let the physical pain surround me. Because down to it’s basic core what is happiness without pain, what is life without death? For a moment the words comfort me, reminding me I am no better than anyone else. That all pain, joy, life, and death comes from the same source. Don’t ask me to explain the theology. I’m apparently just an old squirrel still searching for a nut. Do what you have to do to get by. Be mindful of other’s feelings and personhood. Spread kind words when you can. And take it easy on yourself.
Grab That Bull
So after a very crappy evening, followed by an even crappy morning; the sun has broken through the dull grey sky. Seeing an opportunity shine through my window, I grabbed the dirty clothes, washed them, then hung them out to dry. This whole week there hasn’t been any chances to wash and dry clothes. So when an opportunity presents itself, you gotta grab the bull by the horns and go.
Seldom does a storm system pass this quickly and clear up. Usually you have to wait on the wrap around clouds from the low to move through. But this is a bit of a blessing, in that not only is it sunny, but it’s warm, windy, and dry. With the clothes hung out, I’ve parked myself under the branches of the fig tree/bush with a glass of tea. Not giving much thought to dark mood that was hanging over me earlier.
There’s a vulture circling overhead, but I’m not going to take it as a bad omen. Instead I’ll just watch as one of God’s waste disposals quietly soars on the wind. Our attitude and perception are often influenced by nature. Rather through sunny skies or by the brut force of the rain, nature seizes onto our emotions guiding us neither to wisdom or foolishness. It’s safe to say that my emotions from earlier had been turned to foolishness and pain. Effecting my mood and clouding my judgement. This happens quite often to the best of us, sometimes causing us to do unspeakable things, especially to ourselves. As much as it may feel like the end. Often it’s just another dull day we have to live through. So be mindful of your thoughts have appreciation for the light that will eventually shine. It’s all a matter of believing and having the courage to grab that bull and hold on.
Everyone & Everything
Well it’s mid-afternoon and with all my errands run I decided to put on my night clothes and chill. Outside it’s foggy and drizzly, so I’m just sitting here on the bed waiting for a spark of inspiration. It’s funny getting used to typing on a full-size keyboard again. For the last few years, I’ve gotten used to pecking away at the tiny keyboard on my phone when writing my stories. But for my birthday my oldest brought me a new laptop with all the “bells and whistles” attached. It seems a little extreme for a minimalist like me to be using such a fancy thing. But today I’m forcing myself to enjoy my new luxury item (insert eyeroll here).
It feels a little intimidated using this thing. Not trying to make myself sound like a saint, but I’m one of those people that puts everyone and everything in front of themselves. For the last 35 years, it’s been mostly up to me to making sure things got done around the house. So when something nice happens for me, I’m always waiting for the other shoe to literally drop. But so far no disasters have occurred and it’s just me and Buffy the cat chilling here with the keyboard.
Life can be very exhausting, especially in a world where no good deed goes unpunished. But despite my cynical, laissez-faire mask survival is my mantra. It’s a skill just born out of necessity to protect others as well as myself. But over the last several years, physical and mental wear has whittled away at my ability to be an effective caregiver. What I’m learning though is that the gift of giving often comes back to you. My adult children have really stepped up over the years to help me and their mother both physically and financially. As a parent and caregiver, it’s often hard to accept such help. But in the process of living mindfully setting examples is usually not overlooked, especially by those you love.
Fate of the Wind
As the wind blows, the sky’s cloud back up. And I’m left with damp laundry hanging under a canopy of mist. It was sun shining when I put the clothes in the washer. But here in the South that usually don’t mean a damn thing. Being a slave to the elements is nothing new. Here in rural farm country you pray for the weather to cooperate, only to be outdone by the fate of the wind. As humans we like to think we’ve outsmarted nature. But eventually our innovation and one-upsmanship, ends up making things worse instead of better.
The same holds true for how we treat ourselves. Scurrying about thinking we are superior in our beliefs and traditions. Never giving a thought to how demeaning it makes others feel. Fooling ourselves with the delusion that somehow even in our humble state, we are still supreme. What a sad state to find oneself in when the life around us shows a better way. I suppose I could “act up” and call out the hypocrisy, but I’d only be wasting my breath. Because an addicted soul never finds salvation unless they seek it out themselves.
So now the clothes are hung out, all I can do is wait on the elements. Right now, old Buffy is laying down asleep on my belly while I type away these words no one really believes. But that’s okay, my conscience is clear. I’ve said all I can really ever say. Getting along with nature, ourselves, and other people is a noble endeavor. But often we allow the voices of paranoia to excite our primal fears. And although we were given conscious thought, we often hide away in our safe spaces. Covered in blankets of hatred and mistrust, becoming what we’ve become, outdone by our own fate.
Which I Do
I have been max lazy the last few days. I mean there’s a bunch of stuff I could be doing. But at the moment, I’m only getting the bare minimum done. I could use the excuse that I’m cold, which I am. Or I could use the excuse that I have a cold and I feel bad, again which I do. But buried in the back of my head are the ghosts from years past that tell me to “suck it up buttercup” and get off my ass. So I got up and now I’m sitting outside in the afternoon sun.
I have the distinction of being born between two so-called generations. You see, I was born at the tail end of the Baby Boomer Generation and a little ahead of Generation X. They’ve tried to label us Generation Jones, but I find that definition of keeping up with the Joneses a bit harsh and misleading. Although me and my peers were like the kids of the 1950’s with our suburban landscape and our Moms at home. As the late 60’s and early 70’s came a calling, abrupt moral and financial change came. A lot of us went from the optimistic stay at home kids with Mom crew. To latchkey kids looking after our little Gen X brothers and sisters while Mom had to work crew.
Situated between the soiled Boomers and overly cynical Xers, us Gen Joneses didn’t have time for reflection. We had shit to get done with little guidance on how to do it. For one the rules kept changing. The factory jobs our Dads had went overseas and degrees we got quickly became worthless. So we ended up raising our Millennials as best I could. All the while listening to Boomers and Xers criticizing our every parenting move. Now I’m watching my Millennials raise there own little Alphas, in a world that’s a hell of a lot crazier than mine. But I’m going to sit outside in my rocking chair and enjoy my senior years; by not being critical of my kids and their choices and simply enjoy my grandkids. Which I do.
Pearls From Swine
Well I got the first of three loads of laundry done. With the breeze and the pleasant temperatures I should be done by the end of the day. I made pancakes this morning topped with sliced apple sautéed with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. It’s something Mr. French taught me while watching “Family Affair”. Lisa’s situated in her recliner, I got the bed’s made up and the medicine has been taken. I still got dishes to wash and lunch to prep, but my meds hadn’t kicked in yet so I’m just sitting outside chilling.
I just got through having a text conversation with a young friend, who for lack of a better word, I’ve adopted. Over the last few years I’ve given advice and encouraged them as much as I can over our cultural and long distance divide. Thinking about them and my own situation, I’ve gained some perspective over what my goals and dreams can be. I’m content with how the way my life is going. Financially everything’s pretty much crap. But spiritually and physically, I seem to be on an upswing. And while this sounds more like an update instead of some great moral truth. The quality of your life is about attitude and determination.
Right now I’m not feeling my best, and while this may calm down as the medication and a little quiet time kick in. Shit still has to get done. For the last 35 years, the only person I could depend on was myself. Recently my kids have helped, but with Lisa on the disabled list, it’s pretty much up to me again to steer the ship. While I’m not as strong as I used to be, things are getting done. Life often isn’t what we dreamed it would be. I’ve taken so many turns on my roadmap looks more like a maze. But it’s my maze to navigate. Look at your attitude and determination; and ask yourself , am I steering this thing in the right direction? If not, adjust as you see fit. Life is never going to be a straight path or an easy stroll.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.