Truckin’ On in These Uncertain Times

Do those last three words in the title make you cringe the same way they do me? I have to poke fun at my life right now. It’s just the only choice I can make.

I am seriously grateful for so many things, from not currently living in a war zone to more small things than I count on a daily basis. So much of gratitude is wrapped up in expectation, and “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” right?

The project has been a long shot from the beginning and we’ve had some setbacks on top of that, a big rash of them lately. I don’t really know if what I’m about to do is just vent, or if there’s some value to others in sharing this. People struggle, and they aren’t alone, but sometimes they feel like they are.

In the last paragraph of my last post I listed several things from Covid to a burst pipe that hit us in the last six weeks of the year. I didn’t mention everything there. My uncle died. He had just agreed to go to assisted living, then fell in the bathroom. A friend and a family member each lost houses in different fires. There’s more.

We’ve taken some financial hits. The pressure for me to get a job instead of pursuing this project is real, and getting more so every day. Toyota wants $5K for repairs (no, the Highlander doesn’t have half the miles it’s supposed to sail through). All of my big ticket purchases in recent years were “unlucky” models. I don’t buy first year models, still these brands with the super reliable reputations let me down. How big a deal these replacements are is entirely dependent on whether one has a generous financial buffer or plenty of disposable income. I’m completely average in that respect… These last few years took my buffer. Choosing the “unfortunate” year/models of Toyota, MacBook Pro, Galaxy 21 plus, and Nikon stings. Getting the wrong DSLR camera was the least problematic and totally on me, but being 4 for 4 on a tight budget really stinks.

The Thing That Brought me to my Knees Wasn’t Any of That

Coping has a lot to do with expectations. If I was in a war zone, my coping mechanisms would shift into survival mode and positive expectations would disappear. How heavy things feel has so much to do with the status quo or what a person thought would happen. Sometimes it isn’t even that an event couldn’t have been predicted, but that a dreaded place in life has arrived.

Mom hasn’t kept “regular” wakeful daytime hours in decades and often stays up all night. My sister shares her driveway, so she’s right there, but Mom doesn’t always have good mobility or carry her cellphone. She decided to change the AC filter after everyone went to bed and sat on a low seat to do it. The knee bend required to get up was too acute and there were no arm holds. She couldn’t get up, so, she got on the floor and made her way over to her recliner instead, then got tired of trying to get in it, grabbed a pillow and a throw and slept on the floor. In the morning, she was rested enough to make her way over to her cellphone and call for help.

Mom didn’t seem to feel bad about it. She’s told everyone. We all felt terrible for her though. She was stiff after and had a few rough days. I remind her sometimes that she can come up here when she needs assisted living. She doesn’t want to come to Atlanta though, and she doesn’t “get” me. Mom says we shouldn’t talk about the things we disagree on, but you know how that goes. If I can get her talking about when she was young, our daily conversation can be pretty nice, and some times she tells stories I haven’t heard.

Mom was recuperating from her night on the floor during our short, late holiday visit. I thought we’d all spend time telling our favorite stories about my uncle who just died (and there are so many stories to tell about the biggest character in our family). But, we actually spent most of the time catching up on undone preparations for the gathering. There were so many needs and wants flying around it was more like like whiplash than a party. It had been that way the year before too. I wanted to think everything was going well. It was so hard to make it happen. I went home thinking that changing the date had secured a treasured family gathering, and by the time all was said and done, I was wondering if it would ever come together again. I still do. The car ride back was quiet. Even our granddaughter was quiet.

Russ and I had words on New Year’s Eve. I think we each needed extra tenderness from each other and were both too frazzled to give it. That night I cried after everyone was asleep. It was intense. I’ve talked a couple of times about crying on this site, and I’m not really embarrassed about that. If you need to cry, cry. Not at work, do it at home. It’s healthier than a lot of other coping mechanisms.

I may not be embarrassed about needing to cry, but, it’s uncomfortable to be with someone in pain when you can’t do anything for them. I didn’t want anyone to have to listen to me. I don’t know that I’ve ever cried like I did that night. When there’s someone in every corner of the house it’s hard to find privacy, but the dam needed to burst.

I’ve been meditating a lot and concentrating on breathing, so that had it’s influence. I was trying to inhale through my swollen nose to force the passages open and reduce the chances that I’d get a sore throat, Then I wailed, first into my hands, then into a pillow when my hands weren’t enough to muffle the sound. I don’t know how long I cried, but it was a long time. I failed at keeping it to myself. The next day, Russ said he couldn’t tell what was happening and it scared him. After all that, on New Year’s Day I felt physically exhausted and terrible… and I felt the need to cry again, as if it had been years since I’d had a cry. I didn’t though, and haven’t since.

So much has been piling up. I still haven’t put all of the woe causing events out here for public consumption. Of those things I’ve shared, I’m sure anyone going through any of it can fill in details at least as taxing as my own.

I’m having trouble treading water, much less getting where I want to go. I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next year, whether I’ll have a successful high activity project I believe in, one that actually does make a difference to people, or a job that keeps me from getting even a healthy level of exercise. The stuff we’ve had to deal with swirling around with all our unknowns may be the problem that sent me over the edge, but, it was my mother I was thinking about through all the tears. Parents are the people who taught us about the world. They are the giants through whose eyes we learned to see. They give us more than genes.

And Then…

Russ called on the way home from work Wednesday. He asked me how I was doing. I said I was feeling a little bit rattled. He said he was going to rattle me a little bit more because he was going to have plenty of time to work on the project, he was now unemployed.

Keep on Truckin’. Have a glorious day, and I hope we’ll see you on the trail.

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