Reading and Writing My Way Out

This month has been hard.

-My cousin died at the age of 59.

-My uncle died.  He was 85 and ready, but watching my 88 year old dad grieve for his younger brother (on top of grieving for his niece) has been heart-wrenching.

-I’m worried about my dad dying.  He’s healthy, but he is 88.

-I didn’t get a job that I really wanted. Now what?

-My stepfather is really struggling with his health.

-I’m turning 59.

-My dear friend called me yesterday to tell me she has breast cancer.

There is a lot of bad going on right now.

What can I do?  I’ve decided to try to read and write my way out.  I’ve started keeping a list in my notebook about all of the things that are going well.

-I am lucky to be turning 59.

-My husband took me to see a Fleetwood Mac cover band for my birthday and we danced together. (I have always wanted to be Stevie Nicks!)

-My dad is here and healthy, and he lives close by so I see him all of the time. He just called and invited me over for a birthday dinner.  He says 59 is young!

-I have a job that I love.

-There is hope for my stepfather.

-In a few days my beautiful, diverse, crazy family will be gathering for Thanksgiving.

-I’m healthy (although my knee is giving me some trouble).

-Fall is my favorite season.

-Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

-My friends and colleagues are incredible.

I’m trying to read some books that will help me out too.

-I’m listening to Educated by Tara Westover.  OK, I have NOTHING to complain about.

-My dear friend gave me Happy Dreamer by Peter Reynolds (one of my favorite authors) for my birthday.  Here is a quote: “There are the moments I feel alone…boxed in. And yet, I always find a way back.  Plunging into amazing, delightful, happy dreams.”

-I read this quote by Kahlil Gibran on Facebook: “Kindness is like snow, it beautifies everything it covers.”

I can’t say I feel like my old Happy Dreamer self, but I’m reading and writing my way back.  I feel sorry for the people who don’t turn to literacy to save them.  It’s right there:  All you need is a pen and paper, or to turn a few pages, and you can work to save yourself.



I Voted!

This has been a tough year on a few fronts.  While a lot has gone well, there have been some hard times.  On a personal level, I have dealt with the loss of a dear (and far too young) cousin, and the slow deterioration of my stepfather’s health. Professionally there have been lost opportunities, disappointments, and days that felt like we weren’t heading in a clear direction.

The political landscape has been difficult too.  Where once I was filled with hope for a world that seemed to be coming together, this year I’ve been shocked and horrified by the divisive, mean, and oppressive nature of our national discourse.  I’ve been trying to read and understand, talk with friends on multiple sides of the issues, but I’ve still ended up feeling helpless, depressed, and frustrated by the state of our nation, and our world.

Today I feel empowered.  Today I voted.  I don’t know if my one vote will have much impact, but I’m reminded of Margaret Mead’s famous quote:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”

Here’s to changing the world….for the better!