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.



14 thoughts on “Reading and Writing My Way Out”

    1. I read my daughter’s birthday post on Instagram and realized there is SO much I have to be thankful for….along with amazing friends like you! Thanks for always being there.

  1. I’m so sorry about the pain and sorrow in your life right now, but so glad that you are finding a way to work through them with reading and writing. What a positive, empowering choice! The quote you shared from “Happy Dreamer” is wonderful. Clearly you also have supportive friends who know you well! Take care!

  2. Seeing your two lists side by side… jarring. I, too, appreciate how the lens of literacy — the stories we tell — can shape our perceptions powerfully, and I admire your concerted effort to embrace all the narratives, including remembering overlooked ones.

    1. I really should consider telling more stories (vs. reading them). I need to find my way there. I have stories. Now I need to learn to tell them well. Thanks for your responses.

    2. And then I read your post…..If we are the stories we tell and coining new stories has inherent power to change us, I would do well to listen better to what my students narrate — both to the world and themselves. Beautiful!

  3. What a slice! Full of emotion. Reading and writing are means to climb in or out of places that life takes us. Your slice is a reminder to all of us that life happens and we can get into funks and sometimes, it takes work to get out of that funk. I know you will climb your way out with reading, writing, and connecting! In the end, you will have learned something that will make you stronger! Thanks for sharing!

  4. My mom passed away in September at 90. I found myself in a sad funk and writing helped me too. It is easy to let yourself sink into a pit of despair, but counting your blessings puts many things in perspective. Great post!

  5. While I don’t have your trouble list right now, I am definitely experiencing the November dip. I have so many little inspirational quotes and things to try and help me get through rough patches, but I guess the biggest thing at 59 for me is that we aren’t finished yet. We are still learning, still wondering, still making an impact. Isn’t that all we ever wanted?

    1. Oh yes….you are so right. We are still learning, wondering, and making an impact. Putting this writing into the world has helped too. Having these honest responses has reoriented me and put me on a better, more optimistic and hopeful, path. Thank you. My dad actually told me that when he turned 59, he started a whole new journey in his life, teaching painting in France. He is now 88 and still painting.

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