For several days, the sensation I've had upon awakening has been akin to the aftereffects of a death in the family. I open my eyes in the morning, the sun streaming in, my dog and cat curled up next to me, everything seemingly right as rain. And then I remember.
I remember that the country I live in is gripped by fear and calamity. I remember the fact that in order to maybe (and only maybe) save the house I live in, I will have to move into the tiny one room guest house and rent out my beautiful home to strangers. I remember that George W. Bush really did fulfill the legacy of a humorous bumper sticker from years ago: "Frat Boy Drives Country Into Ditch." Except now that it's happened, it's not so funny.
I want to feel hope. And yet, not even Obama with hope as his byline, is making me feel hopeful. I want to get into action. But I can't find a job to save my life (literally). But I'm tired of crying in my beer (or coffee if you like). The only thing really left for me to do, besides pack up my belongings and move 50 yards from where I currently sit, is to undergo a seachange.
I'll start with the 12 boxes of gently worn clothing I can't fit in the closet in the guest house; off to Goodwill. Then, I'll look around the web to learn where my time might be a valuable commodity. Because believe it or not, there are people who are hurting even worse than me. There's a great format in AA speaking - you tell your story, with all its horrors, but then you talk about the solution. Because there always is one when you hand the whole thing over to the Universe, God, the OG, Mother Earth, Grandfather Spirit, the guy upstairs. And that's where this country is today. We are all in the soup. Almost all of us are in a worse place today than we were one year ago. Or even two weeks ago. And it's funny what desperation will do. God probably hasn't received this much attention in YEARS.
People say how could God have let this happen to us? Only last week I was railing at God, saying "How do you expect me to fucking LIVE if you don't let me get a JOB? What am I going to DO? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME???"
But the fact is, God isn't doing this to me. I've done it to myself. I stayed in advertising when, years ago now, I was getting little messages that I might be skating on the "too old to be hired" ice. I continued to bash my head against the brick wall, continued to tell myself that a superficial industry, made up of people so fearful about image they'd gladly disavow their own parents, background, ethnicity, would be forgiving of my age. "No!" all my friends cried when I told them my suspicions, "That's not possible! You are so youthful! You don't look a day over 40. Well, 43!" Yeah, that's true, I do have great bones and a beautiful complexion on my side. Until HR does a background check and discovers my age is ...not actually 43.
God didn't get us in the credit mess. The Wall Street mess. The housing mess. That was purely of our own doing. So how do we expect God to get us out of it? Yet we do. I look at my neighbors on either side of me and swallow the lump in my throat when I realize I'll probably be the only one on our street who may be looking at staking a "Forclosure" sign on her front yard. I look at their marriages, partnerships, families - and wonder why I am not driven to couple up. Having been married twice, and especially badly the second time around, it's no wonder I cling to my freedom as I do. But in a time like this, maybe having someone else to shoulder the burden...?
Here again, though, I must observe: God did not bar me from a relationship. I elected to stay in Los Angeles, where women over 40 might as well have discovered the formula for invisibility. And now, in a kind of last ditch effort to stay alive, I'm climbing up to the crow's nest which is the only above water part of the sinking ship I'm on. Good instincts, but too little too late.
It's time to jump. As frightened as I am, as burdened and hopeless as I feel, I am a fighter. I always have been. I had to reinvent at 37 when I suddenly became a single mother with no marketable skills. I was pretty cute and knew my way around headlines, taglines, and copy. And that business served me well for years. But now that boat is going down. And I refuse to go down with it.
I looked at my life the other night. I mean, I took a hard look at it. And I discovered a few things that might result in a career change. I felt the tingling of apprehension. I heard the negative self-chatter, "You can't do this, you're too old, you're a loser, you can't do this, you're too old, you're a loser, you can't...". But on the edges of all it, I saw bits of light. I felt hope.
There's a metaphor I like to use for life. It's when two trapeze artists are swinging towards each other, and the one has to let go of her bar in order to catch hold of the other's hands. You have to let go in order to hold on.
It's time to let go. And see what happens when I perform without a net.