Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Challenge

I'm home. I'm out of work.
I was happy as a secretary in the school system.
The economy feels like it is collapsing.
My heart starts to pound
when I hear about the public employees in Wisconsin.

My husband is working.
He's been working for years at the same job. It pays the bills.
Is he happy?
Eh. It pays the bills. He's good at what he does.
But there is a reason they call it "work".
His career is in consumer electronics.
Stuff people want, but not stuff people need.
Not stuff people are going to buy if they have no jobs.

My husband and I - we are getting older.
The kids are leaving.
It's not empty nest syndrome yet, but it's pretty close.
They don't need me to "mommy" them anymore.
They need me to kick them out of the nest.
They are teetering on the edge, and stretching their wings.
It's almost time.

I expected that the job I had was going to take me through to my golden years.
The husband was going to retire sooner rather than later.
I'd retired once already, when I had kids.
I was happy being back to work.
I wanted to work for the next 25 years.

Things change.

You are walking down the trail,
through a forest, in deep leafy green.
Your pack is comfortable on your back.
Heavy, yes, but it's not more than you can handle.
Sometimes you have to jump from stone to stone
and sometimes you have to cross a stream
and sometimes you have to push through the brush
but the forest is green and comforting.
The trail is leading you uphill
and you are getting tired, and a bit achey,
but you rest for a few minutes and then keep going.

Things change.
The trail turns slightly
and you realize that in front of you
is a rock wall.
You can't go around it
and you can't go back.
This is the next step on the trail.

And there is no guarantee
that you CAN climb it.
You aren't in the greatest shape,
after all.

Sure, other people
have been able to climb it.
But how?
There are no instructions.
Only a few scattered blazes
to give you some suggestions.
There are no guarantees.
This is NOT Disney world.
You know that rattlesnakes
like to linger in the rocks.
Other hikers have mentioned
a rattlesnake right here,
somewhere in this pile of rocks.
And the rocks are slippery.
Even if every other person
has been able
to climb these rocks,
you could be the one
in a million
to slip
and hit your head and die.

These thoughts
are rolling through your head
as you start picking your way
up the rock wall.

But -
taking it one step at a time -
I don't know how I'm going to make it
up ahead.
But this one step,
I can put my right foot right there.
And then what?
I have no idea.
But I can put my left foot
right here.

all the way up
one step
at a time
is really slow
and not very pleasant.
And your pack
becomes much heavier
and you can barely
look around at the scenery.

Finally reaching
the top of this cliff,
you look farther ahead
and you see
a whole new landscape.
The views are beautiful,
completely different
than hiking in the valley of trees.
You look ahead and realize
that there is another rock wall,
not so far away.
And you have no idea
how you are going to
make it up that wall
But you can see where you should put this one foot.

True story.

So I guess that's why
even though I'm really worried about our future
I haven't given in to complete despair.
And the kids are about to jump out of the nest,
but they have also proved that they are the kind of kids
to come back and help sherpa their momma if she needs it
over the rough patches.

My challenge.

I'm lazy.
I get "blah"
and I don't write
and I don't make money
and I don't do much of anything.

My challenge
Is to just keep moving
and take the next step
and not just sit by the trail
and daydream.


roller coaster teacher said...

Hi Sue - I have not been reading your blog lately - just catching up a bit now - I wish you all the best! Just as you said, one step at a time, you will make it through!

Sue said...

Thanks! I haven't been writing that often, so you haven't been missing much. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Punam said...

Heyy Sue, everything will be fine. Your attitude for one is on the right track. Half the battle won. Hang on there, right there and be sure of your footsteps. Your paintings are pretty good. Think on those lines. :)
And God will open another door. Be sure to watch out for it, Ok?
Hugs, Punam

Sue said...

Thanks Punam! I am still hopeful, but you are right, I need to watch for the door opening :)

Karen said...

Sue, I enjoyed reading this post. The journey that you are on reminds me of my own. It truly is a journey. You are seeking a comfortable place to land, a place where you can be who you're meant to be in this life. I think the seeking intensifies as we get older and the children leave home. The journey can be quite uncomfortable at times because there's so much self-doubt. Keep seeking and the answers will come. They may not appear overnight but they do come. I've been trying to find a "comfortable" place for years now. I haven't quite arrived but I'm definitely getting closer.

Netizen101 said...

Hi Sue,

One small step at a time. Things will change; things will get better. You will see.

If it is any consolation, I am more or less experiencing the same thing at the moment. I was forced into retirement 5 years ago when business failed and I haven't done any work since then. Not sure what I can do, what I want to do. Waiting day after day for things to turn around, for that bright spark to ignite and to get things going.

Keep your spirits up. Who knows what tomorrow may bring.


Sue said...

Karen, Thanks :) The worst part is that the place I thought I had landed, my old job, was one that I really enjoyed! I'm still upset about the budget cuts that forced me out. On the other hand, having been forced out of my comfort zone for a while made me appreciate things more. Now, If I can just get back to the comfort zone and still retain what I've learned....

Sue said...

Thank you!
I am trying to just keep taking that next step. I'm surprised that I'm so optimistic still, considering how many people I talk to who have been out of work for a long time. I hope that you are doing ok, my best hopes go out to you!