It’s fall, my favorite season. This will be my third fall as an unemployed, and for all intents and purposes, retired person. It’s hard to bring up any particular memories from the other two fall seasons. I spent so much of my energy that first year or two after the End of the Terrible Job just breathing, walking, eating, and sleeping. There were other activities for sure. But my main emphasis was navigation of the basics of sustaining physical life.
I thought that by taking care of the basics I would be allowing for the evolution of my emotional health. I thought that all my reading and learning would help me to gain skills in the area of balanced and healthy relationships.
I am healing and I am improving my relationships to a certain extent. But it seems to me that it is not enough and that it will not be enough at this stage of the game to ever become what I might have become.
At the store recently I was leaving as a former co-worker entered. She looked right at me for a moment and then smoothly turned away so as to not have to speak. So subtle was the turn away that I might have been able to dismiss it. Except that this was not the first time I have been snubbed by former co-workers. This was a person who I had very little of a direct working relationship with and had mostly gotten along with. Mostly because I always went with her flow. I went along to get along.
Years ago a customer of hers committed suicide. It became known because of how he did it and so it made the newspaper. I knew him also because I had worked with him at a previous job. I had liked him but knew that he was intense and very held-in. I was not entirely surprised at how his life ended. She, however, was completely blind-sided and felt that because she had interacted with him for about three minutes a day for a few years, that she knew him and knew he would NEVER do such a thing. She tried to explain it as some kind of huge misunderstanding and seemed on some level to believe that it was a murder. I could not convince her otherwise and finally gave up trying to educate her about depression.
So, this is the person who snubbed me in the grocery store. No great loss I suppose.
This has happened a few times with different people over the past couple of years. Others have been polite to me and a couple are still friends. But the ones who treat me rudely and dismissively are bothersome for some reason.
I have burned bridges, or had them burned for me, all my life.
I think that I never had the sense of worth that I needed to navigate normal life. Sometimes it didn’t matter. When I was surrounded by decent people, they allowed me to just be who I am without harsh judgment. When I was surrounded by toxic people, then my weaknesses became entirely who I was.
There were turning points over the years that slipped through my fingers because I didn’t recognize them as such. I didn’t even know what the problem was. Now I do know, but I think, so what now?
Do I blow off all of my relatives because I am so incompatible with them? No, I don’t, not all of them anyway.
Do I move away to a place where the people are more open-minded so I don’t have to hold back so much? There are other considerations so, no, I don’t.
I am the responsible one. I do my duty to the best of my ability.
If I needed to live somewhere else, I needed to have done that decades ago instead of purposely coming back here to slay the demons. If I needed to blow off the toxic relatives I needed to do that before my sister did it first, which left me as the only one to take care of aging parents.
I wasn’t thinking that way, though, when I was younger and hopeful and full of energy.
I know people who have started over at this stage of the game. They did so successfully I might add. They are people who have a happy disposition and who believe in their own worth. They have each had terrible difficulties in life. But they have a resilience that I do not have and cannot seem to figure out how to develop.
There are good reasons for me to keep trudging along and I will. A lot of what I am doing now, working on now, are things that I wish I had known to do when I was a kid or in my twenties or even thirties. It’s very daunting to be in my fifties and having to re-raise myself almost from scratch.