Neglecting a blog for as long as I have, I can’t help but wonder who’s still around (other than the inevitable people who just follow every blog so that you’ll follow them back and buy into their product or self-help bullshit).
I wonder who’s around not only because I’ve neglected my own blog, but because I’ve also neglected reading and commenting on my favorite blogs.
This isn’t surprising, really: 2016 has been a year of many neglected things.
Among the things neglected this year:
- My diet. The 15 pounds I lost on Weight Watches has come back along with another 15 pounds. Perhaps I picked up a few of Oprah’s lost pounds.
- My health. Anxiety has played a bigger role in my health problems this year than in the past. Most of my life, the anxiety affected my health by way of chest pain. It was many years and several pills later that someone finally realized that I was just having anxiety attacks and not a heart attack, or an attack of the gallbladder, or angina, or severe GERD. This year has brought lots of pain to most of my body – joints, muscles: this is apparently quite common among caregivers of loved ones with dementia. Also – and I didn’t know this was a thing – stress/anxiety induced asthma (again, common among caregivers, especially those prone to anxiety already). I’ve managed to increase my prescriptions by 3 this year.
- Time. Lots of lost time this year. I find concentration difficult. Writing involves more effort than usual – even my journal is sparse. I should be keeping track of everything that’s happening, everything that has been going on with mom, just so I have a record in case I wish to look back at this period of my life. There are moments when I realized I’ve been sitting in a chair for an unspecified amount of time, having done nothing, unaware of what I’ve been thinking; I have no idea when I last looked at the clock, no idea why I was even sitting in that particular place. I’m certain I sat down to do something: make a phone call, add an appointment to the calendar, make a reminder to do something. By the time I’m recalled to the present moment, I’m not certain what I was supposed to be doing.
- Writing. Yes, I mentioned it above, but since it is an important part of my life it is worth mentioning again. It has taken me sixty-seven minutes to write this far. Words don’t come as easily as they once did; neither does the organization; neither does the theme that holds the words together. I’d thought I’d write some more poetry, it being a shorter form of writing, but that’s not worked out well either.
- Reading. This was the year I was going to focus on reading more than murder mysteries. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with a good mystery. They occupy your brain, without being deep like Kafka or Sartre, requiring lots of serious thought and analysis as you read. Mysteries have a goal: whodunnit. Many novels often leave you with a sense of ‘what just happened?’ So, mysteries are good when you need something focused, that pulls you along to an inevitable end – the unmasking of the killer. No, this year was going to be the year I read not one, but two new translations of The Illiad; I was going to (finally!) read Don Quixote and give Trollope a try. This was the year I was going to read lots of short stories, to figure out the appeal. I had some World War I and World War II history books I wanted to read; several biographies to catch up on. I bought, and was going to read several of the classic Civil War histories – something I’ve long been interested in learning about, but have never gotten around to. This was the year I was going to read more authors from various countries: Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Russia, South America, The Middle East, and Africa. I did well at the beginning of the year. But it’s back to mysteries. And, for every mystery I’ve read, I’m grateful. They’ve helped me escape. They’ve helped me hold on to my sanity.
I’m sure this all sounds like complaining. Partially, yes. A bit of self-pity is needed from time to time. But it also helps me gather my thoughts, helps me begin to see all that I’ve given up in order to be a caretaker. This are the things one doesn’t think about, the things one doesn’t discover until they’re right on top of you and you realized they’ve been sucked out of you.
The tangible things are easy, you realize most of them at the beginning: the loss of a job; the loss of time in the workforce (it’s been eight years since I’ve worked); the loss of job potential – I’m 50, unemployed 8 years, re-entering the workforce in the future won’t be easy. It takes a bit longer to realize some of the other sacrifices, such as not paying into Social Security, not having money to add to your 401k, realizing that with each passing year the security of your own twilight years gets skimpier and more frugal.
This is, perhaps, enough whining, complaining and depressing thoughts for one post. And, it’s been nearly three hours since I started writing this, and I’ve lost the thread of where I was going.
Maybe I’ll find the thread again soon.