Nothing Else Matters
Life has been a limbo. In a way, that is true. In another way the past three years have been a rebirth, a redefinition of what I am. I lost my job, my mother, my mind, my connections to friends – including the death of a best friend who I’d already lost to alcohol and mental illness before he passed. I lost identity. I lost the role I thought I’d been playing or was responsible for. I lost me.
I wouldn’t dare say we hit anything close to a rock bottom though. Because that would be an insult to the millions of people here in the states or the billions of people on planet earth who have lost it all – family and friends – possessions and identity. Everything. For me, this was a setback or a fork in the road. One of those many moments we all face where what seems to be the end is really a beginning.
I was going to trash the Information Technology job and make a stab at being a writer. And I’m glad I’ve spent a lot of the past few years writing it down, including my first book about the passing of my mom and the year and a half we had with her. I’d always wanted to have something tangible like a book to show I could start and finish a writing project. It didn’t even matter if it sold or if anyone read it. I just wanted to show I could do it. And I did.
As a year and then a second year passed of being unemployed and as we started to deplete all the savings and inheritance we had and we started living a bit less large than we could afford when I had an office and a position and insurance and status… I had to realize that writing wasn’t going to be the answer. It’s just something I do. If I was going to get back on my feet, I was going to have to go back to what I’d been trained in for the past two decades – the good ole computer industry. Uhg.
I think it took a lot of courage to write, to “come out” – especially the poetry. I’ve been a “poet” since I was in high school and I wrote my first poems “Emotionless Man” and “Poetry Man”. It felt good to let my feelings out in lyrics and with words. When I actually had the nerve to call myself a writer… some people called me a loser. Some called me a cheater – to run away from my profession. Jealous maybe that I wanted to escape what I felt was the rat race. They said I was an untalented dreamer but I just wanted to keep my dream alive. For all I know, this life is the only life – so why not go for your dreams?
Another dream emerged as well. As I realized that writing was a hobby I wanted to do more with someday, I realized what I really wanted was independence. To not be living at the whim of a corporation. And my wife and I started dreaming together about running our own place. Some kind of store that would capture what we both loved to do. Something we could do together and put our energy into. My mom was a fan of dreaming. She felt nothing comes to fruition without first just being a dream or a desire in a person’s soul. She encouraged us to dream and to think about the type of shop we’d like to run. She was always encouraging and had faith in us or anyone she loved.
We hit a spot now that we are technically poor again, at least based on last year's income. We qualified for our state’s insurance policy which let us breathe again that we could get sick and have coverage without bankruptcy. It’s the kind of insurance we’d like to see all people have. It really sucked worrying about what would happen to us if one of us got seriously sick or injured. Instead of hanging onto our house and home, we’d really be losing it. I’d also been hitting the IT job market hard and made some minor in-roads up to a point now where I have a really good chance to get back into a fulltime position with benefits. Three years ago I wanted to get out of the industry but now I’m eager to return. But not so we can stop dreaming about running our own store or for one of my books to catch the eye of a publisher. If anything, I think we’ll dream harder but hopefully without the panic of it is an all or nothing proposition.
Things seemed to be looking up, which makes me nervous - these things can turn so fast. We still have plenty of funds to exist in this underemployed living less than large lifestyle. We actually discovered we’d like to have less stuff anyway and that what we valued were our relationships and family. None of the rest of it really matters. I currently have a part-time telesales job where I take orders in a continuous cycle of hello – what do you want – thank you for buying it – repeat. It’s the hardest job I’ve had in the last twenty years, I think. But it has moments like when this older upbeat lady made my day with her positive outlook on life, which she attributed to the love of a good man. She said that the love of family and friends is what life was about and keeping that in mind helped her stay positive throughout the ups and downs that is everyday life. It made the drudgery of the rest of that day much easier to bare. At least I had a job, I was going to do it for my wife and kids and stop crying about it. Or at least, I was going to try my damndest to keep that upbeat heart and spirit that the caller from Kansas had imparted to me.
And as Trik Turner reminds us, “As deep as the abyss where the waters run, As deep as the land of the rising sun… You know I'm down and even when them odds are against us it doesn't even matter. Our love matters, [sharing this precious and brief time together matters]. Nothing else matters. We bleed the same blood. We cry the same tears. We have the same fears. We pass the same years. We see the same stars under the same skies. We pass the same time and we all live and die.” So even if this seemingly solid opportunity escapes me, I’ll move on to the next. As long as I keep in mind I’m not alone in it. That I have friends and family and an awesomely loving wife beside me - we will thrive and not just survive. We’ll do the things we have to do to be stable and we will continue to pursue our dreams. What matters is keeping the love in our hearts and remaining positive. Being together is what matters.
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