U-Turns #atozchallenge

U: Today’s Deb-Blog Has Been Brought to You by the Letter D for Detours and the Letter U for U-Turns

One of my life-long, great frustrations is when people, particularly politicians, make a statement or imply that everyone’s life has a linear pattern and, therefore, should achieve certain results through one’s “nose-to-the-grindstone” attitude in some tidy, linear way. I am wholeheartedly unsympathetic to those who make intentionally bone-head life choices or are surprised when those choices leave them in pitiful situations. But even people, like me, who are responsible and thoughtful in life have things happen that you don’t recover from quickly or ever. Life is hard. Life is complicated and messy. If rewarding at all, life knocks you on your butt at least once. And loss and illness and tragedy aren’t clean and easily rectified to a former homeostasis. 

Everyone has to try and some of us have to work harder than others because we weren’t, as the late, great Ann Richards said, born on third base and think we hit a triple. We all have to provide for ourselves. Of course. But when a guy has physical ailments later in life after playing football for years, I am not sympathetic. If a life-long smoker develops emphysema, diabetes or cancer, I am sorry they are ill but not all that sympathetic. (And I lost two smoking loved ones last year to lung cancer!)  Or when a full-grown man lives in his mom’s basement, sleeps until afternoon and won’t find a job, I am not sympathetic to his pathetic circumstances. Not gonna date you. When a single woman has children and no visible means to support them, I am not sympathetic. But when someone qualified for a job is not given opportunities or pay because of her race, gender or sexual-orientation, I am sympathetic. When someone in the military comes back to the States with post-traumatic stress disorder from her combat, I am sympathetic. When someone leaves paid work to care for a family member and gets behind financially and professionally, I am sympathetic. This last scenario happened to me.

I never gave it a second thought to have my dad with me and left paid work when he needed me more. No sacrifice for Mom or Dad would be too great. The very day Mom passed unexpectedly, I moved Dad in with me. They were the best ten years of my life. Those were the greatest two people I will ever know. 

So while others worked for ten years, advanced their careers, evolved professional interests, I was turned to my family. Like most people, ten years of experiences change you. I couldn’t make a u-turn to the jobs I had before. That option no longer fit me. The world around me changed, too. So I am not where I’d like to be in my career. I have to spend a whole lot of time and effort finding a new fit.

Not everyone haU DO not enters this detour in life. But in other countries, there is social support for unexpected and planned detours. Now, I was a saver and independent so I could afford to do this. I also nearly single-handedly built an addition to my house, adding equity to my property and bottom line, which mitigated not earning a salary. I paid cash because when you do your own labor, it’s just materials. But I sacrificed. It was worth it, fifty fold. But I am behind financially and professionally, which I hope to remedy as a public speaker and writer. But I haven’t had a vacation since 1998. Even my car is from the last century. And I have no time for much play, either. But I will make it, through no help from society or my government.

And I don’t expect special favors. I know I don’t live in a country that values what I did for my father, a war hero.  I’ll be fine. I wouldn’t change my choice for anything or anyone. But even the most responsible deserve a better social system than this country provides. Even the single mom who has kids she can’t support or the lazy guy in his mom’s basement deserves food, shelter and medical care. 

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3 thoughts on “U-Turns #atozchallenge

  1. When I prepared to return to work after the death of our 12-day-old second child, who was profoundly brain-injured at birth and never left the NICU, my employer told me something I have never forgotten.

    “Everyone’s biggest problem is as big as everyone’s biggest problem.”

    That advice helped me navigate the emotional minefield that we landed in when our baby died, and the joys of the next year, when our daughter was born.

    I think you’re maybe generalizing that single mother without means (we don’t know if she was raped, as a single friend of mine was, and chose to keep the child, or whether she thought she had the means, or whether she might have aborted a child, but some places make that an unpleasant or even dangerous prospect). The man who lives with his mother and sleeps till afternoon might have challenges that don’t show from outside, and he might, like me, do a lot of his best thinking overnight.

    I left the working world about a decade ago, when my oldest child was school-eligible, to focus my energy on his homeschooling. I don’t regret these years; my children are growing up, and soon won’t need me the same way they do now.

    It’s not valued by my government, but these years – no amount of money could equal these years. =D

    Interesting and thought-provoking post.

    Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
    @shanjeniah
    Part-Time Minion for Holton’s Heroes
    shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are always exceptions to generalizations. It was blatant the bias toward employees who had work conflicts because of a child and my conflicts when dad was ill. I’d had about enough when it was suggested I find a place to “put him,” after missing half a day. Imagine that suggestion if it were my child! All choices have consequences, though, and I think the common thread is taking personal responsibility and not blaming others. You’ve had your share of challenges. And I am sorry for your loss. I, too , find my greatest years in life were those with Dad. I wish I could show the world my wonderful parents. I am a cheap clone! Best and thank you for your thoughtful words. Debbie

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The idea of “putting” people somewhere as though they were disposable is repugnant to me. And I completely agree that there should be allowances made in the workplace for the fact that people have lives beyond their jobs.

        I forgot to mention that my car is old enough to vote! =)

        Like

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