Goodbye, blues …

Today is turning out to be a much better day than yesterday.


I’m not quite sure why it’s better, though. I slept poorly last night; I was wide awake every hour on the hour, and in between only managing a sort of restless half-sleep. It was filled with such odd plots and images about odd things that I knew I was dreaming, so I’d wake up on purpose to try to reset my brain. And there I’d be, awake and blinking in the dark, resenting Finny and PIB’s soft, contented snores.

I finally fell into a deeper sleep after 4 a.m.  And there I stayed until the beasties woke me up at 7. They were rarin’ to go and wanting their brekky.

So really, I should still be feeling pretty low, considering. Nothing has changed, after all. I still don’t have a job. I’ve been struggling hard with eating mindfully. My current nemesis? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. On white bread.  I’ve had three of those this week, and one is too many.

But wait, there’s more! Now that the summer is finally heating up, I’ve re-discovered that my old favorite, “but it’s too hot to walk!” still works as an excuse, just like it always did. There’s something twisted yet comforting in its trustworthyness.

Right. What else? Well, I still need a haircut, but I don’t want to spend the money on one. This frustrates me every time I pass a mirror. And my RA is always, always lurking. My hands are sore and my hips are annoyingly twingy. As usual.

Awwww, poor ol’ me … I ought to have my own personal little black cloud floating over my head, raining on me wherever I go! I can hear the sad violins …

Well, despite all this gloom and doom, today I’m miraculously free of yesterday’s soul-sapping blue funk. What gives?

Well, first off, I was born being a glass-half-full person rather than a glass-half-empty person. I instinctively look for the bright side of life, and there are many bright things about my current situation. Things such as, I’m not starving; I have a nice home and a warm bed each night; I have a loving and supportive family; I have my sweet, wee beasties; my garden; my love for cooking and writing and reading …

You get it, I’m sure. My list of bright-spots goes on and on. I only need to think about it a little, and if I’m honest, they’re impossible to ignore. I am very lucky.

Second, chances are good that when Congress returns from their Fourth of July recess, they’ll finally pass the unemployment insurance benefits extension. There will be something like 4.2 million long-term unemployed Americans (me included), whose benefits have been exhausted and who’ll be deeply grateful for that outstretched helping hand. This is not a permanent solution, of course, but it sure helps in the meantime. For an awful lot of us, it means the difference between getting by and poverty.

Third, yesterday’s blues made me ponder something I’ve avoided for a very long time. I’m a writer and an editor; I love both. When I was employed, I absolutely loved my job. I knew how lucky I was to have work I enjoyed so much. I worked as a reporter and editor for 13 years for the same newspaper group. My lay-off came out of the blue; it was a huge blow. I’d honestly expected to retire from that job someday.

Since then I’ve clung, rather desperately, to the idea that I can keep making a living as a journalist. I’ve hung onto it even as it became more and more clear that I can’t, unless I’m willing to relocate. And I’m not willing, given the current economy and the terrible housing market. Mr Wren’s health and disability issues would make moving even harder.

So what can I do?

Well, I need full-time work that pays enough that I can resume handling my half of our financial load. This isn’t just a choice, it’s a necessity. Really, it would be even better if I could find a position that pays enough to actually live on by myself, should I ever need to.

No, I’m not thinking of leaving Mr Wren, but I am being realistic. His health issues are not improving and he’s unwilling to work on them. I love the man dearly. But if he continues along the road he’s on now, I expect I’ll outlive him by many, many years.

I know that sounds heartless. But realistically, it means that I’ll be alone. I’ll have to be able to support myself.

And I’m spoiled. I still want a job that I can enjoy. So I got to thinking about other things besides writing that I’m interested in. I’ve always had a fascination for the medical world. I love reading medical blogs, particularly those about working in the ER or about working as an EMT or paramedic. Why not figure out a way to get into the medical field as a second career?

Frankly, I think I’m probably too old to become a nurse. Who’d hire an inexperienced, rookie nurse in her mid-50s, anyway?  But I know for a fact that I could find work as a certified nursing aide or something else along those lines. I do realize that these are tough, often unpleasant jobs that don’t pay very well. Nevertheless, I’d like to be able to help and care for elderly and ill people who really need it. There’s a shortage of CNAs, so I’d always be able to find another job. And finally, upon googling I discovered that CNA training is available right here in my own community. So I’m going to look into it.

I’d also love to be an EMT, and eventually, a paramedic. But once again, that may be unrealistic job for me, given my age and the fact of my RA. Our local community college offers beginning EMT courses, though, so I’ve decided to talk to a counselor there. Maybe he or she can give me some ideas.

Neither of these things are earth-shaking, I know. But for me, just facing up to the fact that I’m going to have to retrain for another type of job was a huge help. I may not end up being a CNA or an EMT/paramedic, but I’ll end up in the medical field somewhere. After writing, medicine and healing others is my next big interest and always has been.

I just have to take that first, tenuous, scary step.

Oh, and one more thing: I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the kindness, concern and advice from all of you, my blog-friends, regarding yesterday’s blue mood. Once again, thank you all so much! Your caring comments gave me hope, some great ideas, and contributed a whole lot to my much brighter mood today.

7 thoughts on “Goodbye, blues …

  1. I like the new blog format.

    Also, I’m glad to hear things are looking up. Sometimes it seems nothing outwardly has change, but something in our perspective shifts subtly to provide a different outlook and make things more tolerable.

    I’ve considered nursing or EMT work, too, but don’t think my joints are up to doing much CPR, so EMT is out for me. CNA is a great option – and from what I’ve read, it sounds like they’re desperate for competent people; I hope it works out for you. I’ve been thinking of looking into the requirements for learning how to be a physical therapist. There’s a huge need, and it’s good money (at least right now). I’m looking forward to hearing what you learn.


  2. Let me add my vote of approval of the new blog format. Yes, I like it very much. I like even more that you’re out of the dumps and back into a positive frame of mind. A lot of people our age are retraining for new jobs and finding a whole new lease on life at the same time. Congratulations on having the courage to look outside your comfort zone. Keep us posted on your progress. All the best.


  3. Oooohhhh….new look on your blog. Fun!

    I absolutely love that you are looking outside what you are comfortable with and know well. Something is sure to come along with this new open mind to the endless possibilities. Yay for you!


  4. I speak from experience when I say CNAs are desperately needed. I am the director of a program that provides services to adults with developmental disabilities. May of the folks we provide for have involved medical conditions. For those programs I hire CNAs and nurses. I don’t think we have ever been fully staffed ever. You may also want to think about working as a regular aide in a program like mine. We are always looking for caring, patient people. You would be surprised to find out how many programs like mine are in your area. You can’t get rich doing it but the personal enjoyment and satisfaction are tremendous. Recently I have found myself hiring a lot of people in their 40’s 50’s and 60’s to work in the programs I run. Age doesn’t matter. A good heart does. You have a good heart. With your optimistic view I am sure you will find something you enjoy. CNA, EMT or something totally different.

    Love the new blog format and am glad to see your blues are fading. Always the optimist. It’s a good way to live.


  5. YAY! I am glad you are feeling better. Being stuck in the blues is never fun. I have a habit of getting there myself despite being fairly optimistic. I hope you find something in the medical field that really interests you and lets you help out (and get paid)!


  6. There’s also working as a patient advocate. A lot of hospitals have started hiring them – they’re people who need to be familiar with the medical world so they can help a patient navigate it and get the care they need. That can mean things like making sure that the doctor’s orders are followed, making sure the patient gets the tests and whatnot the doctor wants, and helping the patient with problem solving about care problems. There’s a lot more to it, but it’s getting late here so that’s all I can think of.



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