‘Parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme’

When you spend as much time alone as I do, you’re bound to meet your demons head-on — particularly if you’ve been running from them for years. And sometimes, even the Muse needs to take a vacation from me, so I’m left to do the battle alone until she returns.

I try not to spend a lot of time dealing with Regret. I figure, I don’t have enough time in a day to think about the things that are productive, so why get whiplash looking back? But sometimes, when the current stretch of highway is a scary one (I feel like I’m driving endlessly around the Beltway right now), I start glancing in the rearview mirror, wondering what made me decide to get into this lane and what would have happened if I had taken the exit that had just passed. What makes me stay on this crazy expanse of interstate? What makes me get that gut feeling that I will benefit if I wait three more exits?

I’ve seen what anxiety, stress and worry has done to my family (my grandmother worried herself into a stroke, and some days, I feel like I am going to follow that same path), and that scares me even more. I want to go back to how I was in college — I had the standard mountain of debt and all the angst that accompanies coming into one’s own, but I barely gave two thoughts to not making it. Survival has always been my traveling companion, and I’ve just assumed that I would reach my destinations unscathed.

Turning 30 has brought a weird nostalgia, though, for a time I never knew. I was grooving to some ’60s tunes today (“Scarborough Fair,” anyone?) and really felt like I’d missed my calling. I should have been a flower child, wearing patchouli and protesting against war and for women’s rights. I probably would have married an ambitious corporate type — someone stable — and cleaned up my act, only to do professional lobbying for the causes that ignited me.

That’s the life I want. I’ve been so career-driven that, when the work trickles away, I find how I’ve sacrificed relationships and friendships because I was always too stressed out or too busy to cultivate them. I’ve let hobbies and passions fall by the wayside. I’m looking at all of my barely started creative projects and wondering if I could get any money for the materials so I can keep the Internet going for another month. I look at my female friends who were, like me, so “I must be career-oriented” — the friends who are now content to be wives and lovers (but not mothers — this group wasn’t the kid-friendly type!). I witnessed that last night, and I found myself wistfully wondering what it would be like to work part-time so that I could keep up with my volunteer work. And by rights, that’s what I’m doing anyway, only without a steady income coming in to make sure I could keep up my humanitarian efforts. 😉

I heard a horrible story tonight on the news — how a woman and her four children were evicted from their apartment and she locked the two younger kids in her storage unit while she worked. The newscasts are just fascinated by this snapshot of what they call “the working poor.” But, really, isn’t that most if not all of us? I know I digest myself over finances (the lack thereof), but there’s a humanitarian cause that makes me pound the table — when people are working and still unable to afford shelter. But let me add the codicil that the woman’s community is outraged, of course, because there are children who are homeless. And, yes, that’s a travesty. But what about the fact that the woman can’t afford to have a roof over their heads, especially as winter dawns and as Santa Claus won’t be coming?

That’s my problem with society. The kids can always be shoved into some type of group home or foster situation. Not great, but whatever. It’s better than being on the streets, for the most part (and yes, I’ve seen exceptions). But what about the adults who can’t get the ends to meet within the same zip code of each other? Too bad. The homeless shelters are full. When you can’t pay your rent, they padlock your place, and all the stuff for which you have worked so very hard is locked away, inaccessible to you. Don’t think I don’t think that can’t be me someday, and maybe that’s why I’m so passionate about that. Even when I had a reliable income, I was always one paycheck away from being on the street. And even right now, I know I will somehow be OK for December, but what about January? And while I don’t condone the woman’s actions of putting her kids in a storage unit for the day, well, I understand the desperation that forces such deplorable decisions. May none of us ever be faced with such choices.

In any event, I don’t regret the decisions I’ve made. But that doesn’t stop me from wondering where I would be if I hadn’t depleted so many financial and emotional resources going down dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs. But it’s not too late. I’ve got to keep my eyes on the horizon and try not to fall into the grooves and potholes that continually threaten damage. I’ve got to recapture that period in my life when I didn’t know how I was going to cross the finish line — I just knew I was going to do it with dignity and a sense of satisfaction that there would be a reward for honesty, integrity and plain old hard work. And whenever the day comes, I will have flowers in my hair, if only in my mind. 😉

On iTunes: Simon & Garfunkel, “Scarborough Fair”

3 Responses to ‘Parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme’

  1. Anonymous :

    well said, grrl.


  2. Anonymous :

    Thank you for taking the time to post the best read online today 🙂


  3. Suburban Island :

    You have great dignity and I think you are right no point with your entry today. I have real faith that you will land on your feet and be all the stronger for this. Hang in there.