Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Some are sheltered...

...and some are not.

For many years, I’ve walked life’s high wire without a net. It was a conscious, deliberate choice, one that for many years I did not regret at all. I went into a career that demands a certain level of self-reliance while understanding that it made me vulnerable to the actions – and inactions – of others. I chose to follow a path of reserving intense commitment to others until I really meant it. You can work for yourself, but you need others to pay you for your work. You can love yourself, but at a certain point you need others – at least one other – to love you as well.

The only safety net I have ever sought, in my business and personal lives, has been the integrity of others. It has not turned out to be a very safe net.

I know – and know of – many people whose continued existence depends on helping hands that offer things these people can’t (or won’t) provide for themselves. Most of the time, I haven’t begrudged them their safety nets. Hell, I’ve even contributed to the sheltered state some people enjoy, offering what I could to make them feel safe and appreciated. Loved, even.

As time grows shorter, however, I’m beginning to wonder if I blew it. Clearly, I’ve made some errors of both commission and omission that are coming back to haunt me. I’ve been finding that I lack certain personality traits that are vital for success and to entice other people to want to be around me.

Some I could pretend to have, if I was willing to present a dishonest front. Maybe people would see right through any attempt to do that; it seems to me that one has to have a talent for self-misrepresentation to make that work. I don’t think I have it.

Worse, I’m beginning to wish I had access to the shelter some seem to take as a right. I wish I could just hand my troubles over to someone else when things go sour.

Though I was born in the last century, I was taught a code that belongs more appropriately to the century before that. I was taught to keep my emotions to myself, was taught that hard work brings rewards, was taught that talent is recognized, was taught that a person’s word is their bond. The first is something I have grown increasingly unable to do, the second, third and fourth have been proven, over and over, to be lies.

PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: Don’t think for a moment that I’m saying everyone is against me. I know better than that. I have a couple of friends who would go to great lengths to offer help and comfort, as I would for them. But the kind they can offer -- or that I can offer them -- don't quite go far enough any longer.

Nor am I blaming everyone else for my obvious screw-ups. I know what part I've played in digging this hole. That doesn't necessarily excuse others who have gleefully helped to deepen the hole, though. It is not self-pity to apportion the blame where it belongs.


Many wise people believe in the words they read that exhort them to "accept what life gives you," that tell them what they imagine for themselves is what will happen, that tell them if others make you angry it is your responsibility not to be angry, that tell them if you can somehow picture happiness in your mind it will be your lot in life. If these beliefs work for them, that's a good thing and I'm all for it. My experiences have led me to believe none are true for me.

I have imagined a lot of happy scenarios, have even worked to make them real. They did not work out. When I have refused to be angry when others do things deserving of anger, it seemed to spur them to redouble their efforts to hurt. When I pictured happiness, the pictures never came out right. Probably my fault.

I’m getting a little frightened here, friends. My abilities to trust, to feel sadness and/or pity for others, to walk the high wire unprotected, are vanishing. My desires remain, my belief in their eventual fulfillment is vanishing.

Simply not feeling sad is no longer a satisfactory goal. There’s not enough time left on the game clock for that to be acceptable any longer. My list of needs has been pruned down to two, perhaps three, items. Even those seem unattainable.

So the Question of the Day is: what do you do when the game is almost over and you feel that all the years, all the work, all the emotions put out there, have led to nothing?

And what are you supposed to do with whatever days or years are left?

I wish I could be sheltered. At least enough to regain my ability to get back on the high wire again.

11 comments:

Interested said...

Every action or inaction prodeuces some sort of effect. I know you know already. So far in my own I regret certains I did and didn't do. Sometimes I spend time thinking about those things, then end up depressed at where I am today because maybe things would've been different. To think on them at all though is self-hampering. The past is the past and you cannot change it. You can only change today for tommorrow is not a given.

Scrib, I know you work hard and are taken advantage of. That is not right. Don't these jobs have contracts? Hire a collection agency to get your money.

As far as the other stuff, I just don't know. Are you able to actually get out and meet other women in your line of work? Hey, Vegas....there ya go....showgirls ;)

Kidding.

MrScribbler said...

Int -- though it sounds odd, this is not a business that makes much use of contracts. The old verbal agreement is supposedly enough.

Having done it before (in my previous career) I don't want to get involved with someone who shares my profession. It's better to be with someone who brings other interests to the deal and is eager to share yours.

I have no trouble meeting women. I just don't seem to find anyone with whom I can fall in love and end up trusting at the same time.

likeisaid said...

A couple of years ago (I had just turned 60) when I had the heart attack, my doctors attitude was like..you're not going to be around very long. Well, maybe not but who knows? Now with Paul going through what he is, again, who knows? We do have each other and for that I'm thankful but I surely know where you're coming from. At least we have each other for however long that is.

I so wish you could find someone that you could be truly happy with MrS. You have so much to give.

I agree with Interested. There must be a way that you can find someone that you love AND trust. My stepfather is 84 and he found his true love. :)

Good wishes as always. :)

PS, I failed the test again..hope this doesn't show up twice. Once is enough, lol.

Birdie said...

I'm with Interested... do something!

There MUST be something you can do to earn some catch, like teaching at a local school or something.... use your talents! Offer articles to local papers! don't wait for editors to come to you... present stuff to them BEFORE that! gosh,

I know it's easier to give advice as an outsider, but this entry really worried me..... :-(

lowandslow said...

Obviously your position today, both personally and professionally, is "down". But have you ever enjoyed the "high" of success, however fleeting? As interested said, looking back at all the misfortune and heartache in ones life does no good, except to learn from those mistakes we've all made. I, too, have become cynical. If I tell someone something, they can put it in the bank. That's rare today. It's sort of like something Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust, but verify."

Might there be a fork in the road, career wise? You are an amazing writer. Can that talent be put to work elsewhere?

Scribbs, nobody has the answer to yor question. I don't know what you should do. But I do know what you should NOT do...don't give up. Wish I could be more help, friend.

kathy said...

I wish there was an easy answer. I keep telling myself all the shit I went through was to teach me something, make me kinder, more sympathetic than apethetic. I know some people don't deserve what's happening at all, yet they still get one thing piled on top of another.
Perhaps you need to do something different to meet the kind of person you'd like to be with. Volunteer for a organization that's close to your heart. It's something I've been meaning to do but putting off.
I hope things change for the better soon!
*hugs*

Anneotherme said...

"And what are you supposed to do with whatever days or years are left?"

This is what I do . . .
Make the most out of what ya got.

Carry on!
Anne

gillardia said...

I agree with interested -- you can't change the past, so dwelling on it will do no good. I hate to see you in pain. There has to be something you can do to meet that person that changes your whole outlook. She IS out there, Scribbs. I just know it. There were times in my life I truly believed I would never feel love again -- I was wrong. It will happen for you, too.

Gill

MrScribbler said...

Now I'm totally confused -- some people whose advice I trust say "stop looking and she'll appear," while others say "get out there and look!"

For the record, the last one (so to speak) sought me out, and led the waltz that ended up with her bugging out after professing undying devotion....

HarpO'Fly said...

Good question. I have been asking myself the same thing. Only one suitable answer comes to mind, ignore the clock. Move on however seems right at the moment. Often, nothing does.
I wonder if I am capable of even feeling some things, but only because no one has sparked those feelings recently. There's always the chance to get burned again, but there is also the chance of avoiding past mistakes. It narrows the field but also narrows the risk.
Screw the clock. It could have ended long ago in any number of ways, so why consider that aspect?

KauaiFinn said...

i am far too cynical about life to offer any good advise at all.

i COULD say forget about the "shoulda, coulda, woulda's" and "live for TODAY!!" - but also know that it's nearly impossible to avoid the wandering eye that's always locked in on tomorrow, and the regretful eye that's always locked in on yesterday.

see what i'm saying? i'm too misanthropic to be of any help.

misery loves company - so, here are some big Hawaiian **hugs** for you!

Hoping your trip to Vegas is a good one and brings you home in better spirits!

Alooooooooha!
***WHY TO I CONTINUE TO FAIL THIS "WORD VERIFICATION" THING???