Painfully Slowly

I have no idea what is going to happen. Barry and I may or may not qualify for Medicaid, which would enable me to get help for him.

We may have to spend down some of our assets to qualify, but that may not be a problem, given that we might have to spend a lot of money getting the house sellable.

This level of uncertainty is enough to make me want to throw up. This is not an exaggeration. I feel like someone is stepping on my chest.

The pretense is gone. Of being middle-class. Of being able to take care of the house by myself. Of keeping my old hopes and dreams.

Getting rid of books, I have uncovered my collection of Pema Chodron classics, including When Things Fall Apart. I bought it when my life was much more stable and my insecurities were vague and haunting.  I am re-devouring it. I think I always figured I would need it someday. Someday has arrived.

The changes were so gradual I didn’t even notice. I am not alone. I looked up “Lansing, Michigan” on Wikipedia. The population chart says it all. Lansing’s population peaked at about 130k in 1970. It has been all downhill since. It is now about 113k, about a 12% drop. That averages about 370 people per year leaving. That leaves plenty of room for denial. “What population drop? You’re wrong.”  Who notices one U-Haul a day? The younger generation has no memory of a more prosperous, populated Lansing. I am not elderly; I just feel like it and remember what Lansing was like when I was a kid in the 1970s. It is a diminished town, but you have to be old enough to even know what the “good old days” were like. You don’t know any different until you visit a state where the population and jobs are growing. I visited Lynchburg, Virginia, a few years ago. I went to some strip mall there and hung out at the Barnes & Noble. First, there was nowhere to park. Second, people there are horrified at 7% unemployment. I spent time talking to locals. (Michigan’s at the time was about 15%.) In a country that gained over 20 million people between 2000 and 2010, Michigan actually lost population. But it happened so painfully slowly that no one noticed. Normal went from prosperity, youth, education, and good jobs to poverty, elderly folks, the disabled, ignorance, and welfare-eligible jobs. And nobody is still noticing.

“Painfully slowly” is the operative term here. Who wants to deal with change? The problem is that change = reality. If you are not dealing with change, you are not dealing with reality. It’s that simple. You are delusional. Just like me for so long. Then, when you do start to deal with the truth of impermanence, it is so unnerving as to be nauseating.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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