Is This What Life is About?
Everything in my life seems to point in a certain direction: grief.
Earlier today, I was watching Hoarders. I am also reading a few books, one of which is Unattended Sorrow (“US”) by Stephen Levine, and another of which is The End of White Christian America by Robert P. Jones. Also, the immediately previous therapist to my current psychoanalyst said that one of my main tasks at this point of my life is to deal with all the losses and disappointments at this current stage of my life.
US is a phenomenal book. And it is inclusive of all disappointments and losses, not just the obvious sorrow from Barry’s passing.
Hoarders is about people that can’t let go of stuff. And The End is all about the obliteration of white Christian influence on culture and politics. For example, Jones says that by 2024, people that are simultaneously white and Christian will be less than half of all voters. There is even a eulogy for these people at the end of the book.
And I talked to my friend Tamara. I reassured her that Trump would not be President forever. He is in his seventies. I cannot guarantee many things, but I can guarantee that. He can do a lot of damage in the meantime, make no mistake, but he is destroying the Republican party from within. Their credibility and integrity are gone forever, or at least for a generation or two. Their supporters are old, white, and dying off.
But I am in my fifties and she just turned sixty. What will we be around to see?
What’s worth my investment of my remaining time and energy?
This past week, I told the managers that if I do not show up for work and they cannot reach me by phone, to call the police to do a welfare check on me. I have been sick for over a month and have missed no time. If I don’t show up, I might be dead. I have not missed a minute of work in the 14 months I have worked there.
Part of getting older is having my tolerance for BS reduced. Perhaps that sounds ironic. We teach people how to treat us. As Dr. Phil says, “You don’t reward bad behavior.” Period. I got my lessons in boundaries from Al-Anon. They teach that you do not have to participate in any activity that puts you in legal, financial, or emotional jeopardy. Other people have the right to do what they want, and so do you. Just because your idiot friends or family are jumping off a cliff is not an obligation for you to join them. You are free to decline and say, “I’ll pass. Thank you very much. Oh, and by the way, don’t even bother calling me to bail you out. Good luck with that.” When people see you taking all the necessary steps to protect yourself emotionally, financially, and legally, sometimes that alone is enough to wake them up. They can see you are serious. In my opinion, that is how learning and growth occur.
This is why I see a psychoanalyst. I want to take full responsibility for my stuff (so I don’t just project it onto everyone else) and I want to take no responsibility for other people’s crap. I have enough of my own. But I am not capable of always telling the difference. I want my mistakes to be my own and not just the playing out of my family’s unlived hopes, dreams, and fears. And the clock is ticking, for all of us. Tick, tick, tick.