What can you write about when you’re feeling down but don’t want to sound like a whiner?
It’s not like I don’t have anything to feel down about. Right?
Well, it’s all relative.
I’m home alone on a glorious holiday weekend. My husband, who works for a marina during summer months, is of course working today. And being alone isn’t the worst of it. I’m also sidelined from the one activity that keeps me and my inherited moodiness on an even keel. Running. Achilles tendonitis. It’s sunny and warm, so I could be down by the water (we live on a “wild and scenic river” in the Adirondacks) enjoying the hypnotic tranquility. But it’s also black fly season, not to mention the mosquitoes. I’d have to be covered from head to toe with either impenetrable clothes or toxic bug spray.
Wah, wah, wah. You see what I mean? Even I can’t stand my own whining.
So if I weren’t home alone, on my screened porch, playing on the computer, where would I rather be and what would I rather be doing?
Hm-m-m. I’d like to be on one of those boats at my husband’s marina, with my husband and maybe some friends, out on the lake, basking in the sunshine, reading or snoozing, and falling into the water to cool off periodically. We used to have a boat. We sold it when we bought the property on the river. Bought a new canoe instead. Which would be terrific also. But pretty useless, alone on a glorious holiday weekend.
Aha! So that’s the real issue. I’m feeling sorry for myself because my husband works weekends and I work week days and we never get to have fun together any more. And because we can’t afford, these days, to buy a boat, which we decided after we went a few summers without one that we really missed.
It’s not like he chooses to be away from me on the weekends. It’s that there aren’t a lot of decent jobs in the Adirondacks, especially for a man in his early sixties. And we need the money. No, scratch that – we like having some extra money, so we can afford to do fun things.
Oh, right, we can’t do fun things together because we work opposite schedules. But if he quit the job, we wouldn’t be able to afford to do fun things.
And therein lies the circuitous dilemma.
Back to “it’s all relative.” These days we should be grateful to have jobs. We should acknowledge the value of a home on water. We should revel in our good health, Achilles tendonitis aside. While we don’t have a lot of cash flow, we’re able to pay our bills. No one is repossessing our cars or foreclosing on our house, and we’re not “under water” with our mortgage.
But, wah wah, we wanted to be retired by now, enjoying the fruits of nearly four decades of labor.
But, tsk tsk, a generation ago no one dreamed of retiring at our age. They worked until they could work no more, and at least until sixty-five. If they lived many years after that, lucky them, getting to enjoy the leisure of a long retirement.
Considering that few companies offer pensions any more, and employment for young people is both transient and uncertain, the next generation may be more like our parents, working until they max out Social Security, if it exists by then. Hopefully, they will have saved enough money and be healthy enough to enjoy their eventual retirement, though with the rate of obesity and related chronic diseases, it kind of makes you wonder. But I digress.
So what’s the big deal about having to work until I’m sixty five? We do need to find a way around the clashing work schedules, because at our ages we shouldn’t be living only for tomorrow. But otherwise the working part isn’t a tragedy. And much of our life is pretty damn good.
Okay, I feel much better now. Guess I just needed to get the whining out of my system and move on.