Thoughts by Richard Bleil
My friend is so sweet. She worries about me, and there is a lot to worry about. My regular readers know that I have had a difficult time with finding regular work to the point that I’m now just a part-time temporary employee. My take-home pay isn’t enough for me to be able to afford rent, but fortunately my good friend has taken me in so I have a roof over my head and heat through the long cold winter. I can’t afford warmer clothes although I desperately need them, especially while waiting for the bus since my car has been repossessed. I have heart disease and am diabetic, but certainly can’t afford the medicine I should be taking. Overall, my life is a poop palace.
And that’s okay.
This attitude really impresses her. She chose some aspect of my life recently to bring up, saying “I’m really worried about you.” That’s very sweet, but the reality is that things are as they are, and it’s okay. When I told her this, she was very impressed and wondered how I could be so relaxed about it.
Sometimes, things happen that are beyond our control. And, sometimes we make mistakes (including major mistakes) and have to face the consequences. I probably never should have left my tenured teaching position, but to be fair, I also had a hostile dean (for the first time in my life in fact) that was compiling a list of excuses to try to get rid of me. I realize now that she honestly couldn’t have (firing a tenured professor typically results in a hefty lawsuit that the professor generally wins), but back then my thinking was that, if they try hard enough, they can find an excuse to refuse to offer me a contract whether the evidence exists or not. Today, I’m still feeling the effects of that decision. Since then I have been at the mercy of bully bosses and people who were back-stabbers. And there’s just not much I could have done about either of them and still been happy with who I would have become.
Today, I have my pride intact, but little else. No wife, no insurance, no car, no money. Just pride. But, I expected that. The reality is that I always saw the hammer before it fell. I’ve never really been caught “off guard”. I also knew what I had to do to keep it from happening, but unfortunately it meant supporting bully bosses and sniveling in an effort to appease them. I couldn’t live a life like this. I honestly believe that everybody matters, and every opinion should be heard. As such, I will always speak my mind, which is often something that people in supervisory positions find threatening. So I chose the path that lead to that hammer fall.
And it’s okay.
So today I find myself in the circumstances in which I am living. I’m taking the bus every day, eating when I can, shivering with inappropriate winter clothes. And some people will point out that I should focus on the positives; thanks to my friend I do have a warm and dry bed, and I am eating, and I do have transportation even if it’s not private. And focusing on the positive is a good thing, but for me, it’s never been enough. I’m not okay because I have these things; I’m actually okay because I choose to be okay.
My thinking is that, if I wasn’t okay with the way things are, if I decided not to accept my current situation, then that could only make things worse. Being unhappy about the way things are won’t improve my situation at all, but then I would add worry, and misery, and bad feelings on top of it. That added stress would only make it worse. So I’m okay, and I’m okay because I choose to be okay.
I don’t know if there is a reason that these things are happening to me. I don’t know if they will turn around, or how long it will be until they do. But part of accepting that everything is okay means accepting that it simply may not change. Maybe someday they’ll find me dead at the bus stop, and that’s okay. Without death there could be no life, so I’m okay with that, too. And when I die, as Blood, Sweat and Tears sang, and when I’m gone, there’ll be one child born in this world to carry on.