Saturday, 11 October 2008

Emptied Out

This will be a scattered post, I am afraid. Part catch-up ... part rumination.

My first response to the big news --- the global financial crisis --- was to remind myself that I had almost nothing invested anyway; that I had resigned myself to the fact that my RRSPs looked small on paper and much smaller when I cashed them in. Then I checked and discovered that they hadn't lost a cent. I had told the banker when I withdrew the last lot that I would likely have to cash in the rest very soon and he said I should secure the balance --- so I did.

I am not a gambler and, I have discovered, not greedy. Oh, like everyone else, if an opportunity to make money falls into my lap I will not refuse. But I don't care enough about things beyond the basic necessities and few pleasures to want much money.

This "failing" has hobbled me over the years. I didn't work hard enough to sell my novel. I was easily discouraged. I didn't see any need to sell my teaching and administrative skills so I gave them away to teachers and children in developing countries. I have no regrets about my volunteer work overseas, but I do wish that I had not aborted Explosion. It deserved to be read, especially by young people in Nova Scotia.

My failure to value money has also served me well when times have got tougher. When I first retired I determined to discover how to live well on less, and every time there has been a down turn in my own finances, I have adopted the viewpoint that once your basic needs are met you can enjoy things that cost little or nothing.

And that, I believe, is what many people will have to realize now. It's not such a bad lesson to have to learn. Sure beats throwing oneself out a skyscraper window.

And now for the catch-up news:

1. Kenya is well again.

2. She had a visitor in her outside water bowl yesterday.

3. Life with Tango was fun except for his forays into forbidden foods.

4. It was good to see Marta and Henry on the weekend and Sarah and Remi on Wednesday. We ate well on both occasions.

5. My trip to town on Thursday was more tiring than fun but I stopped at Tammy's on the way home for a cup of tea that bolstered me for the final leg of the journey. I really hate shopping, especially in sub/urban stores where everyone is faceless. Here in Wakefield a shopping trip is a social occasion.

6. I started working on the tiles for the tub surround during Friday's pottery class. They flow like the landscape of these hills.

7. When I got home I made a batch of spaghetti sauce and took a couple of meals over to Barry who just got home from Toronto after having his knees replaced. Everyone on the lake is feeding him just now, and he likes the visits as much as the food since he faces eight housebound weeks.

Today I am going to a Thanksgiving dinner feast at Erin's. Her brother is smoking a turkey. Tomorrow afternoon I will go to a concert at the Black Sheep where her house guest, Danny Everett from Texas, will be performing.

On Monday I will just relax and remember Thanksgiving weekend two years ago when I broke and dislocated my finger hiking with dogs on a ridge when the weather was fantastic and the leaves as magnificent as they are this weekend. That accident changed my life quite radically and I changed as a result. It wasn't just the pain and time spent having surgeries and undergoing therapy. I lost my self assurance and my faith in our medical system. Two things I in which I had had unshakable confidence were revealed as fragile.

One of Carol Shields' characters, Daisy in The Stone Diaries, believes that "old people are better off obsessed than emptied out." I keep hoping to find something that will grab me by the throat so that I go back to being an old woman who is obsessed. I am tired of feeling emptied out.


Barbara Carlson said...

You'll never be old because you are generous, optimistic, flexible, curious, appreciative, forgiving, and kind.

And your next obsession is just round the corner and will grab when you least expect it.

Oma said...

Thank you Barbara, although I am not sure I am quite as blessed with virtues as you indicate. I certainly hope you are right about my next obsession.