Sometimes, I have days in my life when I don’t know what to write about, I just know that I want to write. It is almost like there are too many voices wanted to be heard, and when I sit down to write I am almost paralyzed; so many different direction to go in. Should I write about my past, a poem, or perhaps about my work? What about my emotions, my beliefs….. or perhaps to try some uncharted area in my life that I have yet to explore? Why am I writing anyway? When I was younger, I hated writing, now I seem compelled to do it. The soul has reasons of its own, so I try to follow its lead.
Emotions are probably the most difficult area for me to dwell on, or to put down on paper. People tell me that my musings are emotional in nature, so I guess in some sort of oblique way I do deal with my emotional life, but perhaps I need to find some way to be more direct in how I deal with them, at least in writing. This late desire to write in my life has manifested itself for a reason, and perhaps dealing with my emotions is one of the main ones. To take the top off of the bottle so to speak, shake it up and see what floats to the top, or at times what simply explodes. Also at least for now, I need to share my writings, it is like giving birth, and if I don’t send them the writings are dead, useless to me. Self disclosure is hard for me, so perhaps that is why I need to share my silly musings. I know that one day I won’t need to send them out, and I will just be able to write and keep them. So much is written by so many, so when I stop, no loss.
The inner life is like an onion, one layer after another, seemingly unending. Perhaps dealing with the same things, but perhaps on some deeper level, and only stopping when some sort of cycle is understood and stopped……..until then, the same old stuff keeps popping up. I wonder if I will ever get to the bottom of the onion, peel away that last layer while still alive……..probably not. For all my talk, I am a very slow learner, and I spend a lot of time seeking ways to get away from my constant ‘self-talk’………self awareness, making it all about ‘me’, gets old real fast, hopefully this self-absorption will one day lessen.
As I get older, my moods have a deeper quality to them, more in my face, less able to shove them under……“deal with me” is what they say, until I do; though rather poorly at times. Life is both richer now that I am older, and also darker, you can’t seem to have one without the other. Perhaps it is because of the nature of my work. I deal with a lot of end of life issues, and perhaps the weight of that slowly builds as the years go by. My ability to bounce back is less, not in the sense of being overly sad when someone I take care of dies, it is more on my energy level. Now when I get tired, I am really tired, it is like my body has suddenly doubled in weight, and I feel like I just want to go to sleep and never wake up. However I can’t blame it all on my work, I think it is just ‘me’ that is the problem. I carry too many things too long, and allow the compulsive side of care-giving to take over. Being a caregiver is a gift, but with each gift there is a side that is based on need, and this has to be dealt with, or else the gift will turn into a curse. I guess I deal with it, but the fact that I am often tired may point to a lot more work that needs to be done. Just one thing after another, such is the pilgrimage we are all on.
When in a care giving position it is hard not to look at life’s important issues on a daily basis. Also the distance in age between me and those I take care of is lessening at ever increasing speeds. This also hits me from time to time. Some of those elderly I take care of or only 20 years older than me, add that to the rapidity of the years passing, and you get what I am talking about. Yet I don’t think I would have it any other way, for me it is life giving to help those in need. Not to do so when certainly take the depth of color out of my life.
I have a strong streak in me that seeks isolation. To be away from society, to be with my books, and music, and yes my prayers, and pious thoughts (which are useless without action of some kind)…….. to make a comfortable life for myself….. to be self sufficient, alone, apart, to be simply not bothered, insulated from communal life, such is one of my self destructive tendencies that I have to fight against. Helping others gets me away from that kind of life, which I believe would be empty, without meaning. It is not in books that gives meaning to life, but in the life experiences of helping those in need, and yes learning from them lessons that would otherwise pass me by.
Old people have a lot of courage. They have to deal with diminishment, isolation, extreme loneliness on a daily basis, which would most likely crush those younger than they are. As they slowly get backed into a corner, and their ability to escape is taken away; they are forced to bring forth deep wells of strength, and faith, that they perhaps thought they never had. One of the good things about my work is that I am there, and see this on a daily basis. This can be overlooked at times because so many do this when they hit extreme old age, it is ‘common’, but that does not make that any less amazing or wonderful. The gift that the elderly give is to allow others to take care of them. Two sets of needs are met.
So yes the reality of my aging, and the rapidly approaching of the day when I to will need help, is sometimes depressing and frightening…… but it is also helpful, and does force me to deal with the important issues of life. What is important, and what is not. I still have trouble with that, but just living is a great teacher, and my job that gets me out of my own inner world and in the end makes it richer and deeper; life is filled with paradoxes. I suppose we are here for each other, and are happier when in some way we are there for others. Being a caregiver is not the only way to do that, it is just my way.