Continued: Advice From The Old Guard
March 24, 2011 by rtwsenior
My last blog concerned my answers to a friend turning fifty who was wondering how to deal with the next half-century of her life. Here are more questions and more of my answers from my vast store of experience in plowing through that beautiful challenge:
4. So many of us worry that we’ll get to retirement without resources to afford health care, housing, etc. How do you put those fears in check?
By not worrying about them. I didn’t worry about them when I was young enough to do something about it….ie: Save or buy insurance, etc. So, now it’s too late to start. However, I HAVE gotten to retirement, and lo and behold, I happen to have resources. And these are resources that I couldn’t have foreseen earlier. First, I have a generous social security amount, all because my ex-husband was a doctor and he happened to die a few years ago….and I had the good sense not to have married again and rendered myself ineligible for receiving his social security benefits. That whole scenario could have shaken down in so many ways that it never could have been accurately predicted or counted upon. But, the fact of the matter is, that it shook down very well, all by itself, without my worrying it into place.
Now, if I can figure out all the right moves and actually play my new hand of cards, I see a glimmer of a hint that I can make money in this new world of book publishing and blogging. It will depend solely upon the intelligence and energy that I put into it, and time will tell if I was smart enough to parlay this into something good. But, where is worry in this equation? Nowhere. Worry would be acid to my future. Worry is a killer of potential and possibility. Worry is a toxic relationship with yourself. Worry is a marriage to a powerful Negative Factor. Skeedaddle from worry! Leaving it, as you would leave a bad husband, is your only hope for success in this World Below.
1.) Health Care? – How come people get soooooo invested in worrying about Health Care when they never take care of themselves? All those long years of their lives, they smoke, drink, they have unprotected sex, they eat terrible foods, they sit on their couches, and then they think that somebody owes them something to look after the dreadful result for them and to patch it up and ladle it back on the couch so that they can continue slurping their beer and consuming their potato chips every night in front of their TV.
Tell you what! I don’t owe one penny to one person who has chosen that route through life. And the society which encourages it is broken. I waste no sympathy on either one. Both must either learn to fix themselves, out of desperation, or risk sinking into history as a failed experiment.
2.) Housing – In my experience, things always come out right in the end. We need a whole lot less in the way of shelter than we think we do. I have sojourned in many, many sorts of housing solutions and found them all tolerable, at the very least. My own attitude towards every house that I have ever occupied, including this one, is that it is only temporary. I don’t plan to stay forever, and I will manage in the next situation just as well. That goes for possessions, also. Sure, I tend to accumulate them when I stay still for awhile, always flirting with that new edition of a computer or dandy little gadget, or those clothes on sale…or especially, the thrift shop stuff. But, I also get rid of it all pretty fast when I go into get-out-of-here gear. Basically, in truth, a house can simply turn into a huge and expensive storage box for all the clutter of our life. That’s a mighty heavy shell for all of us turtles to bear.
5. What do you worry about?
(Long silence…thinking…) That I might never taste the elixir of total freedom. Up until this point in my life, except for some solitary years, someone has always depended upon me; waited for me; expected something from me; needed me to be a particular way for them. And, this requirement shapes me in so many ways. I do things for their sake alone.
Now, very likely, this conundrum will turn out to be similar to the freckles on my legs. Acutely aware of their presence at the moment, I would sorely miss them if they disappeared, because most likely that would mean that I no longer had legs. Then, how I would wish for them.
But, I will never really grasp the meaning of the fresh air flag of freedom that I would love to have waving over my head until everyone connected with me has their own life to live and only requires me on their periphery. I don’t worry about it but I do send up little prayers that I might someday know that great release to be truly myself. Until then, I see the many advantages that are the result of this shaping that fate is delivering right at the moment.
For instance, would I ever have sat still long enough to write a book and to learn new technicalities if I had been in charge of my own freedom during these last seven years. Resoundingly, the answer is NO. Seeing the silver lining…making the lemonade…is the answer to worry-prevention.
6. Bonus Question: Why are we not able to accurately see into our future…through God, through psychics, tea leaves, or tarot?
For an excellent reason. We would not be able to correctly interpret what we saw if we did have that capability. Here’s how I realized that fact so profoundly.
If I had been “shown” thirty or forty years ago, when I was living right here in Clearwater, raising my young children and married to a man I didn’t love, a glimpse of myself in 2011, and been told the circumstances of that particular day, (but of course, not of all the days in between,) I would have seen myself, in my seventies, still living in the same city; taking care of my son; in a house bought by my deceased husband; and I would have even spotted myself driving his hand-me-down yellow pickup truck. Now, what would be my natural conclusion after having been given that perfectly accurate vision?
Surely, I would then assume that I had never left the man; that I had never become my own person and roamed the world; that I had never tried out many living situations in many cities of the world and within this country. So, naturally, I would erroneously conclude that I had never taken that great leap into the unknown, thereby winning freedom from my marriage.
Most likely, that very knowledge would have killed the courage building up inside of me to take things into my own hands and to start all over on my own. Then, thinking that it was in the cards to stay where I was, I would do nothing about my own emancipation, and would thus, change the course of my own history. What damage would have been done by that one peek into my future? Untold damage!
So, we must never want to know these things before they reveal themselves in their own good time.
Another thing that we should do, if we are really smart about it: Don’t ever ask God for something specific. Sure, you might get it. But, what if He had something bigger in mind for you? Something much more wonderful than your earthbound and limited imagination could foresee? Now that you have sent up a specific prayer, He might grant that and put the wonderful and special future back on the shelf. You would never know what you had missed, just because of your impatience.
I always say to Him: “Surprise me, My Love!” And He does. All the time!