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Maybe being unprepared isn't such a bad thing...

One night whilst in a Chili's, I was overcome by the scathingly brilliant idea (SBI - anyone old enough to remember Hayley Mills in The Parent Trap?) of starting a blog to chronicle various nows in my life that look like disasters. Stay with me on this...

My thinking was as follows. You know how famous people write their autobiographies - they call them "memoirs" these days - AFTER they've gone through all the hard shit and made all the bad decisions? You read these and you already know that everything worked out just fine, so the early stuff doesn't matter - they're famous and rich, whatever.

But what if I start a blog and write myself INTO a success story??? I could call it "Letters from Now" and describe the trip along the yellow brick road: bad decisions, quandaries, self-doubt, money woes, isolation, and feeling homesick. Maybe I'll discover I can end up someplace way better than Kansas, for Pete's sake!!!

The SBI was four months ago. I haven't got a clue how to create a blog site - which is why this one is lame. But after fiddling with it for half an hour, I decided "f-it " -"I'll lose my momentum for another four months if I don't write SOMETHING!"


And what the SBI was - is - is to invite women (what self-respecting MAN is willing to show his underbelly when the chips are down, right?) to join me as I become an embedded journalist of various "nows" in my life. I'm calling this experiment "Letters from Now" and I'll use them to remember where I was in one or more past nows. Then, when I've successfully created a memoir-worthy life, the book will have live-action "footage" of my life between this now and that now. Or that now and this now. You get the picture.


Without further digression, here's my first Letter from Now.


1 October 2023


Dear Aisha -

"It's a tricky situation." (What a great lyric - thank you Freddie Mercury.) I KNOW all good things are DONE, but I can only see "un-done-ness." In the past two weeks, I've consulted four - or was it five - psychics for encouragement from Source that in past nows I was able to get for myself. They've told me what I already know -- "you're strong," "you're very creative," "you're a great writer, so you need to get on with that," "everything will be fine," "you won't have to worry about money." My poor worn-down spirit hangs its head and mumbles, "yeah, yeah, yeah."

Issues: 1) my beautiful, brilliant, sensitive, creative daughter, who has always been the love of my life, appears to have determined she needs to take a break from our relationship; 2) upon retirement from the Air Force on December 31st, after 21 years, it will take 6 - 8 weeks until I get 70% of my retirement and FOUR MONTHS to get the full amount (I see driving for UBER in my future - my car would at least pay for itself, right??); 3) I have never been what one would call a "frugal" or "savings-minded" person, so my cash reserves are somewhat, shall we say, reduced, from the optimum six months recommended on-hand capital for living expenses (I coined a phrase: "financially promiscuous;" 4) I am very creative, but my creative juices are also flowing promiscuously these days: acting classes (making an audition tape this week), singing lessons, screenwriting (SBI from a waking dream on Saturday morning), writing - none of which is income-producing in a now that's any-now soon.


All of the foregoing is merely to set the stage for the BIG TOPIC for this Letter from Now:

I'm re-starting a course through Mindvalley called The Uncompromised LIfe and the first exercise is this: "Ask your friends and family what words you use regularly and exchange the negatives with positives."


Hey, I've written and read my AF resume. I KNOW that I'm strong, responsible, intelligent, resourceful, intuitive, talented, a leader, decisive, successful, confident, powerful, insightful, and creative. I have sincere, strong friendships I've maintained for 25 years. I'm generous to a fault. I'm emotionally perceptive and empathic.


Here are the words I wrote this afternoon: afraid, anxious, unprepared, at a loss, desperate, angry at myself, stupid, immature, financially promiscuous, embarrassed, disjointed, out of alignment, homesick, inauthentic, isolated, scattered, mistreated, abused, unappreciated, undeserving, weak, pathetic.


How the heck do I turn all of those into positives? A Herculean task when I look at them as a block of black dogs at my heels. (By the way, I suffer - and these days I DO mean suffer - from bipolar disorder and my meds are not managing to manage my moods, which doesn't help.)


This is what I decided to do: take a few words at a time and figure out how to turn them around in a way that's better than putting on a Band-aid. Here goes:

afraid, anxious, unprepared, at a loss, desperate


These aren't the hardest words to poke at, but maybe if I start with them the others will mellow by the time I get to them. (maybe?)


Aisha, going into retirement isn't like starting a new AF job. All the great stuff you've had on your resumes about how industrious and professional you are about tackling responsibilities and getting things done...none of that matters now. In a way, this will be the most difficult job you've ever taken on: you have to figure it out as you go, set your own objectives, make your own rules, operate in the realm of leaps of faith instead of marching orders. You've always looked to others to let you know how you're doing. Guess what? The world is filled with people who signed on to be seen as authority figures, but they rarely deserved respect and never deserved blind obedience. And you have tended to delegate authority to people who had no business serving in that role. But think back on the past few years of your career, and recognize that you began coming into being your own authority figure - you certainly were at Alconbury and retirement will take you out of a situation where authority chases its tail. So attagirls for you, okay? OKAY?????


So afraid and anxious - yes, you'll have to "seek your own level." How great that you found that book, "The Art of Thought" (Graham Wallas, 1926). Remember: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. It doesn't have to all be done at once!


Now, desperate. What's that about? Money? Ah - wanting solutions for problems you don't even know about. The what-if bogey men. "How will I handle 'this' if 'that?'" What if I don't have the resources? Should we add "isolated" to this list to pair with "desperate?" No one to ask for help?


NO!! - I get it NOW. You are feeling estranged: "in a state of alienation from a previous close or familial relationship." Estranged from Steve and Catherine, yes, but mostly from yourself. You see signs that your body is looking older - closer to 69-years-old than it did even a year ago - and you are F-ing FREAKED OUT about turning 70 next year. These are the words that go with that: desperate, disjointed, out of alignment, homesick, inauthentic (who are you, after all?), isolated, scattered, mistreated, emotionally abused, unappreciated. On ALL counts and in all areas of your life, perfectly symbolized by living on the opposite side of town in an area totally unfamiliar to you, you feel like a lost soul and don't know how to get home.


And where IS home? It's where we feel belongingness, you know that. And there's not one place you feel that. You can't create it or will it into existence. So what's the next best thing? I don't know. Not in this now.


With love,

Aisha

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