Falling or Flying

By

Falling or Flying
Falling or Flying

This year, my period has been light, late, and not the perfect timepiece it once was. I suspect menopause.

This month, there was a layoff of a quarter of the employees where I work. If sales don’t improve, I’m almost certainly on the next list.

This week, my boyfriend has officially lived in the apartment above mine for one year. He moved further from work, and closer to me, so we could see each other more regularly and decide if we had a future together.

Today, my sixteen-year-old cat didn’t quite make the jump to the top of her scratching post. I wonder how many jumps she has left.

In my dreams, I teeter at the edge of cliffs, look down over picturesque chasms and wonder how I will get down. Or else I find myself at nightmare restaurants, presented with a bill that, at first, seems reasonable. Then more charges are added. I count out money over and over again until I wake, never quite having the exact change for either tip or bill.

At forty-five years old, both my waking and dreaming life tell me that change is coming, and it doesn’t matter if I am ready for it or not.

Some people embrace change. Heck, they buy it flowers and take it out to dinner. I, on the other hand, belong to the group who – for good or ill – ride the comfy grooves carved by dependable routine. We trust our slippers will be where we left them last night and the night before. We want to find the 2% milk in the same cooler at the same grocery store on the same way home from the same, safe job.

So, although I stopped enjoying my line of work (information technology) long ago, I find myself on tech-job websites, searching for work using keywords that match the ones that have accumulated on my resume for years.

“You hate your job,” says my brother, who’s heard me complain about my waning interest in I.T. “I know the economy isn’t great but if there was ever a time to look into something you DO like, this is it! What is it you want to do?”

A good question. Should I buy that hot dog cart I’ve half-kidded about owning for years now? Finally declare myself a full-time, freelance writer and take the steps necessary to consistently dig up the kind of paying gigs I’d need to survive? Cobble together some hybrid life of the two?

Can I do that?

Meanwhile…

“How’s your honey?” queries a girlfriend I haven’t seen in a while. We are having lunch. “Should I be looking forward to a wedding anytime soon?”

“Oh, you know,” I say vaguely. “Things are great. He’s fine. We’re in negotiations,” I add glibly. She raises her eyebrows, and a forkful of salad, but doesn’t push for a better answer. I’ve never really given a better answer and get defensive when asked for one. It’s a courtesy question from my friends these days, right up there with “how are you?” and “how’s the family?”

In fact, my beau is a perfectly lovely man. He is extra-thoughtful, hard working, a good cook, writer and artist whose biggest faults are a reluctance to embrace technology (graphic arts software makes him sneer; e-mail makes him grouchy) and a bit of a spend-it-while-you’ve-got-it attitude towards money that makes me alternately wince and applaud. He’s been married before, and appears perfectly willing to give it one more try.

I have never been married. Oh, a few close calls, even an engagement, once. But I suspect I’ve stayed single out of some sort of anxiety about having all the options taken away. Of having to compromise and share decisions about a life that is no longer just My Life but Our Life.

Meanwhile…

My cat and I are feeling our age. She’s on medication for a thyroid condition. I’m trying to decide if hormone replacement therapy is a good idea. I descend monthly now into depressions and migraines. Some days mimic the horrible hangovers of my youth – fatigue and nausea, but without the good time the night before. Yet the risks of estrogen replacement give me pause. Should I give myself another month and tough it out?

Meanwhile…

I look at want ads under Professional/Technology. I hug my boyfriend and tell him I love him because I do. I buy a bottle of calcium supplements.

I hover like a nervous waterfowl above the swirling river of my life. Not deciding what to do, where to land, takes as much effort and strength as deciding. It can be exhausting to live in uncertainty. And to delay my choices may mean I won’t get to choose at all.

Do I fall exhausted into the river and hope the currents will be kind?

Or do I glide in and make a controlled landing? What if a more interesting living is only a frankfurter sale away? What if a permanent relationship turns out to be so much better than the proverbial and, in my case, perpetual, goodnight kiss on the front porch steps?

What if aging offers more than mood swings? Wisdom, my mother often assured me when I was a know-it-all teen, comes with age. And now, as she predicted, I am equipped with a lengthy list of life experiences to help me choose which aspirations I’ve outgrown and which to keep; decide which of my beloved “routines” are still useful.

This morning I cruised the job websites using new keywords, ones not on my resume. I sent two stories and a poem out for publication. The poem was rejected. One story was accepted. The check for it arrived in the mail this week.

Do baby birds feel as if they’re on the threshold of something great as their mother nudges them out of the nest for their first flight? No, probably they’re just scared shitless, falling. They seem to figure it out on the way down.

C’mon, little bird. Jump.

About this writer

  • Falling or Flying

    This year, my period has been light, late, and not the perfect timepiece it once was. I suspect menopause.

    This month, there was a layoff of a quarter of the employees where I work. If sales don’t improve, I’m almost certainly on the next list.

    This week, my boyfriend has officially lived in the apartment above mine for one year. He moved further from work, and closer to me, so we could see each other more regularly and decide if we had a future together.

    Today, my sixteen-year-old cat didn’t quite make the jump to the top of her scratching post. I wonder how many jumps she has left.

    In my dreams, I teeter at the edge of cliffs, look down over picturesque chasms and wonder how I will get down. Or else I find myself at nightmare restaurants, presented with a bill that, at first, seems reasonable. Then more charges are added. I count out money over and over again until I wake, never quite having the exact change for either tip or bill.

    At forty-five years old, both my waking and dreaming life tell me that change is coming, and it doesn’t matter if I am ready for it or not.

    Some people embrace change. Heck, they buy it flowers and take it out to dinner. I, on the other hand, belong to the group who – for good or ill – ride the comfy grooves carved by dependable routine. We trust our slippers will be where we left them last night and the night before. We want to find the 2% milk in the same cooler at the same grocery store on the same way home from the same, safe job.

    So, although I stopped enjoying my line of work (information technology) long ago, I find myself on tech-job websites, searching for work using keywords that match the ones that have accumulated on my resume for years.

    “You hate your job,” says my brother, who’s heard me complain about my waning interest in I.T. “I know the economy isn’t great but if there was ever a time to look into something you DO like, this is it! What is it you want to do?”

    A good question. Should I buy that hot dog cart I’ve half-kidded about owning for years now? Finally declare myself a full-time, freelance writer and take the steps necessary to consistently dig up the kind of paying gigs I’d need to survive? Cobble together some hybrid life of the two?

    Can I do that?

    Meanwhile…

    “How’s your honey?” queries a girlfriend I haven’t seen in a while. We are having lunch. “Should I be looking forward to a wedding anytime soon?”

    “Oh, you know,” I say vaguely. “Things are great. He’s fine. We’re in negotiations,” I add glibly. She raises her eyebrows, and a forkful of salad, but doesn’t push for a better answer. I’ve never really given a better answer and get defensive when asked for one. It’s a courtesy question from my friends these days, right up there with “how are you?” and “how’s the family?”

    In fact, my beau is a perfectly lovely man. He is extra-thoughtful, hard working, a good cook, writer and artist whose biggest faults are a reluctance to embrace technology (graphic arts software makes him sneer; e-mail makes him grouchy) and a bit of a spend-it-while-you’ve-got-it attitude towards money that makes me alternately wince and applaud. He’s been married before, and appears perfectly willing to give it one more try.

    I have never been married. Oh, a few close calls, even an engagement, once. But I suspect I’ve stayed single out of some sort of anxiety about having all the options taken away. Of having to compromise and share decisions about a life that is no longer just My Life but Our Life.

    Meanwhile…

    My cat and I are feeling our age. She’s on medication for a thyroid condition. I’m trying to decide if hormone replacement therapy is a good idea. I descend monthly now into depressions and migraines. Some days mimic the horrible hangovers of my youth – fatigue and nausea, but without the good time the night before. Yet the risks of estrogen replacement give me pause. Should I give myself another month and tough it out?

    Meanwhile…

    I look at want ads under Professional/Technology. I hug my boyfriend and tell him I love him because I do. I buy a bottle of calcium supplements.

    I hover like a nervous waterfowl above the swirling river of my life. Not deciding what to do, where to land, takes as much effort and strength as deciding. It can be exhausting to live in uncertainty. And to delay my choices may mean I won’t get to choose at all.

    Do I fall exhausted into the river and hope the currents will be kind?

    Or do I glide in and make a controlled landing? What if a more interesting living is only a frankfurter sale away? What if a permanent relationship turns out to be so much better than the proverbial and, in my case, perpetual, goodnight kiss on the front porch steps?

    What if aging offers more than mood swings? Wisdom, my mother often assured me when I was a know-it-all teen, comes with age. And now, as she predicted, I am equipped with a lengthy list of life experiences to help me choose which aspirations I’ve outgrown and which to keep; decide which of my beloved “routines” are still useful.

    This morning I cruised the job websites using new keywords, ones not on my resume. I sent two stories and a poem out for publication. The poem was rejected. One story was accepted. The check for it arrived in the mail this week.

    Do baby birds feel as if they’re on the threshold of something great as their mother nudges them out of the nest for their first flight? No, probably they’re just scared shitless, falling. They seem to figure it out on the way down.

    C’mon, little bird. Jump.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Responses to “Falling or Flying”

  1. Rich says:

    Bravo ! Jump indeed !

  2. Yvette says:

    Great Job my dear friend! I think its time you leave the nest and fly.

  3. Valerie says:

    New words, new thoughts, new doorways open – it is all good – toe-by-toe, forward we go!

  4. Herman says:

    Insightful , powerful , and absolutely great writing –

    Life is a like train ride – it is not the destination that counts
    it is how we relate to our fellow passengers — and at this you excel also.
    Keep up the great work!!

    About wisdom somebody once said
    “I don’t know what is worse, getting old or getting wise.”

    But give it a shot anyway!!

  5. Kay says:

    Take the support and encouragement of all who know and love you, gather it up in your wings, and jump. We’ll be there as you soar to new heights, and help keep you aloft when the winds of life bring you to uncertain terrain.

  6. Pattie Steffens says:

    I’m so impressed by your writing. I see it and feel it. Go on, little bird. Jump! At my stage of life I’ve found that if you don’t jump – well, life just might push you anyway! I believe you won’t fall. You’ll soar! I’m so happy to have met you.

Leave your mark with style to Valerie

Comment in style

Stand out from the crowd and add some flare beside your comment.
Get your free Gravatar today!

Make it personal

avatar versus gravatar Close