Just Shelley

Lessons from the tortoise

My back and leg have progressively been getting better and the weather warmed up so that I could get out for a small, light walk today. Being outdoors, even for just a little while, going for a walk again, these all work for me better than all the drugs in the world.

There’s this pile in front of me, it’s got a large sign that reads, “Things Shelley can’t control” and the pile is big. Huge. However, if I stop focusing on it, fixating on it, and open my eyes and look around, there’s a smaller pile over to the side and a little to the back, with a tiny sign that reads, “Things Shelley can control”. I’m going to get up and move my butt over to sit in front of the smaller pile, and put the Big Pile of Stuff I can’t control behind me. I’m not going to look at it because there’s nothing I can do about it.

I can’t afford the doctor to get my back checked out, but there are things I can do now. I started today with the small, gentle walk, and I didn’t fall, and I feel pretty good right now. I can also control what I eat, and can alter my diet to foods that feed the brain, and calm the soul, and heal the bones and muscles. And as a special treat, I’ll include in this diet a tiny box of Godiva chocolates every once in a while, when I’ve been particularly good. Because we all know that chocolate is good for the soul.

Beginning Monday, I hit the gym associated with the housing complex and start re-building muscles to take the strain off the lower back, knees, and ankles. Slow but sure, and with plenty of careful stretching. All that I learned years ago during Karate classes can now be put to use as I carefully re-introduce my body to good health. And I’ll feel better when I’m working out because this will be something I can control, and feeling better in my mind will make me feel better in my body. Health is as much a matter of mind as it is the body.

I can’t afford to make the payments on my bills or to pay the state of California or the IRS what I owe them, but I can work things out with each. I can write them and call and come up with a plan we can all live with. Smaller payments will allow me to stretch my dollars, or to make it in a job with a lower income. By doing this, I don’t have to default on my debt so my creditors and California and the IRS get paid. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep Golden Girl.

Sure my credit will take a hit for a while, but I’ll just have to refrain from buying that huge diamond bracelet on tick. Or the new TiBook.

Such things I’ve been getting incensed over. I can’t believe I got all uptight about weblog links. Weblog links! I mean, can we find anything in the world more inconsequential than weblog links, blogrolls, and all that crap? Well, okay, the study that re-enacted the gunfight at the OK Corral in order to determine why only 8 bullets out of 30 rounds found a target, that’s more inconsequential. But just barely.

I’ve also been getting pretty frustrated at Bush and how he’s running the country into the ground while he spends all of his time focusing on the Prize that is Iraq. Oh, I get angry, and every time I do, I tense up and then I start moving in an agitated manner and I strain my back all over again.

“Damn f**cking a**hole! Ow!”

I can’t stop Bush from doing what he’s doing, but I can stop getting angry and frustrated about it because all this does is burn calories and cause me to hurt myself. I’ll focus, instead, on what I can do, which is write, vote, and protest, hopefully with others. What I can’t do alone, in my house fuming in front of the TV going red in the face every time I see that Man, I might be able to accomplish in concert with others. Or not, but I’m not going to spiral in on what I can’t control.

I have to get rid of my storage unit in San Francisco. Okay. My roommate, who is a wonderful person, has offered to take some time off and rent a small truck and we’re going to head over in February and load as much as we can to bring back. Won’t be all of it, but that’s okay. Goodwill is one block away from the storage unit and they can use the stuff. As for the books, I’ll have to get rid of about half of them, but I can keep half, which is more than I expected a few weeks back.

I figured out what to do with the books I can’t bring back — I’m giving them to the homeless shelters in the area, because I have a hell of a lot more than they do, and I have friends and family who will make sure that I never have to try and find a way to stay warm when it’s -20 outside.

I’ll have to sell my mineral collection, and my better pieces of jewelry, but you know, I hardly ever wear the jewelry — gets in the way when I hike — and the rocks are collecting dust, anyway. Time to stop hanging on to the baggage, because all it is stuff. I’m keeping the lava lamps, though, as gifts for some friends of mine. Lava lamps shouldn’t be sold, they should be given because lava lamps are a state of mind.

I’m also keeping my current TiBook, which you can get from me only if you can pry it from my cold dead fingers. That and my camera. The great thing about digital is you don’t have to pay for developing or printing.

I haven’t been able to find a job, and that’s been about the worst for me; I’ve worked since I was 16 years old. But this is one I have to let go of. I have to concentrate on what I can control, which is finishing the book for O’Reilly, and digging up some other paid writing. And if I can’t find a computer job, or technical writing, or training, then I may have to look for work outside my field, but such is life. I was a waitress more than once, and have worked an assembly line years ago; if I have to wait tables again. or help cap bottles of Budweiser, I will. This is what people do when the economy takes a nose dive.

My Dad did this years ago during the Depression. He quit college, and worked jobs ranging from being a lumber man in Alaska, to working the rails for the railroad down in the lower 48. My Dad is 92 years old, and I truly believe the reason he’s still alive today is that he’s never spent a moment of his life shaking his fist at the world and railing at it for being unfair.

Time for my father’s daughter to make like a chip off the old block. We Powers, we come from a long line of Irish fighters who used to, I have been told, pour molten lead down our enemies throat. My family doesn’t raise quitters. Or people who sit in front of piles of stuff they can’t control.

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