Friday, February 14, 2014

Active Octogenarians

I need to get a life. A social life. I'm surrounded by octogenarians who are more socially active than I am.

At the advice of my doctor, I cut back my hours at work from forty a week to twenty-four a week to give myself some extra time at home to, I don't know, figure out a way to have fewer panic attacks.

I figured out a way right away: I started blogging. This was in late July 2011. I started writing about my life and I started to feel healthier. My panic attacks lessened. My husband said he didn't mind that I wasn't getting paid to write. "Do it for you," he encouraged.

Now it feels like a second job. If I don't get something written each day, I feel like I'm behind. And when I start to feel behind, I feel stressed. And when I feel stressed I have panic attacks.

I need to slow down. Take a break. Take it easy. Do something fun. And rewarding. It's good to think of my writing as my job, but that means I need a break from it sometimes too. Instead of taking it easy since I've gone part-time at the library, I work harder than ever.

I've been spending too much time in my basement. Writing, which is great. But suddenly I find myself with other shit I want to do, shit that takes time, like saving the world, and I'm having trouble finding the energy to haul my ass away from the keyboard and up the stairs into the real world to save it.

One of the biggest shits I do each week is work at the public library. It's a fantastic job. I am so lucky. No one else in their right mind would hire me, yet somehow I managed to snag this library gig and stick around for over twenty years.

It was while I was at work that I encountered the first Active Octogenarian who handed me my slacker ass. This elderly woman slowly approached the reference desk. She smiled when she saw me smiling at her, stopped in front of my desk and said, "Could you please help me make an appointment to get my taxes done?"

I helped her, and during the transaction I entered her birth date. She's 88. She's two-years older than my old-ass dad, who by the way, is Active Octogenarian #2.

When I informed her she'd have to wait quite some time for the next Saturday appointment, she said, "I see. But I have to come on a Saturday because I'm busy volunteering at the food pantry Monday through Friday."

I told my co-worker what this saintly patron said and her reaction mirrored mine. She said, "Holy shit, now I feel like crap. I'm too busy working and watching TV to volunteer at the food pantry."

I know. I totally know. I'm too busy working and writing.

My dad, Active Octogenarian #2, is much less saintly than Octogenarian #1. He volunteers for no food pantry. No church group. No civic organization. Dad dances. Dad plays bridge. Dad goes out with his Active Octogenarian Ladies. Dad doesn't make me feel like crap because I don't volunteer. Dad makes me feel like crap because he has more fun in his daily life than I do. This guy who visits the doctor every other day to tweak his eleven prescription meds is probably more fit than I am because he's up and shaking his booty while my ass is chained to my computer chair. Yes, writing is healthy, but so is dancing once in awhile.

Then there's Active Octogenarian #3. Marvin Baker, this lovely gentleman who invited me to the Gay Christian Fellowship meeting yesterday at the awesome church I've been attending. He's the moderator. It was wonderful. They provided a hot meal and warm conversation among all kinds of people, old and young, gay and straight, married and single. It's amazing to meet people who love Jesus and live his message: to love people. All people.

Thank you, Marvin for inviting me. I appreciate the inspiration to get out in the world and help other people.