I’m looking. I’m searching. It isn’t about income, although it would be nice to have some. It isn’t about boredom or getting out of the house. I need something to DO. Not something to fill my time, but something to get up in the morning for. Something that makes a difference however small. Something that gives me a reason to be here. Being useless sucks.
When the boys were here I had a reason, and someone who needed me. I thought I was making a difference in their lives. I was employed and worked hard. I didn’t always enjoy it, but I thought that it was important and that I was helping the college in their educational mission. Devon thought I was the smartest person in the world, and he and Ian loved me and were always happy to see me and sad to see me go home. My son truly seemed to enjoy talking to me about space exploration or geology or history or whatever topic came to mind. I helped him to make ends meet or to care for the boys, or any of the other things that grandparents/parents step in to do. It was a small little world, but my presence made a difference in it.
Where do I go now? What do I do? Why am I still here? My daughter has always been very self reliant and doesn’t need me. The college has made it clear that it doesn’t need or want me. Victims’ groups that say they need my expertise don’t. They all have very clear ideas of what they want done and who they want to do it. My contributions aren’t really welcome, because change isn’t really welcome. They want me to take what has always been done and make it miraculously produce what it has never produced before. There is no way to be successful at something like that. And, while I have 25 years of experience in fundraising and database management, when it’s time to actually hire someone to do one of those things, I’m not considered.
Against all logic, outward appearances are all that matter. I’m fat and old and I’ve never cared about the way I look. I live inside my head, in my intellect, which, as Ian said once, “has fire in it.” I work hard, I read fast, learn fast, and am interested in everything, especially people. I believe that most people are capable of achieving almost anything through hard work and determination, whatever their background or circumstances. All they need is a chance. Unfortunately, no one believes that of me. Why? I like almost everyone. I’m great with animals, children and computers. I can write well, speak well, and think on my feet. I can hold my own in almost any discussion, because every subject interests me. I want to help people. I want to make things better… not just for me, but for everyone.
So, why am I so useless? Too old, apparently, to work, but too young to retire. Uneligible for benefits, but not worth being paid to do anything. Popular on the internet, all over the world, but not worth talking to in person. When I volunteer for things, I’m not really trusted to do anything but the most basic grunt work. My suggestions aren’t welcome in any context that will really make a difference. I have passion but nothing to focus it on. Why is our society so obcessed with youth and beauty that even in this troubled economy they would rather hire three people who are young and unreliable than a single person with experience and work ethic who would produce more than the other three put together? Is it really that impossible to see beyond the surface?