Saturday, November 24, 2012

55+ Unite

A few days ago I was gifted a book.  Yesterday, I read it. Today, I reflect.

It was a light, yet heavy, read. I have not done the related self-development tasks -- may have done it, in my own way, before. 

I recall being inspired at age 50 to develop my resume according to life-cycles. I am now 59.  When in the daily world of business, I had different expectations of my peers, both male & female, based on similar cycles. 

  1. Transition to World of Work. (2 yrs.);
  2. Increase Business Knowledge (3yrs.);
  3. Specializing (5 yrs.);
  4. Balance Family & Work (8 yrs.);
  5. Hard & Soft Skills Integration & new learning (5 yrs and ongoing.)
In fact, I was proudest of the men who consciously experienced #4 and felt somewhat sad for the females whose life choices made this a big "skip".  As a resume, the idea failed; but it is my career profile. It does not assume a zenith and is perhaps more female leaning than Ms. Lussier's Early, Midway,Zenith in that females are more likely to have a broad span of life balancing than their male counterparts.
The core theme of 55+ Unite seems to lean toward defining oneself with ones work or work related aspirations, maybe more than the author intended. It also presumes having girl friends as a innate part of womanhood - which may not be true of all women.

Some Ironies and thematic disconnects:
Page 4 "Aging professional women are encouraged to spend their final career chapter in low-paying, or no paying, charity jobs - to give back to the community and maybe rediscover some artistic skills or smoldering life goals. Nice gig, if you can afford it.

The irony is the conclusion "Nice gig, if you can afford it." 

I have such a gig.  Health insurance affordability will be the driver for how long I can sustain this gig. It is the best job I have ever had if challenges, fun and diversity of community interaction and potential for good are any measure. I know the devaluation of woman was what inspired the 'nice gig" slur of the author -- but I never truly wanted a career -- I have wanted this gig, without the overhead of needing to look for an income producing opportunity "with benefits," for most of my adult life. 

There is a pocket of women nicknamed "bennies" that are locked into unsatisfying careers because their hard working blue collar self-employed husbands can not truly afford family healthcare plans; especially if the work is seasonal. I was/am one of those.  

Stories: 55+ Unite is part memoir, part self-help.  It is a collection of stories thematically strung together based on some research & self-reports. It has value like journaling has value as it can kick-start some healthy reflection. It also reminds me of the challenges of storytelling; a tool that can make ideas stick, an abundance that demands curation to transform information into wisdom and a magical gift of humankind whose potential is still being discovered by artists and geeks. The work of Nancy Durante is particularly informing. She tweets here

My LinkedIn Profile states: Effective storytelling often shortens the time travelled from gap  -  to competence -  to action;  in a visceral making-a-difference way.  Therein, I am trying to congeal my business experience with my distractions because that is what business often expected of me -- but I also believe this to be true.  I just do not feel I can do storytelling well enough, myself and I am distracted by the Joy of mixed media.

A few days ago my imprisoned for life nephew asked my sister what had become of my book?  I wonder if he is remembering Kindle, my pass-it forward story drafted in 1976, or Mercy from 1993.  The 1st was distroyed in the real life story underlying the second.  As for the second, I no longer believe in the premise. I recently gave the incomplete manuscript to the real storyteller in the family -- in case he can use any tidbits for his work as a playwright. 

He tells me that I should work some of the ideas I send to him, myself. But I do not think he means Mercy -- but ideas like Meanwhile may have potential.  

So, I have read a book. It has made me complete a blog entry for which I have been delinquent most of 2012. So what of the inertia? What of the unanswered question - what do you WANT to be when you grow up?  And what about the absense of lifelong (or even longtime) friends in the collection of stories that are already fading in memory? What is the value of tweets, and blogs and poems?

This blog was initiated with a life lesson; and part of me feels I live it and part of me feels like a fraud but all of me loves the poem. 

And with this I conclude today's entry.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


On Oct 24th I was about to draft a post called meanwhile.  It was the day after I fractured my left ankle in 3 places.  The title alone which means to me the telling of story "at the same time, but from different places" remained in draft until today. 

If I am to add to the noise, or curate from the chaos, on this idea still far from formalized -- for that is all that it is, or has yet to be, then I need to make some serious changes in the deployment of my time.

Dancing in the Moonlight -- to one's own drummer

I am still shuffling the moments; recalling as much of "what connected" as "what felt out of step". Mostly, I struggle with what compelled me to connect at all and to remain even as others said -- evict.

ynchyldzwyld born 6.23.1953 passed 11.13.2012.  Turns out, part of the mystery is that she was riddled with cancer. She will likely have no obituary; so I will do my best here. Our pets always welcomed her home, Jake and Reilly never causing the 'melee in the ménage' that other arrivals would upon entering. From the very 1st meeting they accepted her, welcomed her pats on their heads; and in Reilly's case an occasional brief belly rub, always with a gentle admonition "I know, I know". The cats did not have long to wait for her to fill their dishes -- when they shared the common area of the kitchen, most often in late evening or very early morning.
She preferred second shift when there was work. Most of her last years were spent chasing the temporary agency assignments. In her last month after a concerted 6 months of effort, she secured two assignments, leaving the warehouse call center for one in banking. Maybe the 'coming out of recession' momentum was favoring her.
Many of her career years were in banking where her destiny was dynamically linked to rise and fall of the WANG Business Computing. It seemed she had a good decade with discretionary income and a false sense of security and success in the mid-80's. However, her post bankruptcy reinvention was not similarly successful. It might have been if she had not been one of the personal stories of the ATT CT call center shut down (@ 2008 and continuing)  because she was good at technology related customer service.
In 1971, ynchyldzwyld graduated from Brunnel HS in Stratford CT. That same year Wang introduced the first word processor, a typewriter with an electronic memory. In the mid-80's to 90's the Banking Industry was WANG, not Big Blue.  As a programmer analyst ynchyldzwyld found a comfortable niche. She was able to succeed in the world in a way that provided comfort to her inner world which would be a riddle to outsiders. The Yearbook quote she selected taken from Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows by Rod McKuen may attest to her awareness that her drummer was uniquely hers.

  • Poets after all, should walk and be content to take their time.

What I knew most that she was proud of her ability to provide customer service and there is evidence that this was not a misguided self-perception. She loved Earl Grey Tea, gems stones, and technology that could connect her, as close to 24 x7 as possible, to music and could secure secrets.
She once said , "People like you do not understand that I am okay being alone." Herein she was making assumptions about my support networks of family and it may be those misguided assumptions that secured both our distance and intimacies as I experienced being the last person in her life, in the last year of her life. 
-- maybe more will untangle, if so more entries will follow.