Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I need to stop watching the news...

This post is full of whining.  You may want to skip it.

Last night, I was watching CBS news as Bill was coming home from work.  There was a story about a guy who had retired in 2011 as a lieutenant colonel in the Army and is a nurse anesthetist.  He lives in North Carolina, which means he probably retired out of Fort Bragg.  He probably has a family and bought a house in that area.  In the past year or so, he's been laid off at two hospitals.  In May, he starts a new job in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is a two hour commute from where he lives.

The guy said that he has a brother who is an Air Force colonel, about to retire, and very nervous about his livelihood because the military is drawing down and a whole bunch of people are about to be asked to leave before they might have otherwise.  There will be a large influx of military folks looking for civilian jobs and a lot of them may not have the skills to translate what they can do to civilian employers.  A lot of people are also bitter because they went to Iraq and Afghanistan and served long, thankless tours over there, only to be booted out earlier than they planned.  The guy who was interviewed on the news had been deployed nine times.  He, no doubt, was affected by his time at war.

Bill has to retire.  It's time.  He has no more years left, even though his spirit and body are willing and able.  This summer, he will have held a commission for 30 years, which means his time is just plain up.  I guess, under the circumstances, he's really lucky.  He will get a full retirement, once he pays back the $40,000 he got for getting out in 1995 (sort of a severance bonus).  That should take a year and a half, more or less, if he doesn't have to cut back on how much they take from his retirement pay every month because he's jobless.

We are lucky because we are flexible and can move if we have to.  We don't have kids to worry about; we just have dogs.  We don't own a home yet and aren't in a huge hurry to buy one.  I would like to own a home someday, but I want it to be in a place where we really want to settle down.  I'm not yet sure San Antonio is the place.

Still, these stories about veterans who can't find work disturb the hell out of me.  Last night, I got really upset about it… as well as a number of other issues.  There's just all this stuff in my head right now that is causing me angst.  What really sucks about this is that I feel like I shouldn't have so much angst because we are luckier than a lot of people are.  Even if Bill doesn't have a job, there will be money coming in for as long as he's living.  And shit, even if he dies, there will be money coming in to me, as long as I don't remarry.  At least that's what we've been promised, right?

I mean, seriously, how can I complain about my life?  Even the shitty parts of my life weren't really that bad.  I complain about my parents, but they are basically decent people.  I never had to worry about not having a roof over my head or food to eat.  I had a relatively privileged upbringing, even if I had to settle for public schools and drive beaters instead of new cars.  I have had the privilege of traveling all over Europe and I found a great man to share my life with, even though he has a really psycho ex wife and hateful kids.  I always wanted kids, but it's not so bad that I don't have them.  There's a lot of shit I wouldn't want to pass to an innocent child, plus they cost a lot to raise.  And you never know what you'll get when you have children.  You could have a great kid who is a pleasure to have around or you could have a kid who sues you for college money or tries to rip you off.

There was some abuse in my childhood, but even the *sexual* abuse involving my neighbor wasn't as horrible as it could have been.  He showed me pornography and made suggestive comments to me when I was a child.  But he never actually touched me or exposed himself to me.  What he did was wrong and would very likely land him in prison if he got caught doing it today.  But when I hear or read about what others have gone through, it almost seems like nothing to me.  Then I feel badly that it did affect me because others have had to live with worse.

Poor Bill is really feeling the pressure.  He wants to provide for us and has the ability to do so.  But the economy is scary right now, so it's very stressful and worrying.  It might help if I knew where we're going to be in the next few months.  But since we are able to move, that may be what we'll do… and that makes planning harder.

I think I scared Bill last night.  I have always had a bit of a death wish…  I'm kind of ambivalent about life and always have been.  I look at the world we live in and wonder why I should be delighted to be here every day.  Having been depressed before, I realize that I could be getting depressed again.  But even if I look at things rationally, I have to admit, there's a lot that sucks about the world.  Middle-aged people who just want to work and live a decent life where they can pay their bills are having to deal with trying to send their kids to college while taking care of their aging parents.  They're dealing with being laid off or having health issues… or having kids that go off the rails and sue them for college money or have any number of other issues that complicate life.

People who have done everything "right" and have spent their whole lives following a straight and narrow path are having shit fall apart on them.  When these people get overwhelmed and depressed, people think they're crazy for wanting to make an exit.  Tell a medical person you wish you were dead and they're liable to send you to the hospital for medication.  Personally, I don't think it's irrational to think the world today sucks.  I think it's probably always sucked, but now we have a lot more time to think about how it sucks and a lot more things that remind us of that.  I don't think it's always irrational to want to die.

Some people enjoy life more than others do.  Some people feel more obligated to stick around than others do.  Our society as a whole doesn't think people have the right to check out and anyone who expresses that desire needs treatment.  Perhaps a lot of them really do need treatment and will feel better if they take medication or get therapy.  Or maybe doing those things will just numb them enough to function until they get to a suitable age for death.  

Just for the record, I am not feeling suicidal myself.  I would not do that to Bill because I know it would devastate him.  Besides, there are still some things in the world that are worth living for.  But I am feeling frustrated and overwhelmed and guilty about how I feel, because I know I probably don't have the right.  I'm having some trouble reconciling some things and adjusting to new realities.  Transitions are difficult and it feels like everything is transitioning right now…  and as I feel these things, I realize that I'm probably whining and should just shut up and deal with it.

Sorry this isn't a "feel good" post, but a lot of my posts aren't warm and fuzzy.

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