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aging

 
 

New Year, New Plan

Nothing but open roads to explore.

Unlike most people, I’m not interested in making resolutions at the beginning of a new year. I believe that we should always strive to be better and practice self-reflection. Humans have adapted to this behavior of acting out and then asking for forgiveness. People have truly forgotten how to live in the moment. No resolutions for me, only living in the moments as they present themselves.

Part of learning to live in the moment is believing that you are where you are always supposed to be. Sometimes that is a hard thing to do, especially when nothing is going right, and the world seems to be conspiring against you. Try thinking about it differently. Think that the world is conspiring to move you.

In fact, when life keeps trying to move you and you don’t listen, the lessons you are being taught get harsher until you do listen. If you never learn anything else, learn this.

When it is time for you to move toward something else, the universe
conspires to do everything it can to push you along on your journey. We get stuck sometimes. Some of us spend most of our lives stuck. Don’t be stuck in anything. Be willing to change. Change is an important part of life because along with change comes learning.

Some people refer to this as the ability to adapt. Science calls it survival of the fittest’ and it doesn’t always mean physical fitness. Mental fitness is likely to be more important. My father always said, “If you work smart, you never have to work hard.” I wish I knew where he had originally heard the expression because it has stuck with me for my entire life. I’d like to thank the person that he learned it from because it has served me very well.

I’m making a few changes in this upcoming year. As you know, I’m a wanderer.

I’ve been waiting to announce plans that will blow you away. I’m moving to Alaska! Yes, Alaska. You read that correctly.

I have a friend that I’ve known since just before a couple of years before my father died. Jake is a great guy and we used to hang out all the time, doing what 26-year-olds do; not much really, but having fun doing it. We had a lot of fun. He was there for me when my foot was crushed working at K-mart distribution in Ocala, FL. K-mart denied the entire incident, by the way, because my supervisor, Ed, failed to type a written report when I went to tell him about it the accident. I finished my shift, but I developed a horrible limp which turned out to be the tendon being torn from the bottom of my foot.

I walked with a crutch for quite a long time and it was years before my foot felt normal. Jake was the one who showed-up at my door with a couple of bags of groceries for me, knowing that I was struggling without me every even telling him I had little to nothing in the house. He was just always that guy. He’s also gay, but the sort of gay man that most of society never guesses at a glance because he’s big and rugged looking. He looks like Garth Brooks’ younger brother.

He and I lost track of each other through the early 2000s, but I eventually tracked him down again and we have kept in touch through phone calls and text messages. A year ago, he had cancer and went through treatment. He had part of his liver removed and he also lost part of a lung. He’s come through it okay so far but cancer changes people. Life changes people too.

He contacted me and poured his heart out. He’s sick of the rat race, the political crap, the hate crimes, the hatred and anger in the world. He has a void inside him that he wants to fill with something. He’s soul searching like we all do. I feel it too. Each word that poured out of him, I could relate to. Not wanting to date anyone anymore or really want to be with anyone at all, not really caring about partying, pleasing people or compromising what I want for what others want and see as normal.

His words sank in and I felt them more than I heard them. I felt my soul stirring. I wanted away from it all too. There’s a certain peacefulness that washes over you when you decide that you aren’t going to buy into the rat race.

It’s the same as realizing that when you stop interacting with a narcissist and feeding their desire to get in your head for attention that you are happy without them. When they move your stuff, throw your things in the trash, get loud, and demand your attention, ignoring them and going ghost is what makes them the most crazy and gives you the most peace. 

I digress. We had a few conversations like this and suddenly one day he asked me if I’d go to Alaska with him. He wants to live more in tune with nature and less with civilization. He wants to hunt and fish and just ‘be’ and I can so relate to that. He also wants to be alone most of the time but understands the sense of security in having people around that you can trust. I said yes.

I had always harbored a desire to see Alaska and we all know here that I don’t just go visit anywhere, I move there. I live there and get to know the place, the people, the places and experiences that are there for me to have. That’s been my life heretofore, but I sense that this move is different. Jake is planning on three of us going but all having our own tiny little cabins and our own 5 acres. That will allow us to have safety and security, while still being on our own.

He is selling his house for the money, and since it was basically a flip house when he bought it, he should be able to sell it quickly and make a handsome profit. That money is buying our 15+ acres and tiny houses. He wants to buy my retirement home, and he’ll deed it to me so that if anything happens to him, it will always be mine.

We’ve discussed whether to be off-grid or not. We don’t really want to be totally off the grid. We’d like to at least have electricity and cell phone service. Outhouses or composting toilets are probably going to be necessary and running water is still being discussed. A well seems necessary, so we’ll see how that shakes out. I’m not opposed to roughing it a little because that just means getting back to basics.

A long time ago, when I took the name Jesse MacGregor-Jones, it was to honor my Celtic roots. My last name came from MacGregor. Jones was my mother’s maiden name, which is Welsh. Jesse is a different spelling of my paternal grandmother, Jessie VanFossen Greer. The name was meant to honor my people because one of the basic tenets of Celtic life and druidism is to always ‘honor those from whom you came’ and I try to do that all the time.

I was born from a long, long line of barbarians, historically speaking. Druidism was the way of life in ancient times and the more I learn about it, the more I relate to it Druids are the people you see depicted on shows like Britannia. Druids were in tune with nature, the moon and the seasons. Druids understood the stars, they were the healers who learned to harness the power of the plant world. Druids kept animals and claimed to hear them speak. Druids were the scholars, the poets, the lawyers of their time. People sought the wisdom of the druids because they were the keepers of knowledge. They were never concerned with wealth or pretenses, only with harmony and they things that would bring them the most peaceful existence. 

I identify with much of druid belief and way of life. I also honor animals of all types. I believe that the earth should be honored and taken care of. I feel joy in the changes of season and the boundaries between worlds feel like they are simply portals that we pass through. Magic seems like a good thing to believe in at a time when hope is all we have sometimes. I choose to believe that magic can happen. Druidism isn’t a religion, it’s a way of living your life. I like that, because I’m not religious – at all.

It’s obvious that I’ve undergone a lot of changes since the time I first started this blog. I’m more in tune and self-aware. I feel less of a need to seek happiness and I’m happier with myself. I’m content in many ways. I don’t feel any intense pressure or pain; my emotions are pretty level and my health is good.

I think a lot of my past issues with anger and emotional highs and lows was because my blood sugar was drastically out of control. For over a year now, I’ve been on Trulicity. My sugar was normal at my last A1C check. I’ve not had a normal A1C since 2003 or so. The difference in the way I feel is totally amazing. I’m far less irritable and I’ve also worked hard on meditation and learning to be in tune and aware of my feelings. I’m not perfect. No one is perfect, but I have learned to walk away and not engage in an argument. If something doesn’t serve me in some way, or if it causes me anything other than peace and happiness, I leave it alone.

Just as I have undergone changes, my writing has changed. I know that it may come as a sad realization to some of my fans, but I have no desire to write any of the erotica that I used to write. I’m too detached from that part of self now. I simply have no interest in it. Be it a hormonal change (I’m fifty and beyond menopause) or be it an emotional change due to how I view my place in this world, I’m different and I want to write things that are more substantial. I want to write impactful things.

With that, I’ve been authoring articles again and earning more than I ever have before. I’m doing surprisingly well, in fact. I’m also working on a new book. A fictional novel that is more of a fantasy book with a flavor of sorcery and witchcraft. I’ve never undertaken something like this before but I’m enjoying my research so far and the bit that I’ve written.

I am very hopeful to finish this book while staring out a cabin window, somewhere on the Kenai Peninsula. Cold weather really doesn’t bother me and I’m completely willing to take allergy pills, so I can handle a wood burning fire all winter. I’ll enjoy not being on the internet as much and enjoying the outdoors in-between writing articles. I’m looking forward to breathing fresher air, maybe doing some whale watching, and fishing. I’m anxious to see my totem animal. My totem is the salmon.

Yes, I was initially dumbfounded when the salmon found its way into my meditation over a year ago. I asked why I had been given a ‘fish’ instead of something cool like a wolf. I’m convinced that people who constantly refer to wolves as their totem animals are just picking that randomly because the wolf seems like a cool animal. I wanted my totem to speak to me. It did, and I never questioned it, no matter how unimpressed I was with it.

Several months later, I had a dog training client who was Irish. She told me about the ancient Celtic tale of Finn McCool and the Salmon of Knowledge. I read the story, after I easily searched it up on Google. I was totally stunned. First, Finn is mentioned in his Gaelic name, Fionn mac Cumhaill, in the readings I had done in tracing my family tree. He’s spoken of as if he were a member of the family. The lines of truth and myth were often blurred in Celtic lore.

I realized that I have a personal connect with the Salmon of Knowledge and it moved me and tickled my soul. I’ve been awakening. These stories, coincidences and happenings are awakening me. I’m following my destiny, whatever it may be. For now, my novel is taking shape and perhaps it will be a sensation? I don’t know. Perhaps it will change a life or two, which is equally successful in my mind. Maybe I will simply have fun while writing it?

While in Alaska, I also hope to do some photography. Early in life, from age 15 to 20, I took a two-year course to be certified as a graphic artist, with my focus primarily in photography. I was apprenticed to a photographer in my junior year of high school. I have some publications that I can submit nature and outdoor articles to, with photos. I am hopeful of getting published in a few of these.

That’s it, guys! I’m moving to Alaska. I’m going to live in a tiny cabin with my two dogs (and probably will get a larger husky or malamute to keeps us safer). I will have a home that is paid for, without a mortgage. I will be able to put my roots down in a way that serves me, in a place of MY choosing. I’m not running from anyone or to anyone. I’m deciding for self and it feels fucking fantastic!

So here is to a new year, a season of change and a life ahead of me to be lived. I wish you all the success and happiness that you desire this new year. I hope that you will find what profoundly moves you to be the person you are meant to be. I hope that you find love, not ust romantic love but a love of life and of self. Love is the answer.

The druids lived by three basic tenets: Wisdom, Creativity, and Love.

I have always said, “Breathe, Believe, Become”

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Categories: aging, Alaska, Druidism, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Today We Bury A US President

Can We Also Bury Anger With Him?

I remember the years after Ronald Reagan very well. My parents were still alive, I was young, and times were different. Times were very different then. There wasn’t access to the news at the spur of the moment because smart phones had not been invented. If you wanted to read the news, you went out and got a newspaper. You put your quarter in the machine on the corner and walked back home, past the telephone booth. In my neighborhood, you waved at the local hooker and gave a head nod to the guy across the street who you knew was selling drugs out of his house. You kept your head down and you stayed out of trouble. 

The Early Nineties

The year was 1991 and I had just moved to St Pete, FL. I was working as a waitress in a place that still required me to wear a dress and pantyhose each day. I walked to work or rode a bicycle. I had a car and it was broken down more than it ran. It stayed parked most of the time. It was a brand new Dodge and to this day I won’t own another one. 

I had moved to the coast because my parents lived in Ocala. I had not been very wild about the fact that they sold their house and followed me to FL in 1987. I considered it my mother’s final attempt at ruining my life and continuing her efforts at manipulating everything she could. Of course, she wasn’t all bad. As an adult now, I can admit this. At that time, however, I had just come out as gay and she and I were not getting along at all. 

The AIDS crisis was in full swing. Being a young lesbian, I was aware of it and was fearful of contracting it myself. Even though it predominantly was an issue that affected gay men, women were not totally safe. I read “And the Band Played On” from cover to cover and was somewhat horrified. It would be many years before that made it to the big screen. Gay people knew. We were living in it, neck deep. 

The Real Reagan Legacy

Ronald Reagan didn’t acknowledge the epidemic for what it was. It was never funded. It was, to be blunt, completely ignored. Gay men were dying at astronomical numbers. These deaths were long and painful. Most of the people I personally knew who died passed away from breathing complications – typically pneumonia. I remember one friend the most. His name was Christopher Gomez. Chris was a wonderful person. There were times that he’d see me walking home after work, or on the way to work. He would do a big U-turn in the middle of crazy 4th Street North, stopping traffic in the process, in order to pull-over and yell, “Get in, I’ll drive you!”

He was a nice person. He had dark hair, brown eyes, a pale complexion, and he was short. Chris probably didn’t stand over five feet, six inches tall. He worked as a waiter and he made good money. Like most of us in those days, he spent more on beer and having fun than anything else. We lived in neighborhoods that were seemingly small in the middle of a large city.

I had several  friends, a different life back then than the one I live now. I was more social and could more easily deal with loudness and chaotic situations. As I’ve grown older, my spectrum disorder has become increasingly a challenge. I don’t react well to intrusions into my quiet time, I do not socialize outside of the home much because the recovery time for me is lengthier than it used to be. I get grumpy if I feel intruded upon too much. It unnerves me. I do look back on those times fondly, in part because I was able to be social. People don’t realize that those on the spectrum want to be social. We just cannot be social all the time

George Herbert Walker Bush was our president in 1991. I do not remember ever hating him back then. I disliked his policies and I disliked the fact that we were at war in Iraq. The Middle East has never seemed like a place for American soldiers, in my opinion. Those people don’t like each other, and I don’t think they ever will. Why we have to get in the middle of it all the time is truly beyond me. I am 28 years older now than I was then, and I still don’t understand our constant involvement in the Middle East. It seems a never-ending circle of death for American soldiers to me. 

Times Were Hard

My mind still goes back to a time when I held the hands of dying friends, like Christopher, with tears in their eyes, knowing there was absolutely nothing that could be done. Watching someone die, resigned to their fate, is a very difficult thing to when that person hasn’t led a full life. You mourn the years that should have been.You wonder whose lives they should have touched, the loves they should have had. . . 

What was extremely troubling, and has haunted the legacy of President GHW Bush, was his continuation of the Reagan administration’s neglect of the AIDS crisis. So many in the LGBTQ community hold them personally responsible for the deaths of countless people in our community. As recently as a year ago I was accused of being a single-issue voter, which I’m not and never have been. The accusation was because of my concern over gay rights issues. That just happens to be a life or death thing for me! As is healthcare. As is social security being there when I am 67 years old one day. As is the housing crisis. As is gerrymandering and voting problems, lobbying, term limits, and a nauseating list I don’t want to focus on at this moment.

I digress. The AIDS crisis is still held against the senior Bush. I have recently seen many people bring this up the last two days. I’ve seen some very hateful things said and shared on social media. I’d be a liar if I said that it didn’t make me sad because it makes me weep for the society we have become. We are just very hateful now! 

Human beings are imperfect. Our special qualities have always been in our ability to forgive, to love, and to understand that none of us is perfect. We all struggle with our demons and we all make mistakes. Some of us make bigger mistakes than others. What I base my judgements of people on is whether or not they intended to harm others. I also look at whether or not the individual has done anything to redeem themselves. 

Should Four Years Determine Your Legacy?

The patriarch of the Bush family has left behind a legacy of charity work that most of us will never achieve. George HW Bush worked in every way he could to do bipartisan work with Bill Clinton, to bring humanitarian aid to others. He supported and founded the Bush Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund. He also supported the following charities: Covenant House, FC Harlem, Heifer International, Save the Children, Smile Train, United Nations Development Program, and the Vijay Amritraj Foundation.

President Bush was a man who could reach across aisles and do what he thought was best for the country. He lied about his age so that he could fight for his country. He is guilty of imperfection. Aren’t we all? Has he fully made up for the lives lost to AIDS? I’m not sure that he could ever have done that. Is it so hard to believe that in the early days of AIDS many people made bad decisions? They did. It caused a loss of life greater than what it probably should have been. Is the man responsible or was it the era that we lived in? We have learned more and we have moved on. Have we not?

I can tell you that Christopher would say that ‘the guy did a lot of great things the rest of his life. He made his peace with his own God.’ Forgiveness is the only way forward. Today, I’m making the choice to forgive him and move on. While we shouldn’t use our current administration to normalize anything, I do believe that it certainly must be a basis for clarity.

We can say a lot of good things about the senior Bush. We can say that he was a man who made mistakes but tried to do much that was right with is life. We can say that he was a sensitive man, a family man who loved his children and his grandchildren. He was one of the last truly moderate Republicans who could listen and work with democrats. He was from an era that wasn’t all that bad, even though it wasn’t totally good. 

The older I get, the more I want peace. I have learned to pick and choose my battles and I’ve learned when to forgive. This is a case that I will choose the latter and show my respect to a man who gave most of his life in service to his country. An honorable member of the armed forces, he never shirked his duties. He knew what decorum meant. Even in death, there is a calm, quiet dignity that we are not accustomed to anymore. I can welcome this return to tradition and values today, with my hand over my heart. 

“Thank-you for your service, Mr. President.”

Categories: aging, American government, death, equal rights, gay lesbian, lesbian, life lessons, love, Politics | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing Old Is Getting Old

 

It has been a wild ride, these last 50+ years. This winter, the shoulder pain has been tougher than ever. CBD oil helps immensely though!. If you’ve not tried it, I highly recommend it. The oil helps my ADD and pain. I also recommend turmeric with curcumin. That stuff is an amazing natural anti-inflammatory and scientists agree that it has benefits and warrants more research. It works wonders for arthritis and joint pains from injury. Aches and pains are just there to remind us of the fun we’ve had I suppose, but growing old really does get old some days!

It’s good to be back here in a space I have always held so near to my heart. Butch Ramblings was my healing journey and my happiness. Ramblings was my home for a long time. I blogged my way through isolation, heartache, stupidity, growing pains and more. Someone once said to me that it was’ time I settled down and put down roots somewhere.’ That life isn’t meant for everyone. It isn’t meant for me. I’m an adventurer.

Don’t let people tell you what to do. You do what is best for yourself and you’ll always be fine. Trust me on that. These are my roots right here. This is my legacy. This website will be around long after I am gone. Hopefully that won’t be for a little while yet. On the other hand, if it happens tomorrow, I’m prepared. I’ve lived a good life and I’ve come to terms with most of the lessons I have learned along this path. I’ve had ups and I have had downs.

I’ve had many sleepless nights. I’ve had other nights where I have slept like a log. I have awakened with clarity over things I had been worried about. I’ve ruminated over a decision for far too long. I have still made the wrong choice. In fact, I’ve made a lot of bad choices. I’ve also made some pretty damned great choices. The universe is awesome that way because there is balance in everything we do. The wisdom that we receive, once we are open to it, is pretty amazing.

I have heard people whine about losing their trust of others. I’ve seen people place blame on everyone else in their life for all the messed up shit they have been neck deep in for years. At some point you have to take responsibility for yourself and realize that you’ve been an asshole to everyone around you and that’s why nobody sticks around. At some point you choose to trust or not to. You either get tired of living a life that is an empty shell or you get down in it and get dirty. Bathe in the mud!

I’m a mud bather. I admit it. If shit gets deep, I’ll swim out into it a little further just to see how deep it will get. I figure once I have some mud on my boots I may as well get really dirty. I take chances on people. I walk away from people fast too. Things that will get me to walk away fast are people who become passive aggressive. People who don’t know when to shut up or respect my space drive me cuckoo too. People who, in every single conversation, relive the past and place blame on other people constantly. That gets old really, really fast. At some point, stop being a victim in your own novel. Choose to be the hero.

That’s all of my deep thoughts for now. I’ll move on to reality. I am living with a friend who is letting me use her place as a staging area before I make a big move that I’m not quite ready to talk about yet. While here, I’m trying to help her as much as possible. She’s getting older and her house has been falling into disarray for the last few years. She broke her back and has had difficulty with mundane tasks. My goal is to do some work, help her put into place some things/processes that will make it easier for her to function, and make sure that she has what she needs to survive. Right now we are in the middle of showering her with Christmas gifts, thanks to so many Facebook friends! I’m so blessed to have really good, caring individuals that I’ve met there and I choose to keep them around in my life! Such GOOD we get accomplished as a tribe! Love and kindness really do go a long way in keeping people in your life.

I have plans to do some wildlife photography soon, while I still can. I’m writing again, while I still can. Last year I was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. In other words, the capillaries in the backs of my eyes have been bleeding. It clouds the vision over time. It has slowed drastically with my blood sugar more under control but the odds of me going blind in time are very high. My eyesight is not what it used to be and I have issues already. I miss little typos here and there. The doctors at the Kittner Eye Institue in Chapel Hill, NC,  also noticed that I have a cataract on my left eye. It isn’t really operable and it is from scar tissue, likely from blunt force trauma. Apparently, according to them, I’ve had it my whole life since infancy. It is very old and that explains a lot about my sensitivity to light. Lasting effects from childhood abuse I presume but don’t really know for sure. At any rate, my vision is an issue but I don’t intend to let it stop me. When the time comes, I’ll see about voice recognition software and dictate.

I’ve been playing guitar again over this last year. I promised myself that I’d do something for myself, personally enriching, for my 50th year on the planet. I’m having the time of my life with it. I used to noodle around with some chords a long time ago. I’ve picked guitars up and put them down a dozen times over the years. I never really got enthusiastically involved in practice and learning because I never really knew exactly where to start. Fender Play got me down the right path. Technology is so advanced these days that there are lessons online everywhere and I’m really absorbing them. I love it! Best thing I’ve ever done was to pick it up again.

I have plans to begin submitting articles, with wildlife and outdoor themes, to some magazines in the outdoor genre. I have lost a lot of weight in the last year and gained a little winter weight back but I’m on an indoor bike trainer that I was able to plop my Fuji mountain bike on so I am hoping to get that weight right back off plus some more. My mental state is free and easy these days. I’m not running from anything or to anything. I just AM. It’s a great place to be! I’m living life for me. I spread a little joy here and there and just work on being the best me that I can be. If everyone else did that, the world would be such a better place! Don’t you all agree?

Categories: ADHD, aging, child abuse, death, life lessons, love, self-help, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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