“You just inherited a dilapidated, crumbling-down grand mansion in the countryside. Assuming money is no issue, what do you do with it?”
I have often thought of this in my life. If I could what would I do to help people. I would fix up the home and create a shelter where people could transition from homelessness to having a home. One of the biggest issues with people who are the working homeless is that they don’t have enough money to get into an apartment, but make too much money for assistance to get into a home. The waiting lists are very long and it can take quite some time to get enough money to pay to get into an apartment. I would allow people to bring their pets and children would be allowed. There would be a large resource room for people to use computers for school and job searches.
There would have to be rules of course and admission would require that people attend workshops to learn how to handle finances, how to write resume’s and job search. There would be tutoring for GED and SAT testing. If you have alcohol, drug or anger issues you must attend counseling to deal with those issues. AA, NA, CS (Compulsive Shoppers), OE (Over-eaters Anonymous)You have to “work” to stay there. Whether it is working to find a job or working to improve yourself and your family through education and training.
I can hear people now saying that people won’t do that. Perhaps. But, for every family or person that stays and goes through the program I would probably lose two or more for various reasons. It is difficult to change and I have no problem helping people make the changes they need. But, I will not coddle them and I will not allow people to stay who won’t work on their problems. If they don’t they could just end up right back where they started. It isn’t enough to give someone a place to stay or rent for a month. They have to be taught and sometimes pushed into getting out of the cycle they are in.
But imagine if I could get even three families or people to change within a year. Imagine those people spread what they have learned to others. Imagine that in 10 years I could have helped 30 families to find their way out of their cycle of poverty and despair. Wouldn’t that be worth it?
Today was a hard day for me. I didn’t make my walk, though I have walked the dog a couple of times, but didn’t get out and do my usual routine. Just not feeling well. Unfortunately not taking my walk isn’t making me feel any better. Especially with the amount of food I ate last night at a banquet. I didn’t necessarily overeat, but I did eat more than I should have for my calorie allowance. But, with the issues I was having this morning it was better to err on the side of caution and not be far from a bathroom. I ended up going home to lie down at 930 am and not waking up again until 230 pm so, I guess I needed the sleep. However, I am now on the beat myself up bandwagon. It is difficult on days like this to feel that I accomplished anything. I am not very good at giving myself some slack as I feel or more like fear that this can lead to long periods of doing nothing.
On days like this I tend to play a recording of what someone once said to me. I had someone tell me once that my life was “full of excuses”. I told this person that excuses are for those that don’t want to do or won’t do anything about their situation. Reasons are for those that are trying to do something about the situation they are in and just failing miserably. I was in the last two years of the Navy. I was getting ready to retire and more and more of my duties were being taken over by other people and I was not allowed to be on any committees or anything out of the department really. This was a big blow to my ego as I had been used to being in charge of things and used to being involved in various activities. I was refusing to see the necessity of it as I was getting ready to retire and my replacement had to know the job. My health was getting worse as well as my psychological state. I was trying to get out of it and stop this downward spiral as I saw it and couldn’t. The medication I was on at the time didn’t help either. It was causing me to behave erratically and I didn’t put my foot down soon enough to stop taking it.
It felt at times like I was in a tank of water trying to stay afloat and the water just kept getting higher and the walls were made of glass and I couldn’t get a grip on anything. I could tread water and that was exhausting. Changes in medications I was taking was not helping. I was losing everything I had worked for and the more I struggled against the changes coming in my life, the worse the feelings became and the more out of control my life was getting. It is in retrospect that I realize we were both right. What this person told me was enough of a kick in the pants to try and get a hold of my life and really look at what I was doing and not doing right. I still ended up nearly drowning in that tank of water. As I write this I just had this image of the water reaching the top of this huge glass tank. There is no top on it and the water just spilled over the top. I just spilled over the edge with the water and falling for what seemed miles onto the floor. Wet, soaking, exhausted, broken and changed. In some ways for the better. In others not so much. I am more in control of certain behaviors that were causing me problems. Not so much control in other areas like anger. I was fortunate to have gotten treatment and kept my sanity….I think. There are times I wonder.
There is one thing I am learning though is to remember everything I have gone through and have more compassion for others going through the same things. I have great tolerance for those that are truly trying and failing. Even though they may fail, they still get up and keep trying. Rebuilding a life, a sense of self is a painful and difficult road. However, I don’t find much tolerance for those who are given opportunities for change and a better life and then waste them. They cheat themselves and others. It is difficult to say that and not sound like I am passing judgement. I am not. I just have seen that happen too often. And in this world of infinite unfairness, it has always been difficult to see people on the hard road who are trying and not getting help and others who know the system and take advantage of it get what they want. Taking from those who truly need it. Finding the balance of helping someone is difficult. Helping too much is a bad thing, but not helping enough is just as bad.
All you can do is try and forgive yourself for the mistakes you make in earnest and move on. Or when you perceive that you have failed yourself or someone else in some way you need to get up, review what happened, plan to make changes and move on. To wallow in self-hate and depreciation does no one any good and keeps you and possibly others with you, just were you are, stuck. So, I will stop wallowing in guilt for not going on my walk this morning. I will get out later this evening or tomorrow and keep trying.