Here’s a problem with blogging: I hate typing. Not only do I hate it; I suck at it. I can’t type three words in a row without having to correct a dozen typos. (Well, that’s probably a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one.) And no matter how much I practice typing, no matter what methods or typing courses I attempt, I never get any better. So typing remains a frustrating enterprise. I’d much rather hand write everything, but that doesn’t help much when sooner or later whatever I write has to find its way onto the computer in order to find its way into the blogosphere.
I never took typing in high school. I had so many music classes during my day that there was simply never room for it in my schedule. I had to take both night school and summer school as it was in order to complete my American and World History requirements. When I graduated, I had WAY more credits than I needed, but typing was not one of them. And forget those rumors you may have heard about piano players being good typists; I can prove that one wrong!
My plans, as is the case with most people lately, have changed. My original intention with this blog was to narrate my attempts to find something positive about reaching age 55. Foremost in my search was to be a new job—something to replace my two part-time jobs. Well, thanks to COVID-19, both of those part-time jobs are now gone, along with two theatrical productions I was counting on for not only some extra income but also to scratch my itch to perform. You see, I play piano and low brass and was just wrapping up tech week, previews, and the first two performances of Singin’ In The Rain at the Des Moines Playhouse. Rehearsals had already begun on a production of Guys & Dolls at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC). Both shows cancelled. Losing two jobs and two shows in less than two weeks hurts. A lot.
Okay, so this blog about me—Who cares? For starters, I do, and since I’m doing the writing here, my vote carries some weight! A less glib answer: I’ve been looking for a blog, vlog, website, chat group, etc. for others with whom I share some experiences and concerns. I am 55, married but with no kids, struggling financially, frequently feeling as if my ship has sailed and I missed it. My guess is that one or more of those situations resonates beyond only me. If so, maybe we can have a conversation about it!
As we as a nation and a world enter into what for most of us is unfamiliar pandemic territory, I will once again plug a handful of websites that I find comforting and/or educational:
Kahn Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/)
Crash Course (https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse)
Even while limiting the time we spend around other people, we don’t want to term into hermits! Nor do we want to waste our days mindlessly following unproductive internet clickbait. (Too easy to fall down that rabbit hole!) The information superhighway can be both informative and super if we use it wisely.
I tried several blog ideas on for size, each relating to an interest of mine: Art, Music, Religion, Running, Theatre, Cats, etc. But there are existing blogs about all of those things—really good blogs, better than anything I could come up with. So I decided to write about the one thing no one else is blogging bout: Me!
I have been absent from my blog for several weeks now, and a note of explanation is in order. A good chunk of my time recently has been devoted to applying to seminaries. The amount of time it takes—contacting people to write recommendations, ordering transcripts and test scores, putting together essays, etc.—is daunting. But my part of the work is done, so now comes the waiting. In some ways, this is the hardest part because it’s the part over which I have no control. I visited one school a couple weeks ago and am visiting another one this coming week, and that part of the process is a lot of fun. As soon as I hear “yea” or “nay” from any schools, I will let you know! In the meantime, I’d better go check my mailbox…again.
Yesterday I recommended some online people who inspire me. Now it’s time for the flip side. Many of the YouTubers I enjoy watching are half my age. They live in fancy big-city apartments and drive luxury cars and maintain lifestyles beyond far beyond my means. On one hand, I find them inspiring; on the other hand, I am seething with envy that is probably not healthy.
Every bit of advice I’ve read on how to be happy includes a warning to not compare yourself with other people. This is advice I have a very hard time following. How do you not compare yourself to others? How do I not watch a 20-something driving a Tesla and not resent my entry-level Ford? How do I not let a video on home decorating depress me when I’m wondering how to make next month’s rent on my tiny apartment?
Way back when I was in my own early 20s, I wrote and recorded two songs that have since taken on a bitter irony. “I Hate My Apartment” and “I Wanna Be Rich” were written when I was certain better times were just around the corner. A combination of bad luck, poor timing, and bad decisions has held those better times at bay. Don’t get me wrong; I’m certainly better off than millions—if not billions—of the world’s desperately poor and hungry people (and yes, I also wrote and recorded a song called “Hungry People,” but that one’s not online). Things, as they say, could be worse. But they could also be a lot better.
So please excuse this whiny blog post. My struggle is one I suspect I share with many people of modest means. It is also not entirely about money, though let’s face it: That’s a biggie. But even if all those talented young YouTubers were stripped of their high-price accessories, I would still be envious of their accomplishments. Ah, there’s the ticket! I may not be able to control what people pay me, but I can control what I do and how I do it. Focus on doing good work.
“Make good art.” – Neil Gaiman
And if anyone want to gift me a Tesla, that’d be cool too!