I spent a great deal of time alone. I work alone for my company, far from my house, far from our offices. I generally set my hours and agenda. Although I attend meetings, I rarely speak and I'm rarely addressed.
I write alone. I set my hours, objectives and agenda. It's my vision I pursue. No one hammers on me to get anything done except me.
Days like these, I feel the need to just be my own cheerleader and coach, telling myself to keep going, you can do this, whatever 'this' happens to be on that day. I sit with coffee in hand, tired from a night of sleep disrupted by restless cats, and I think of Peter.
Peter and I worked together. He's a software engineer. His first born child was often up half the night crying. Peter and his wife were soon exhausted. Walking around the office, Peter's bloodshot eyes, subdued shuffling, and lethargic mumbled responses betrayed a deeply tired person, hanging on.
I think of hungry, homeless people around the world, and the ones in our town, trudging around in worn clothes, asking for change and dumpster diving for garbage good enough to eat.
A friend, a nurse, told me of an obese patient in Medford, restricted to his home, coping with illness and disease. She was his connection to the health system, visiting him at home, checking on his health and prescribing medications.
He had a small dog that he loved a great deal. Limited in his mobility, the dog was his primary company. A neurotic, noisy animal, he always put it into a kennel for her visits so the dog would be out of the way.
The dog wasn't there for her last visit. She asked what had happened. The man, crying, told that the dog had become sick. The vet said it could be treated but the bill would be $500.
That was money the man didn't have. He had the dog euthanized.
He didn't believe he could afford to do anything else.
So on these days, manuscripts and query letter facing me, work spreadsheets and emails facing me, a cup of coffee in hand in a warm, quiet office, my cats asleep around me, the coach in me asks, "What the fuck is wrong with you? Those people have it much worse. They didn't give up on anything. Get your ass in gear and get to work."
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com