Sunday (August 30, 2009) I read the story in the New York Times, "A Life Story in Need of a Rewrite", found here. I'm not sorry to say this person gets no empathy and no sympathy from me. Harsh, maybe. Cruel, not. Because it's the old adage, he made his bed (life) and now he has to lie it (live with it).
As I'm learning now having to write a six in front of digits for my age, while I harbor regrets and other emotions about my life and past, I fully realize it's done and can't be changed. It is what was and what happened, and like it or not, it's there, whether in my memory or that of others. I can apologize about my mistakes and forgive others for theirs, it still doesn't change the original and lingering emotions and feelings, mine or theirs.
But to imply some sense of empathy or sympathy for a man who anyone would consider modestly weathly with a good paying job, sorry not here. When he made 3-4 times the median family income in the US, there isn't much to think about. And now he's been out of a job for 18 months. Like the rest of the unemployed should shoulder his anger or whatever he's feeling?
I won't argue, he and his life needs a rewrite, and he has to reinvent himself. But who hasn't? I'm still doing that nearly 4 years after I retired early (long story about bosses and staff reductions). I saw my new life long before I retired, the ideas of what I wanted to do and I planned the finances, or as best I could, a few years before walking away (not long enough, but good enough).
It's been hard work and more than I had envisioned. It's had it's ups and downs and will have more ups and downs, partly do to my own genetic and lifelong Dysthymia. That's more the battle than the things and events in life, but then they go hand in hand too. What I have learned though, is that there is always more to do and even more than I can imagine doing.
A rewrite? I don't know what that is except to keep rolling on with what I love to do, and find ways to keep it going. And you can bet above all, I can stand on my deck knowing fully what I've done and have, and knowing I'm grateful for my reality and being. I'm not broke or poor. Money is an issue but not the day to day stuff of life. In short, I'm modestly independent to be free enough to enjoy where and what I am.
So, no, I have no sympathy for someone who has had a better life than me and faces similar hardships as I've felt. As I don't expect it from others of me. Quite the opposite, I respect those working harder with less, circumstances in life wasn't necessarily as kind to them as me. But the guy in the article? Sorry, not much to say except keep going and you never know.
And at the end of the piece, he seems to have some clues and insight. What else is there?