Monday, March 26, 2018

Fighting against the inevitable

San Felipe sunrise
To repeat what I said last week:

"If someone offers you a travel opportunity, you may regret it if you don’t go, but you aren’t likely to regret it if you do go."

This is a true story. It more or less has a beginning but, so far, it has no end. It isnʼt fiction and doesnʼt have a villain or even much of a heroine.

It happened to me.

The "I" in the book is me, Kay Davies, a former workaholic turned government-registered unfittie; the "he" in the book is my husband Richard, a senior who can still run fast enough to referee high school basketball and football, plus play tennis and pickleball.
My mind boggles at the thought of his energy.


After a few successful trips westbound from southeastern Alberta for visits with my family on The Wet Coast, including popping down from Vancouver to Seattle, Washington, to watch the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team play the Seattle Mariners, my husband Dick and I decided we should try "real" travel...
Rather than the 30-hour round-trip drive to the coast and back, we decided to try flying somewhere.
The Toronto Blue Jays were about to play in the first-ever World Baseball Classic in San Diego, California, so we flew down to take in the sights as well as a game or two.

2006 World Baseball Classic

Yes, I ached all over but, still, I was a different person then...younger,  a little healthier perhaps, but certainly no wiser: so when Dick had suggested San Diego, I thought "Sure, San Diego, piece of cake" or words to that effect. Catch a couple of ball games, go to the zoo, eat some seafood, smell the ocean. Why not?


Travel wasn't new to me, and nor was San Diego. In my earlier days, I thought nothing of flying from the west coast of Canada to the east coast of the US to meet up with friends for a weekend...or spontaneously catch a flight to southern California, rent a car and pop down the Baja Peninsula  to visit my parents and much-younger brother at their winter home in Mexico, so San Diego wasn't new to me, either.
My brothers, Rob, left,
and Clint, 1968

I once took a year off to play, rather than work. During that year I took my 14-year-old brother Rob to Australia for a month, then returned to British Columbia to write my first (and only) novel. It was not a success, and never published, but I was pleased to have finished it. 

Later came the time when it all stopped...not just running foot-races with my much-younger brother. That went first, of course, because he got faster as I got slower...but my pick-up-and-take-off lifestyle eventually stopped, too.

I didnʼt relinquish my wanderlust willingly, but relinquish it I finally did, because I could no longer work as a newspaper compositor. My several disabilities meant I couldn't guarantee Iʼd show up on the job every day, nor be able to produce any significant amount of work once I got there.

For a while (for too long, in fact) I fought my fate. I denied it even as I railed against it, and  refused to apply for a disability pension until several different illnesses, pains and horrible-awfuls in various parts of my body had me pretty much licked. I had tried to work, but couldnʼt, so was forced to sell my house and live on the proceeds.

Moved myself and my cats...Herman, left, and Ava
(Drawing by Rob Davies, Atomic Cartoons)
Then I gave up, applied to the feds for a pension, and waited for my application to be approved. 

When it saw I was thoroughly beaten down, the government finally started giving me money every month to make up for my general uselessness and lack of reliability.

I moved myself and my two cats from The Wet Coast to a drier climate in central British Columbia, where my new doctor discovered that the medication prescribed for one illness had caused more damage to my already beleaguered body.

My eyes developed cataracts, my teeth began to shatter, my blood sugar went wonky, my bones got terrifyingly thin, and I got fat. I swelled up like a balloon, and have never lost that steroid weight.

My old self-image
It was a few years after this that I met Dick. He didn't realize I had lost my looks, and if he did notice I wasn't slim, he didn't seem at all put off by it.

I, meanwhile, was still hanging on to my old self-image, inwardly screaming because "I" was gone, and I still wanted to be me.

However, being cared-about was somewhat seductive. I sold my mobile home and moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta, married Dick and took up some serious traveling with him.

Sometimes I still wonder which I miss most, a successful career in the newspaper and printing industry, or a pretty face and a slim body.
Itʼs a tough call. 
My job would have disappeared anyway. Newspaper compositors have now been replaced by computers the world over and, on the other hand, it doesnʼt much matter if old ladies arenʼt pretty.
Dick thinks Iʼm cute, which is probably why I married him. However, it is a compliment about which Iʼm ambivalent. Most of the time, I am glad he thinks so, until I remember Iʼm a cute old lady, not a cute young thing. Sigh.

So, where was I? Oh, yes, I relinquished my lifestyle, moved away from the wet west coast, and some years later settled into semi-domesticity (Iʼm no oneʼs idea of a housewife) out here on the prairie, where the deer and the antelope play.
I could still book a seat-sale flight, or Dick would drive me out to BC to check on my elderly parents a couple of times a year. Iʼd see other members of the family, visit a few old friends, get some good fish and chips. Coupled with our occasional adventures, it was enough.
I was content. 
(more to come)


A Bit of the Blarney said...

Anticipating your next post!

carol l mckenna said...

Very contemplative post and neat photos ~ You might Thomas Moore's Book ~ The Ageless Soul ~

Happy Days to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I'd say a life well-lived, with all that came with it! YAM xx

mick said...

Thanks I enjoyed this - and more important I needed it!! Thanks again!!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I just read both your guide 'redux' posts ... and I DO remember always knowing what the title of your blog meant (and being so glad when you came back again recently). so maybe I did read these exact posts before, but while I knew the general gist, I didn't remember all the details. Boobies!! Sloths!!

And besides that it was good to be reminded to take advantage of every travel opportunity and also to remember that the good memories always last longer than the occasional inconveniences. (I admire your willingness so much in the face of health difficulties. And Richard is a good guy!!)

Weren't you at one time writing a book on this theme?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for visiting my blog, Kay! Your intro wants me to know what's next, so you're probably a good writer! You are right if you were in the newspaper business - eventually you would have stopped - a sad consequence of the digital age:(
So, what's your focus on now?

Phil Slade said...

Give us more Kay. That was a tantalising little slice of your life story. You're spot on of course. We should continue to travel and explore the world, even if we can only get to the corner shop. You see so many older people "waiting to die". Sounds cruel but it's unfortunately true.

4 weeks and were're off to the Med- can not wait for some warm sunshine.

Yes, five grandkids and highly unlikely to get any more. Half-term this week means we are a bit shattered but worth it, even if the evening wine intake does go up.

Fun60 said...

I am intrigued by your life and ability to overcome your disabilities.

Lady Fi said...

You need to write your memoirs! I love your the way you write...

Kaya said...

I read you story and thought that you are a very courageous and interesting woman!
I am a housewife who happened to like photography and nature. I don't travel much but I like to dream

Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. I enjoyed it very, very much.
Greetings from Utah.

Jeanna said...

Sounds like a fun game and I agree about regretting not going on a real trip.

colleen said...

It leaves me wanting to know more about your disabilities and how you navigate them. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and it certainly has changed my life.

aspiritofsimplicity said...

It sounds like you have led a fairly interesting life thus far.

Al said...

It's definitely better to do something, anything, rather than nothing.

New Jersey Memories said...

Now I'm intrigued and want to read more!

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Bravo to your journey thus far! Your Hubs knew a beautiful woman when he met you. And congrats to writing your novel. It's not an easy thing to do. I only got 3/4 through mine many years ago. :-)

Birgitta said...

Very nice post! Like!

elizabeth said...

I enjoyed reading about your travels and your love story too!

Jackie and Joel Smith said...

My first visit to your delightful blog and I can think of so many friends who could benefit from reading it. I will be recommending it and will be back. Hope you'll continue to be a regular at Travelnwrite as well. We share not only a memory of hanging clothes in the proper manner but also of having been part of that dying industry of print journalism.

Betsy said...

I want to read more now. Very interesting and so glad I found myself here. Will be back to read more. betsy

Gattina said...

It sounds as if you are writing a book about your life !

Peabea Scribbles said...

I love your hubby's nature since he well knows you don't love someone for their looks; although I doubt that you are not cute. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You're lucky to have found such a guy. Enjoyed reading some of your life. Sounded adventurous, and probably more to come if only small ones. Prays that your pain is less each day. :)

Peabea from Peabea Scribbles

Victoria said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog. I look forward to reading your next post!

A Quiet Corner said...

Kay, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this because I plan on having "an adventure" later this year...something I've always wanted to do because I have the opportunity I would regret by not going!...:)JP

dee Nambiar said...

I love your writing, Kay. (Aren't we thankful for Web 2.0!) You should pick up that novel you once wrote, go over it and publish it.
Stay active, stay happy. Keep blogging. :)

PS: Thank you so much for sharing your Mt. Helens experience. It meant so much to read a comment that added to the story. :)

Minoru Saito said...

Hi! Nice story. Thanks for sharing.

Jenn Jilks said...

I think you've really made the best of it.
I still regret 'retiring' but I was burned out. I should have taken leave. It's been a long time without a compass. I try to make the best of it, blogging, reading, researching stuff I come across.
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Angie said...

I am not sure why you never published your novel, but if it's anything like the writing in your blog, maybe you should re-consider? I thought your line about trying to decide which you missed most, the career or the body, was interesting. I am only in my early 50s, and I can already say that I will miss my body and looks much more than my career!!!

I am looking forward to more of your entrancing writing.