Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Turning Over a New Leaf for a New Year

I’ve always gone out of my way to help others, gone the extra mile, I guess because I needed the approval and acceptance of other people.  This is probably because of old baggage, the need to get the approval and acceptance I never got from family as a child. Guess what?  I am no longer that lonely sad child who needs to keep doing that.  I approve of and accept myself, finally.  I have pondered about New Year’s resolutions, and woke this morning realizing that this is mine… to be true to my own best self.
Who is that self?  No longer will I be the person who changes my schedule and goals and plans to accommodate others.  My life is very full, I have a busy schedule of things to do and places to go.  I am sure along that path I will meet others who will dove-tail into my life without me having to compromise what I want and need.  I am through going the extra mile to fit into other people’s schedules.  Done, all done. Yesterday, brought that in to clear focus for me. Do I sound like an old curmudgeon?  Well, just maybe I am… and if so, I am o.k. with that.
Where’s what happened yesterday.  I reported to the Rock Club to work a morning shift as a rock sawyer.  It’s hard and grimy work, and I just love it.  There has always been great satisfaction for me in hard work.  Sometimes my back hurts.  I get very dirty, a problem when you live in the desert with no hot running water for a shower.  But I love it.  And yesterday I got a real surprise while sawing one rock… when this pattern revealed itself… and I suddenly knew why I volunteered for this grimy work.  I immediately informed my supervisor that I had to buy that slab… and paid the $3 for it.  I love this rock.
A tree in a windy storm??
At noon I was off duty… and went to my van in the parking lot to check email and Facebook messages as a lady I know from Facebook was planning to come through town mid-day, layover, and go on to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show the next day.  She had been asking me about where to camp, boondock, eat, etc.  I spent a good bit of time making recommendations online.  So, I figured I’d save the time driving back to camp so that I could meet up with them this afternoon and see her new van.  I had work to do in the van… anyway.  So, looked online for an hour for messages from her, sent my phone number to her, went back in the rock club and left my phone number there for her… and then decided to grab a sandwich and “do genealogy” until I heard from her.  I could easily do all that without going out of my way for her or driving any extra miles.  No problem.
Got my food, parked over by Hi Jolly monument, and began working on eye-straining genealogy data entry into Ancestry.com.  If you have done any of that, you know it can be pretty intense.  I can’t watch Facebook and do this work too.  So for the next four hours I worked.  My phone was on.  I got no call.  At 5:30pm, I closed down my genealogy work, and checked back on Facebook.  The lady had gotten on a few minutes earlier, hardly “mid day” as she had told me, and said she was in town and gave me her phone number.
So at 5:40pm I called her.  They were at Family Dollar and said they were going to stay at B10 campground that night so they could have electricity to make coffee in the morning…. not boondocking like they had said. All the time I spend answering her questions and giving her ideas and recommendations, for what?   I told them I was only a couple blocks from there and would meet them there.  Forty minutes later they had not arrived at B10.  I thought I saw their van go past B10.  I was getting aggravated and was tired and hungry again. A morning of hard work in the rock mines (i.e. sawing rocks) and a whole afternoon doing eye-straining data entry made for a tiring day.   It would be dark soon and I needed to get back to camp as I can’t drive after dark, so I went home. (and no hot shower waiting for me when I got there).
Arriving in camp five minutes later, the moon was coming up and the sun was going down.  How happy I felt to be back home again… alone. Then the phone beeped and a voice mail message said they had checked in to B10 and were on their way up to Times 3 for dinner.  What?  They didn’t have time to check in to B10 and drive on to dinner from the time I left there five minutes earlier. It was their van that had gone past B10 while I sat and waited for them.   I texted them that I had waited but needed to return to my camp before dark… and that maybe next time I could meet up with them.  But secretly (well no secret now!) I was glad I had not waited more than 40 min.
Just how much are we expected to do for others? 
Where do we draw the line?
 I am drawing the line this year – that is my New Year’s Resolution.  Darn, if I stopped and went out of my way to meet everyone coming to Quartzsite who wanted to meet me, I’d never have a minute to myself.  It’s just no longer a sacrifice I am willing to make.  From now on, when I am working at the Rock Club, people can come meet me there.  If they want to join in on other activities I am participating in, they are free to do so… and I’ll make my Google calendar available to them.  I’m done.  The rest of my life is mine, on my timetable,  I’m no longer going the extra mile for anyone else.  I’m 70 and I’ve paid my dues.  I’ve got a hell of a lot of stuff yet to get done in this lifetime.  Others will now have to go the extra mile if they want to meet or spend time with me.

OK, so I’m old and I’m a grouch.  So be it.  Don’t expect more from me then you are willing to give to me.  I just ain’t got it left to give.  I’m done.  Happy Trails.
Rock Club site and newsletter:  http://qrgmc.org/
Rock Club Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/qrgmc/
QIA (Quartzsite Improvement Association) site: http://www.qiaarizona.org/
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  1. Beautiful Swankie, your message is timely and rings true. Thank you for witnessing to the facts of the matter, we spend a lot of precious time "waiting around" and getting frustrated, it is time to live on our own terms, a lesson well learned. Thank you more than you know, for sharing. Have a wondrous and blessed life and know you help those you may never meet "in the flesh." We dance as ever in the world of Spirit and Beauty.

    1. Wow, your words humble me. I have been afraid people would take great offense at this post, but it was written from the heart. I realize I omitted the part about not wanting smokers or pets visiting my camp in the future either. This may be harsh but it is a requirement to maintain my health. I have tried without success to compromise this need. No more. Just because I live out in the wide open spaces does not mean this is not my home. A person would not assume, in most cases, that it's ok to just walk into a sticks and bricks home, uninvited, and stay for hours, or bring their pets in to pet on stuff, or light up and smoke, any type of tobacco... so it's not o.k. here either. Your appreciation is much appreciated, Anonymous. Thank you.

  2. Charlene, Kadi here. I AM SOOOOO SORRY for all the frustration I caused you!! It was NOT intended!! I was truly looking very forward to meeting you and experiencing boondocking in my new van as I am certain that is the way I want to go. Unfortunately - in a way - I had asked a friend along and ended up having to cater to her. I had invited her as she has been heavily grieving the loss of her only child in an accident in Dec and thought the trip would be a good break for her. Along with her being in a depressed state, she started getting some sort of respiratory/couging thing around Blythe that we originally assumed was allergies. By the time we reached Q she was miserable. We hit Family Dollar for meds and then she said she wasn't up to boondocking, just wanted the creature comforts of a bath house, electricity, and quick access to the freeway in case we needed to find an Urgent Care or head for a hospital. By then all she wanted was dinner, drugs and bed. On top of that I was having issues with the new dumb smart phone I had just gotten. I am so sorry I didn't keep better in touch with you when we made sudden changes in plans or explain we were having issues. I'm learning my lessons - I hope!! I do plan to return to Q - by myself! - at some point and hope that you will still be open to meeting me. Again I am sooooo sorry!

    1. Kadi, thank you for your response. It is not all on you... your stop in Quartzsite was just a "straw" kinda thing. I do wish you had explained the situation with your friend, as I might have been able to assist in some way. There is an Urgent Care facility in Quartzsite now. As for breathing problems in reaching the Blythe area, others have also experienced that. It's a heavy agricultural area... and a valley inversion effect. Lots of junk in the air. I'm sorry your friend was going through so much and you are a good friend to stand by her. I would have done the same. If you return to Quartzsite at a time where you have more leisure, and some daylight hours, and I am still around, I'd be happy to meet up with you. One thing you should know is I don't have a smart phone, don't carry my phone with me all the time, and in fact a great deal of the time it is off and/or lost. So I may not get a message or respond in a timely manner. That's just how I roll as they say these days. Thank you again for apologizing and understanding. I believe I would enjoy meeting you in person. And by the way, I was not frustrated, just not safe staying out much later. My night vision stinks.

    2. Today I even posted this on one of the Facebook groups I have been a frequent poster on... As my life gets busier, I find I have less and less time for others groups. In support of the wonderful work has done with this group, I won't LEAVE the group, but also won't be as frequent in the future. Visit my personal Timeline if you need me, or my blog is you want to keep track of me... but be forewarned, I'm a fast moving target.

    3. thanks for your kind words way up there below my first comment on this post. I am relieved to see the "Swankie Spunk" coming to the fore again, bubbling like the recollection of spring as the season shifts and the sun returns. Our time is precious, it is our only possession. I need to guard mine better, your post was a good reminder to me of that which is why I wanted you to know that it was much appreciated. Fly, Charlene, Fly! or hike or drive or just meditate on beautiful scenery. Feel the earth return the energy of her life to you. And thanks for your candid sharing.

    4. Thank you again, Anonymous Kadi. I like and appreciate you. I look forward to meeting you one day in person. I love the Fly, Charlene Fly! I am going to make a grander effort to be true to my own best self. Thank you for reminding me of that need.


Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.