I was having a problem coming up with a word for the letter V. In fact, the problem was very vexing. I didn’t have a vision for V so I asked my sister, whose name just happens to be Vivian. She suggested the word “vivacious.”
Interestingly enough Vivian and vivacious start with the same three letters. So does vivid and vivisection but vivisection is disgusting and I refuse to use that as the theme for my blog post.
|Oddly enough, nothing here begins with V…
Maybe vivacious? Well, that means full of life. There have definitely been times, especially at the beginning of the Great Lockdown of 2020, that I did not feel vivacious in the least. It’s hard to be vivacious when you don’t have an audience.
It’s also hard to go anywhere. I had planned on spending most of April in the 2020 version of the walk for a nuclear-free future. The walk was to have been from Buffalo (or maybe points south) to New York City. I was looking forward to it, but, when it was close to starting time, it was beginning to seem like a bad idea. How could we walk in a group during a pandemic?
But I wasn’t too worried because I believed that the pandemic was going to end after a week or two of the announcement of the lockdown. I was truly clueless about pandemics at the time.
I clearly needed to reinvent myself. After the walk was canceled, I wondered what I had to look forward to, other than the coldness of days that all looked alike. I was getting discouraged and even a bit depressed.
The aloneness of sheltering in an empty house was getting to me. I could document my experiences, thanks to my training, but I still had to live them.
My education is in journalism. But the time and effort that I took to gain this education did not lead to good employment that paid a living wage. I was frustrated.
I felt that I had followed the “unwritten rules.” I had stayed in school and I had worked hard. So my reward should be a good job that leads to a fulfilling career, right?
It’s hard to feel vivacious when you’re left out of society. So I went for Re-invent number one, which involved studying Spanish and learning how to sing and paint. I’m not sure about how well those go together but, since I’m really not good at multi-tasking, it didn’t matter much.
I got to do cool things, which included being part of the chorus in three operas, whitewater rafting, and walking with a group from Chicago to Saint Paul, Minnesota. I became a master gardener and I went through the training to become a master naturalist trainee.
Life is good, right? Not lucrative, but good. I never did find that great, fulfilling career that paid a living wage. Every now and then, I think that I might have found it. But no, it’s like the big fish that I almost caught if only I had (fill in the blank). All I can do is tell the stories of that big fish that got away. In one version of the story, a job counselor told me to apply for a job as a technical editor. I read the qualifications for the job and, for sure, I didn’t meet them. But I applied anyway and got an interview.
I had to travel to the interview by bus, which took a long time because I had to take several buses. These buses are not designed to connect. It’s a flaw in the system that makes public transportation very user unfriendly. I did make it to the job interview, which also included an editing test.
The company that interviewed me was offering a living wage and really great benefits. I was excited. This could be the promised land. I had no training in technical writing but who knows? That could be part of Alice, Version 2.0. Uhhh. No. I had to edit something about pharmaceuticals. What do I know about pharmaceuticals? There were even all sorts of formulas and statistics and other stuff that was Highly Technical and flying over my head like a Scud Missile.
My visions of that Great Job that offered a Living Wage and Benefits were quickly turning to dust. Or formulas. Or statistics. I was told to sign a paper promising not to reveal any of the proprietary information that I had read in the test. I thought that the chances that I would reveal the proprietary information were zero, seeing that I didn’t understand a word that I had read. Their secret was safe with me.
Which brings us to the present. I have to visualize a future in which I may never see that living wage. A future in which I might not be able to do any more walks with groups. A future that I would have adjust for, to meet the challenge of change. In other words, reinvent myself again, to create Alice, Version 3.1. And so, it happens slowly. I am older than I was during my metamorphosis to Alice, Version 2.0. I am, however, alive.
A slice of life (yes, someone accidentally called me “Slice,” instead of “Alice,” and auto correct has wanted to change my name to “Alive.”). As a living person, I am capable of change, of reinventing myself and of becoming Alice, Version 3.1. And so, it is happening. It and I are a work in progress. Who knows? It may transform me into a more Vivacious Version than Version 2.0.
To be continued (eventually)