Fast Company

They Won't Let Me Retire to a Job

Hanh mitakuyapi / Hello my relatives.  It's been a long time since my last post.  Last winter was brutal up here - I literally spent the entire winter doing nothing but going to a temp job & home to eat & sleep, battling snow like we haven't had in over 10 years "both ways against the wind".  And where I camp, it can be uphill both ways, too.  This was "life" for most of the people I know here, too.  We literally didn't stop being dog-tired until roughly this August! 

A friend who is the County Commission Chair said he was so tired, he fell asleep while driving his tractor this spring!  Then came The Flooding.  Everyone was caught off=guard by a sudden thaw & resultant flooding.  In my friend's-&-my county, there are now over 1000 bridges in dire need of rebuilding, & at least that many miles of roads in the same canoe.  I thought - we all did - that I would be so busy working on road crews I would meet myself coming & going.  Not so.

I have a limp.  I've limped for something like 28 years; some days really bad, some days not so bad.  Have no idea why it isn't uniform, but I don't really care..  If I had the money, I would maybe go to a whiteman doctor & see what s/he had to say about possible reasons.  As a Traditional Lakota healer, my guess is, internal scar tissue & tincture of time.  Even with lots of supplements over the years, time tends to make all injuries worse; & I have scars from the top of my scalp to the bottoms of my feet.  I earned 'em; I'm not ashamed of 'em; but now they are causing me 2 kinds of grief - physical pain & financial pain as people claim they 'can't' hire me "because my limp bothers them" ( ! ).  Stupid, when you think about it, because people are not hiring a gymnast or a runner; they're hiring skill & experience & brains. Or they are supposed to be..  And they don't have to live with it..

But of late, everything is about "hiring the young" & "giving the young a chance".  PHOOEY!  I'm not much concerned with their straits - we "older goats" need to pay bills & eat, too.  Food, clothing, & shelter are not frills for us any more than they are for anyone else.

So - since I have not even made the poverty line yet this year, I see this as The Spirits telling me I'm supposed to stay in business.  To which end, after profound marathon prayer-&-meditation sessions, The Spirits have guided me to resurrect a product I had in the market in the 80s (19- not 18-) & add a newer version with a new/old wrinkle. 

I made a profit with the original version both years I originally had it out; I've historically been 15-20 years ahead of the curve - so I should be about on the peak of said curve now, then - & the updated version may bring in additional market.  Let us hope!  Otherwise, my options appear to be close to "1" - living like a homeless person in my own home.                              

I'm currently hand-building these units, while 'living' on temp-job income, but if it weren't for the Internet, I doubt I could bring this product out in such a way on the dollars I have available that the entire effort would be viable.  Still, I have learned over the years that when times are tough, not only do the tough get going, they invest in themselves first, dig harder & deeper, & generally, do well enough to survive where those of feebler dispositions fail (& go on welfare; which costs us all deeply).

I tell you these things so that if any of you are putting yourselves thru reams of misery worrying about whether you can survive or not, you can take hope.  My Unchi (Grandmother) Pearl taught me, "my girl, you can have anything you want, if you want it more than you want your next breath".  In the Indn way of speaking, she said that you have to insist on how you want your life to be & refuse to hear the voices of nay-sayers & doom-speakers & those who look at appearances & accept them as true.  She should have known - she had polio when she was 6; & was told she would never walk again.  She walked.  For the first 8 years on braces & crutches; then one day, she threw them as far as she could & walked for a few days with canes, which she then pitched as far as she could.  After that, she learned to run again, she could dance the county into blisters, & she walked just fine.

I'll keep you posted as to how my latest endeavor goes..  and thank you for your positive thoughts on my/our behalf.  Mitakuye oiasin - all (are) my relatives.

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