Let me start by saying I have very little interest in politics. I'm concerned about education because while I don't have children, I am very aware the youth of today will be the ones running the show when I am old and I'd like them to have a clue as to what they are doing. I have strong opinions regarding patient treatment, but I honestly don't know how much of that is political and how much is corporate greed or both. I'm a registered voter but also a procrastinator so sometimes I remember to fill out and mail my ballot on time; other times I find it in a stack of filing several months after the fact. I do have to thank the local politicians, however. Thanks to all the annoying messages I kept coming home to, I finally got around to cancelling my home phone. (Just FYI, I don't need a phone call telling me which candidate to vote for. I figured out how to register to vote; I'm pretty sure I can figure out which candidates are in my preferred party. The little R's and D's next to their names are a pretty big clue. Also, I don't need to be patched in to the town hall meeting already in progress. If I wanted to know what was going on, I'd go to the meeting).
With the upcoming election, the mudslinging is ramping up. Pretty soon, we'll be grateful for the holiday ads because anything other than yet another commercial with a politician claiming they are going to this or that and their opponent sucks will be preferable. Ever notice politicians always tell us what they are going to do but never how they plan to do it? Though I try to tune the ads out, I've noticed a theme developing. And that is "Ask yourself: are you better off than you were 4 years ago?"
Well, let's see. Four years ago tomorrow, I was supposed to be getting married. Instead, I'd been grieving the man I planned to spend the rest of my life with for 8 months and most of the time couldn't tell you what day of the week it was. Instead of my beautiful California wedding, my dear friend took me to the Japanese Garden. And when I should have been saying my vows, I was literally crying into my cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory. (Don't worry, no cheesecake was harmed in my torrent of tears). I had no sense of direction, I had no real purpose in life, I had no idea who Heather was and I only got out of bed every morning because it's hard not to when you have a 25-lb cocker spaniel jumping on your bladder because he wants breakfast.
I did manage to vote. I'll admit I voted for Obama. I have lived in Arizona and have nothing against John McCain. (I did have concerns about the possibility of Sarah Palin calling the shots if something happened to him, however). But he's yet another good ol' boy with one foot in the grave. The country needed change so I voted for the candidate I thought would have a better chance of seeing the big picture. I voted for Obama for no other reason than I felt the country needed someone younger who wasn't already set in his ways. And I did it knowing that 4 years would not be enough time to turn around the mess made by his predecessors and fearing Americans would expect just that. This is the age of instant gratification, after all.
So now it's time to vote again and since I keep hearing it asked, I started thinking about whether or not I am better off compared to 4 years ago. Well, let's see. I still have no idea what my purpose is, but I've regained my will to live. I'm not entirely sure my sense of direction, but I've always been directionally challenged and can say with certainty I am at least moving forward-at least most of the time. I have a much stronger sense of self. I've started making goals again. Small ones because I'm well aware that long range plans can easily be derailed. But it feels good to have things to look forward to again. I am more surrounded now by people who genuinely care about me than I have been at any other time in my life. I get tired of feeling like I'm constantly fighting an uphill battle and doing it alone, but I'm also one of the strongest people I know. I'm noticing a confidence that wasn't there before, or if it was, it was very well hidden. I get lonely and I miss what I had. But at the same time, I'm grateful for what I have now, which is an awful lot of good things to be thankful for. I have a good life that I am pretty happy with. And yes, I still cry and get sad. I still have oh so fun moments of PTSD. But I have joy in my life again, even though sometimes all I can do is shake my head in amazement and ask "How is THIS my life?"
Am I better off than I was 4 years ago? You bet I am. And it has nothing to do with politics.