This fucking sucks.
Some days I can get through, here behind the curtain, pulling the levers, pushing the buttons giving the illusion of competence and control and some days I feel like Toto has run behind the curtain and exposed me. Today is one of the latter.
I meet with my financial planner today. It’s a meeting I’m supposed to have twice a year, but I put it off as long as possible because I don’t want to face the financial picture. Oh, we’re doing OK. The business is making money. We keep up with the bills. But, I’m no Donald Trump. I haven’t built the Empire i wanted to build. Lucius Lyons and Donald Trump would both call me a loser. People are impressed because I run my own business. What many don’t know is I started the business out of frustration because I couldn’t climb the corporate ladder. I had several sales jobs always being competent enough to keep the job, but I never could crack that glass ceiling and start climbing. So, I started my own company. Now 14 years later, the company is doing OK. It still feels like a start up. It’s put food on the table and cars in the garage. But, it’s not growing anymore. I’m furiously working tweaking this and that, bringing in new products, hiring new marketing companies, switching ecommerce platforms, but nothing I do brings that next level of breakthrough I’m looking for and meeting with Bill brings all of that to light. So, I hate these meetings.
We talk about our investments. They’re doing OK. One of my longest term investments is a life insurance policy I bought 15 years ago to fund the girls’ college. I wouldn’t invest in fund specifically for college. You never know what’s going to happen. It turns out scholarships and loans are paying for a good portion of Kayla’s, so we can handle the remainder. Shayna won’t need a college fund. So, the cash value of that policy is just sitting there. Bill suggests we convert the cash into a down payment on a Long Term Care (LTC) policy. We’re hoping to retire in 10 years. The death benefit of the life insurance policy, as planned, won’t really be needed. So, it’s something to consider. The good news, we’re getting close to the end, past the age of funding the girls’ college, past the age where Kayla is dependent on our income. Bill reminds us I’ll be 65 and Tywana will be 62. Ty’s taken aback. It sounds so old. I’m thinking- I’m getting closer to having pulled this off. I’ve kept up the charade almost long enough that no one has actually gotten behind the curtain and seen my incompetence.
We talk about the business. Bill seems to be pleased with all the moves I’m making. He says we should have a good second half based on the big investments I’ve been making for the last 8 months. He says he always learns something when he talks to me about how I’m running the business. It’s true that I’ve tried a lot of things over the last four or five years, but nothing has broken us free to grow the way I’d like to see the business grow. For now, we just keep grinding.
We get through the meeting with Bill and head home. Kayla is home for the summer so we spend some time with her. We watch Roots, the remake, on television. We talk about Shayna and how much we all miss having her around. When we go to the bed, I can tell Kayla is upset. Kayla is doing an amazing job of going through what has to the best worst loss anyone can suffer. Having your child transition is bad, but Shayna and Kayla were like twins, best friends and aunt and niece all rolled into one relationship. All I can do is hold Kayla as she expresses her frustration. I don’t have any magic words. I can’t make it better. I can’t even say “It’s going to be OK.” One of the things I love about Kayla is she can see right through bullshit and she won’t hesitate to call you on it. Yes, we’ve had tons of dreams and signs from Shayna, communications through mediums, synchronistic events. Yes, we all believe she is still here with us. Yes, we all believe we will see her and hold her again, in the sweet bye and bye. But, today, this fucking sucks. We can’t hold her. We can’t hear her voice. The other stuff isn’t enough. We’re tired of “learning a lesson”. We just want her back. Now. Kayla expresses what we all feel. I’m supposed to be comforting people in their grief now. All I can do is hold her tighter. Being human feels so small sometimes. I feel weak, powerless.
Kayla composes herself and we all head off for bed. I fall into bed exhausted, exposed and just wanting to escape this world. I don’t want to die, only because I can’t add to Ty and Kayla’s sorrow right now. But, living is so hard, so exhausting and every day I feel like that curtain is going to come down and I’m going to be exposed. When I fall asleep this plays out in my standard recurring dream. I’m back at IBM, my first sales job out of college. The details change, but the basic theme remains the same. I’m 55 years old, still an entry level sales rep. The staff is having a meeting in the conference room. i can hear them talking and I just want to be in there, to be part of the inner circle, to be among the winners. But, I’m out here, grinding, trying to just hold onto my job. Finally the work day ends and I’m out at my car. I”m packing it for a trip. I’m driving back home, but I can’t remember exactly where home is or what is waiting for me. I just want to get there.
I wake up at my usual sunrise time, ready to do it all again. I’ll sit at my desk and try to figure out which levers to pull today, which buttons to push.