If a young bride were to come to me and ask for homemaking advice (unlikely since I’ve never been married) – my maxim would be “Never Leave an Ironing Board up Overnight in the Kitchen.” You can leave it up in the dining or living room because when company comes – you are sure to clean it off and parcel it off to the basement or nearest closet. But in the kitchen, it becomes counter space, and one morning with a cab honking outside waiting to take you to the airport, you will be ironing your white cotton blouse on the real granite counter space and wondering where your luggage tags are, the ones you bought last year. They are on the ironing board where you put them about six months ago, now covered by unfinished crossword puzzles, Spanish grammar books (unopened), several items of clothing needing new zippers and buttons and three cats sitting with their paws folded watching you with interest. (Where is she going do you think? Who will feed us?) A minor advisory warning, but certainly worth thinking about.
Social Security and Self-Esteem – Self-Worth – Self-Confidence (you know that kind of stuff)
If SS is cut in a real meaningful way, older women will be in the center pathway of that oncoming truck crash. I am a member of the Silent Generation – raised by children of the depression. I watched my father especially trying to navigate in this money equals worth world with a kind of timidity and lack of self-esteem as closely as only girl children observe their fathers – with a mixture of anger and pity. It certainly was a marker to my future choice of men – I am a rescuer and then I get angry. ‘Nuff said. That would require a novel so I won’t elucidate. My mother was feisty but looking back I think women are allowed a leeway that men aren’t as far as rebellion against an unjust society – just enough, mind you – but women just aren’t threatening the way men are. Or maybe it was just a reaction to the husband she married. My father was a good and gentle man. He was very smart – could have been an engineer had he been born a few years later or had some meaningful help. But I am pretty much what I am due to the scars of that 30s depression – it defined him and I have to fight for other definition markers. My son, having been raised by me alone, has exactly the opposite tendencies. He needs to worry more, not less. He may be learning these hard lessons now (another diary) but that is also a legacy of that ’30s political and economic landscape – these damages are handed down one, two generations. And they are costly, in oh so many ways, financially and damming up a creativity and spirituality and generosity of spirit because we are afraid. As to self-sacrifice, in my experience we are good at that. Dick Durben, in his exhortation to us older ladies to stop whining and face the reality of self-sacrifice needs to observe his constitutency (or should I say prior constituency) – and honor us, not slap us around. But what the heck – he’s a member of Congress. What can we expect?
Self worth, self confidence translates into a productive society with enough for everyone, happiness included. These financial breakdowns managed by thieves and murderers and aided by sissy lawmakers make sure there will be monumental breaks in society every so often. Count on it.