Sharry Teague's Story at The Elder Storytelling Place
Aging, Femininity and Sex Toys

Scrabbling Back From a Dark Night of the Soul

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“Caring for Mom during her final three months was the most profound and powerful experience of my life. It was a gift, a grace, a blessing I would wish upon everyone.”

That’s a quote from the penultimate chapter of my “mom series” recounting the time I spent taking care of my mother 24/7 at the end of her life. It is still true. Now, 15 years later, that event has a companion – the responses from you, so many of you, about shutting down Time Goes By.

When I posted that entry (not unplanned, but in a snit), I snapped shut the laptop and took the rest of the day off from the computer. Checking email the next morning was shocking as the messages poured into my email box – some of them comments, others private email.

And that was just the beginning. They kept coming that day and the next and the next. For a few moments, as I began reading, I thought, “yeah, yeah, yeah, they’ll get over it.” And then, as I continued, I was ashamed of that quick take. Most of us sometimes say mean or nasty things in a fit of anger that we are sorry for later. But no one says nice things they don’t mean.

While I read message after message, tears dribbled down my cheeks, as they are again now as I try to write this.

I honestly had no idea – none – that so many people think this blog space is important. A bunch of people who have never commented delurked to ask me to reconsider. I heard from an old friend I haven’t spoken with in nearly a decade who, unbeknownst to me, has been reading this blog.

I didn’t know (or had forgotten) how many of you I encouraged to start blogging. And others who have a new and better feeling about getting old from reading Time Goes By. I am overwhelmed, abashed and pleased to hear that TGB has made a difference in people’s lives.

You must have guessed that those lightweight reasons for quitting I gave in Monday’s post were not the whole story. Although in the past few days, you have raised my spirits, for some time I have been increasingly weary - having what has been/continues to be a dark night of the soul:

  • Our country’s slippage into an authoritarian state while the big-time media entertain us to death is deeply disturbing. S.1959 is only the latest and most frightening manifestation of it and if you don’t believe that, you are part of the problem. Author Naomi Wolf knows what she’s talking about.
  • Ordinary living - just the day-to-day stuff of trying to keep a job, get the kids raised, pay the bills and have enough left over for a restaurant meal or a modest vacation – has become demonstrably harder for almost everyone, out of reach entirely for many. And it has gotten worse in the past seven years. I keep wondering how much responsibility I have for that. We each bear some of it.
  • Our food is tainted, our water resources are drying up, children’s toys are killers and everyone with the power to make changes cares more about their corporate donations that the lives of citizens.
  • I watch the presidential debates, read the candidates’ policy statements and keep my eye on what’s said and done by the president and in Congress. I am struck, in its simplest description, by how mean our leaders are, particularly Republicans and the right-wing, although it is not limited to them. There is money to kill our young soldiers in a war no one understands the reason for and none to give poor children health care.
  • Hedge fund managers are paid more that a billion dollars a year in salary - think of it! - but pay only 15 percent tax and squawk when it is suggested they should contribute more to the common good.
  • Leaders have recently begun throwing around the phrase, World War III, as though it is a fait d’accompli, and that scares the hell out of me.
  • On a personal level, I was advised by Social Security last week that a nasty, little regulation no one knows about (or, I didn’t) will cut my benefits next year enough that I cannot meet my bills. I need to find work and I’ve never been any good at it. I doubt I'm alone in this event.

As Sir Bob Geldoff once said, “If you’re not grumpy, you’re not paying attention.”

In addition to all the lovely messages here and by email, so many of you have written blog posts about my shutting down Time Goes By that I don’t remember who, but someone said my posts have been quite dark lately. I suppose that’s true. It is because we are living in dark, dismal times that cannot be dismissed as politics as usual. Terrible things are happening and it is much worse on many levels than it has ever been in my lifetime.

With all that, your messages have touched me more than I know how to say (it is hard not to pull a Sally Field here). I cannot answer so many individually and I’m sorry about that. But I have read all of the them several times each (oh, shit, I’m tearing up again) and I will quote one that we should all, in our old age, take seriously.

David Wolfe thinks he writes about marketing at his Ageless Marketing blog. He really writes – oh, so eloquently - about how to engage the late years of life, our needs, our duties and responsibilities to ourselves and to the world. I’ve never told him this, but I consider him my mentor in studying and writing about aging. Once again, he has shown me the way. He left, in part, this message:

“As we move deep into our later years we lessen the burdens of age by what we give the world outside our skin. Jung, Maslow, Erikson and other luminaries who have deeply studied the aging spirit talked much about that. Erikson called it ‘generativity.’ Maslow called it transcendence of personal need in service of personal growth. Jung called it ‘letting go of the ego’ on the way to self-realization.

“In a sense, our lives are our own only in the procreational years of our lives. Beyond those years it is in our genes to move beyond the self on behalf of the next generation, the village, the species.”

David’s wisdom, combined with the hundreds of other messages I never guessed would come my way, made the decision for me. Time Goes By will continue and I am glad to be back with, thanks to David, a new perspective. My only regret is that I feel bad about all of you who wished me good tidings - a bit like having attended the funeral only to find it was a practical joke.

A few things will be different:

  1. Any reader may trash me or my thoughts, but only in public. Private emails of that sort will be deleted and no longer acknowledged. (You regulars at that know who you are.)
  2. Do keep recommending blogs for the Elderbloggers List; it is to all our benefit to discover new ones. I will add them or not and if I don’t add one, don’t ask me to explain myself.
  3. Most important: I have felt confined in the past year or so limiting posts to aspects of aging and I realize now I am guilty, in that regard, of ageism not dissimilar to much of the media who write only about health and financial matters in relation to old people as though that is all we care about. So although aging will remain the focus of Time Goes By, subject matter will range further afield in the future. We live too much now in dangerous times not to do so.

During my paid career, I traveled most of the U.S. and a lot of the world, often first class, on someone else’s dime. I worked with kings and queens and movie stars and heads of state, and I had a wonderful time with access few people get to the original sources of almost any information I wanted. No small thrill for someone to whom information and knowledge are manna.

Without negating that, the best time I’ve had in my life, the happiest I’ve been at what I do, is producing Time Goes By. Thank you – each one of you – for inviting me back. “It is a gift, a grace, a blessing.”

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Grannymar gives us a lovely story about the things that become family heirlooms titled Donal's Cot.]

Comments

I like it!

Welcome home! We were all right here waiting for you with arms wide open.

We are all responsible in our own ways to shine beacons of light through these dark times, Ronni.

I am smiling from ear to ear to read this post, and so happy that you shared with us your tears dribbling down your cheeks.

I never responded to your retirement message because I wanted to say "don't do it" and yet realized that it was your personal choice. I felt I didn't have the right to second guess you.

Now I have to get back to keeping up my blog so that I can eventually meet the posting requirements for inclusion on you elderbloggers list.

Your unexpected retirement also made me realize that I have to get more of my little essays actually written down as the chance to pass along these little tales and thoughts - either on my own blog or your Storytelling Place - may suddenly disappear without warning.

You are keeping the stories up also, right? Even if not every day?

I took some of your blog advice and I hope you still post about Helen Thomas.

Ronnie, I knew you would come back.
I have experienced in the past somewhat of what you have.
When I finished building my third home in 8 years and moved past June -I could hardly think. I was exhaused mentally and physically. I felt like a computer that had been overloaded and all the wires (or whatever is in there) were crashing out. I am not a writer so hope you get the picture.
Anyway again welcome back but please have new guidelines and take time to rest and do something enjoyable outside the blog world. I have a type A personality, go go go, so I understand. You have so much we all want to hear. I would welcome a weekly letter. Come and visit me in Nashville. I would be thrilled.

Thank you for coming back. You've made my day.

Hallelujah and Amen! I just joyfully deleted a draft for a post about TGB closing for my blog. I and others have prayed for your return and I am delighted you reconsidered!!!! Welcome back, Ronni!!!

I do understand how difficult it is to post day after day -- I tried it for a while and my poor brain hurt. So we want you back and we want you happy but take a break if you need one.

And tell us if we can help.
We love you and want you to be happy and will do what we can to make that so.

I, for one, am smiling ear-to-ear! Welcome back -- we need your voice!!

This morning I decided to turn on the computer before meditating (happening a bit too often these days), but today I'm overjoyed that I did! It was such a blessing to read your heartfelt post. I can't think of anything better to say than "thank you" for continuing Time Goes By.

~Sharry

PS I am up particularly early. I couldn't sleep because I had a letter to the editor in my head regarding Guantanamo. I'm getting weary of having to write such letters. Your leadership really, really makes a difference.

REPRIEVE! I am giddy with relief to hear that you'll be continuing after all...and I like your new "rules." Why not extend the ban on "trashing" you or your thoughts to the blog as well? We all appreciate healthy and interesting dissent, I love it when people take the time to rebut something I've said in a respectful, intelligent manner, but I have no problem deleting comments that for whatever reason I don't want polluting my site. My favorite is when those people then start screaming about censorship and the First Amendment. They actually think they have a constitutional right to post whatever they want on MY blog? I don't think so!

Wow! What good news so early in my morning. I'm awfully glad you will come back, not crestfallen but stronger, with a larger view of "things that be." I am fairly new to your blog and was just getting into the swing of it. I also appreciate you wrote this morning so much from your heart. I think it takes a large one to do that.

Happily,

Nora

Woo Hoo! I'm dancing for joy in my jammies! When I'm dressed for the day, I will dance again in better shoes in honor of your return.

Out of your own ashes you arise! Who would have thought so soon. Second ride should be very interesting. Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen!

REJOICE! What a wonderful birthday present you've given me, my dear! It will be enlightening to continue to read your thoughts unrestricted. There is so much MORE than the aging process - and I look forward to your eloquence!
YIPPEE!
hugs from PA
connie

Phew! Relief. I can only underline all the sentiments of the others here. I especially like notdotdot's hold onto your hats...

Wonderful news!!!!!!! ;-) ;-) ;-)

In Repose was going to write about the death of Time Goes By today.

I am glad that now I am not.

I had written you a long email about shutting down and what your blog has meant to me, and it was one of those drafts that mysteriously erased itself as I was signing off.

Glad to see you back. I knew, just *knew* I would still be reading your words. I thought perhaps in another form, but I just KNEW it.

So very pleased. As Susan G said above, it had to be your decision, but I'm so very glad you've made it!
And I'm going to do less lurking and more commenting.

How pleased I am to see you back. As with others, your blog is the first thing I check on in the morning. I didn't write sooner because I was hopeful, but would have said then what I say now. Just try not to take so much on yourself. I have to agree with one of your well-wishers who said how much they enjoy your take on your local scene and would like to see more of that. You have such a great eye and sense of place. And how about even 3 times a week? Give yourself some breathing room. Sorry to belabor things. But it's just great that TGB is not shutting down!

I am glad to hear you will be continuing as yours is one I read regularly. Your ideas on how to continue it make sense to me and I think that when someone who is older comments on any topic, it is from the perspective of being more experienced at life and hence relates to the aging process. Change in a blog or life is healthy, sounds like you used this week well for thinking and glad you will go on with the battle to do your part trying to improve the lives of others.

Your post today reminded me about hope. It's a virtue I don't really understand how to "do." I'll think a little more about it and try to write something. In the meantime, perhaps this will help in the "dark night" - in *Man of La Mancha*, a character asks Don Quixote why he does what he does. He answers, "I hope to add a measure of grace to the world."

Your blog does that.

Good News ! Welcome back from a British fan. After four years I have also been thinking of saying "That's all folks!" as I am 'running out of steam'. You may just have changed my mind.

PTL! I can so relate to what you've written. You are not alone in this journey......I for one am confused, disheartened & befuddled during this process....welcome....perhaps as luck would have it we can learn together.....somehow we'll do it. Fondly, Dee

Oh my goodness, I am so pleased to hear that. I have been a (Canadian) lurker since the very beginning of your blog and I was fervently hoping you would reconsider. It will be wonderful to read your intelligent and thoughtful commentary on other subjects. Thank you so much for coming back to us.

I'm glad you reconsidered. For a long time I have thought you were depressed, and that informed your writing. I think being laid off was really a slap in the face for you, and I wish I were closer to you so I could help you employ yourself. Ronni, I'm your age. "They" can't discriminate against you if you work for yourself. Find work within -- you have so many skills that you will be able to survive.

You go, Girl!

I think you've made an excellent decision to expand your topic base. It helps a lot. My personal blog is pretty much anything goes, but I also get paid to keep a couple of specific topic blogs and there are days I just dread coming up with something.

As to the darkness, remember the twin pillars of Solomon, one light and one dark or the charioteer of the Tarot deck struggling to keep his two horses pulling the same direction -- one white, one black. The darkness is always here my friend, but so is the light.

You write on the side of the light no matter what your topic. Let me add my voice to all those saying, "Welcome back!" (And you were entitled to that Sally Field moment.)

Ronni you had a senior moment! We are all entitled to them now and then.

Take life at your own pace and forget about the whingers, if ignored they will tire and move on. True friends and followers will remain faithful and give encouragement.

Such good news! So glad TGB will continue!

THANK YOU!!!I cannot tell you how much I've learned from this site.
I feel so new to this aspect of life and it has been a real comfort to hear voices that have gone before!!!

ElderAbuseHelp.Org and staff has picked your web site as Blogger of the Year, this because as "Times Goes By" your blog has gotten more and more relevant to the serious issues facing our generation.
Thank you for daring to face the troublesome issues that face us head on and sounding the alarm so that we might be better prepared to face these challenges.

Thank you so much, Ronni! I would have missed, more than you will ever know, reading your thoughts. After all, someone who would get a hoot out of burying a statue - upside down - in hopes of selling property is a rare bird, indeed -

Snits are a GoodThing. They do serve to help clarify things. Usually.

You've never asked for a dime here, Ronni, but if you put up a tip jar from Paypal or Amazon I think maybe those bills would get covered just fine.

I'm currently reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes "Women Who Run With the Wolves" and noted last night the point she makes about even when we have overcome all our personal inner problems, we are still tied in our souls to our community and environment. When the issues we have dealt with inside ourselves are mostly overcome (she counts it at about 70 percent, I would say just whenever you feel strong enough to deal with the outer world), then we are strong enough and capable enough to begin to work on the ones in our environment. It is important for you to keep addressing those political and other issues you see as problems around you -- important to us, important to the world, and important to your soul. And also, important to those who are becoming older along with you and after you. We will all face the issues you are facing as we age.

Please feel free to write about whatever you need to here - it doesn't have to be just a happy feel good place about aging, or even a realistic look at the problems of aging or how it is treated in our environment. It is your space and it is here for you to say what needs to be said.

What others may think about it is their problem, not yours. ;^)

I'll leave you with the postcard quote a friend sent me when I was wondering if I should keep going with my political activities -

"It is not enough to be compassionate -- you must act."

Namaste.

So glad you've decided to come back.

About the contextual dark night: Terrible things are happening and it is much worse on many levels than it has ever been in my lifetime. We talk about this a lot in my household, three women, 2 over 60, one over 55, all longtime activists for peace and justice. Yes -- we all feel that. And we all work for hope.

The first thing we need to do for each other is validate that we are not crazy to feel this; the situation in this country, the world, IS dire.

And we are not going to fix the world in our lifetimes. But being alive in any vital sense consists of working to resist horrors, end injustices, and add to the sum total of love in the world. So there is lots to do, for all of us. I find that happy, if daunting.

Oh my, my, my.....this is good. This is good for ALL of us Ronni. You can't deny how much you are loved. If ever you questioned the importance of what you say and how you say it....you can't question it now. What a beautiful post this was....I could feel your tears running down my cheek.

(Now...I'll have to tell Jory it was just the looney babblings of an emotional mom she heard on the phone the other day...who ended our conversation with...."I give her a week....maybe." That's the nice thing about being loved and respected Ronni...you can never really be gone. Jory's going to be very happy.)

I'm sitting here with a big grin on my face. I'm so very glad you're back, Ronni!!

I'm a long time reader/lurker and so happy and relieved to hear your blog will continue. I'm 57 years old and eagerly looking forward to age 60 and all the years beyond...thanks in good part to you.

Welcome back, and thank you. I am so glad that you decided to continue with this blog. Your new rules and branching out make sense, and I hope that they help you to enjoy blogging here.

Yay, you're back!

You know what? I am happy!!! :)

I'm smiling along with the rest of your fans! Thank you for reconsidering and making the decision to return to us.

Whoo hoo!

I was just linked to your site today from listics.com and want to thank you for not closing down. I may not have ever learned about S.1959, which after reading it has me very agitated.
I recently turned 28 and feel the same feeling you describe in your "about" page of "how did I get to this age so quickly without noticing". I realize that I am still young, but as a professional ballet dancer I am quickly reaching average retiring age and so the mental framework, in some instances, are parallel. And if I have reached this so damn quickly another 28 years is going to feel even faster.
Anyway, I am happy that you have, and are keeping this journal. I will return; you are bookmarked.

Thank you

I'm so glad you are back

Like everyone else who has already commented I'm absolutely delighted to know that you are carrying on. A very big THANK YOU.

Isn't it fun how we kept coming back despite your earlier post this week about shutting down on pressing the Enter key? Clearly, the idea was unpalatable. And hope... the stuff you and so many commentators today have written about... prevailed.

Yes, HOPE brought us all back here.

Thank you, dear Ronni, thank you so much.

Ronni,

I thought it was the sound of a freight train coming through that I heard ..... But, NO.. It was the collective sigh of relief we all let out at the news of your return....

Love,

Nancy

Have been in and out of a dark hole myself this past year for short times. I tell myself even that location can have value (as long as I don't perpetually live there.) Certainly can put circumstances into perspective and allows us to appreciate life even more once we emerge, I think. I'm glad you've emerged.

I'm also glad you've returned to writing TGB. Somehow, I thought you would not stay away long. Selfishly I wanted you back, 'cause, as with my most current post, you have such good ideas and your writings are often such a wonderful source or link for articulating so succintly some of what I want to say. *smile*

I look forward to reading the expanded scope of topics which you will now allow yourself to explore here.

I truly believe the human spirit must always embrace hope for the future no matter how bleak the circumstances. I hope your future writing will continue to reflect that perspective as you bring inequities to our attention, offer possible solutions to which we add our own. Hopefully, we're initiating action for resolving those inequities whenever possible.

Miraculously, hope was the one prevailing theme that each of three Elder survivors of a gulag, concentration camp, political prison,respectively, conveyed in local speaking engagements in my community last year. Surely, we can nurture hope in ourselves as we actively pursue trying to correct the wrongs in our own country and the world today.

We must turn to each other in our "dark" times to nourish our spirits, pause when we need to do so, move forward toward our goals.

BTW I don't consider myself a fan, I just like to read your writing! Also, I'll certainly never admit to being addicted to your blog. *impish grin*

Hallelujah!!!!

Now I can stop holding my breath and get up off the floor. MY temper tantrum is over...:)


Are you attending the Blogger Social event in NYC in April 2008? As a wise person once said, "all work (e.g., activist blogging) and no play can make one pretty dull and grumpy." I hope to see you in NYC where we bloggers plan to have some fun!

Welcome back. I was already missing you.

(Ronni, This may be meaningful for you)

There's A Hole In My Sidewalk

"Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost.... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in.... It's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down another street."


-----------------------------
-----------------------------
There's A Hole In My Sidewalk
AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS
by Portia Nelson


I am delighted you will continue with TGB. You were missed - even though it was only three days!

Wow, I can't believe it. Welcome back! Good decision. I agree with you. The world is in a dire state. Write about it!

Your blog is a wonderful end to my day. I ruminate over what you're written as I get ready for bed. It seems the thoughts you inspire help me put the days travails into perspective.

Thank you for continuing to write. I need you.

Best wishes and hugs.

I'd just started blogging again and had found your blog while searching for other elder bloggers. I was thrilled and had subscribed to it. Within a couple of days, I was saddened to learn of your decision to stop blogging. I felt like I had found something so worth reading, so intelligent, and so empowering that I was momentarily stopped in my tracks at the thought you would not write again. Imagine my joy at discovering you had decided to return to your blog and that my inspirational reading was back. I really understand the dark night of the soul as I've been having that a bit lately, and somehow we just keep on keeping on despite the challenges. Thanks for being a role model for that as well and welcome back!

Let me add my voice to the chorus of happy readers. I will be 68 next Monday and I plan on being around for a while. As we grow older we have fewer and fewer role models in our lives and we often crave for validation of our feelings, attitudes and maybe even prejudices. So I value every intelligent piece of writing by my peers and have delighted in the blogs on your list, Ronni.

Great news. :-)
And please remember that no matter how many people are out there blogging away, there's only one Ronni Bennett, and only you can do the particluar things that you're here to do.
Glad you're giving it another shot.

Ronni, I can't tell you how relieved I felt at reading this post.

Welcome home.

Everybody has pretty much said it all, and I never was very good at the Tarzan yell, so all I can add is YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

I am one of your lurkers who has been depressed lately because of the closing of your blog. I am now 60, and need all the help I can get. Thank you for coming back!

Who knows when I may comment again...but know there are lots of us out here who read and think about what you post. Glad you have reconsidered.

"Any reader may trash me or my thoughts, but only in public. Private emails of that sort will be deleted and no longer acknowledged."

Good! Anyone who won't publicly say what they think is a coward and shouldn't be acknowledged anyway.

Welcome back. :)

Thank you for re-emerging so quickly. I'm relieved.

Welcome back, Ronni, I am relieved too. And I am glad to know that your subject matter will be a bit more wide ranging. I loved reading the posts you did about your work life.

Time did stop...for a few days while you were gone. Ronni. I have had no reason to turn my computer on for the past three days.
Thank you so much for coming back. Tomorrow will have meaning again.

My husband, who loves to read history, likes to say that every generation has thought their world was going to hell. The media brings us stories of darkness, but there is also much light and we have to focus on that and what we can each do to spread that light. Do your blog on your own terms so that you can be happy and satisfied, and continue to brighten the days of so many others.

Phew!

You've brought up some excellent points. I'm a highly niched blogger (focusing on job search and career challenges for the 50 plus demographic) so you can imagine that the news about the state of the job market is pretty depressing most of the time. I decided to lend my voice to the plight of the career challenged older worker and, like you, have many, many days where I wonder if I'm just hitting my head against a brick wall. But then, I receive a kind word or encouraging comment from a reader and it makes it worthwhile. You've done a brave thing -- coming back -- and I know how difficult it must have been to decide to close the door and then to reopen it again. As you can see from so many posts, you are a strong influencer in the blog community. I agree with your thoughts on spreading a bit farther than your niche. There are many weeks that I am extremely discouraged...but then I'll read a post by a dedicated blogger (like you) and it convinces me to keep shouting my words out to the cyberworld.

Welcome back.

Yay! The best news I've read in the blogosphere in ages! Welcome back with big hugs, Ronni.

I have been off the grid for a few days and missed your whole retirement! I am so glad, because it would have ruined my week. I don't know how the universe pays people who serve others without asking anything in return, but you deserve the best of those blessings for the wisdom you give us through your blog.

Thank you for staying with it and us.

I'm sure Crabby has excellent reasons why not, but I second the tip jar thought and move to make it a permanent feature on TGB.

Welcome back!Though in my mind you'd never left...(-: (-: (-:

Hope springs eternal. This venue is manna for many who sit at tables alone and wish to be in on the larger conversation. This was the week that was -- tough love, reconciliation and restoration. Lots of happy old people looking forward to Monday.

What can I say except that I'm glad you're back! While in general I can't disagree with your analysis of all the things wrong in the world, I hope you will try to spend more time looking at the brighter side. It's a cliche, but I prefer to look at the glass as half full rather than half empty.

Thank God! I'm so glad you have come back. You're right the best way to deal with those non-public folks is to delete 'em. Don't give them space in your head!

Thank you for coming back!

So happy you are back -- for you, for your unique understanding of ageism, for your wide view which moves us all to be more thoughtful and active advocates.

Thank you, Friend. Well said and well done. (Notice how many of us dropped by even "knowing" that you wouldn't be here!) Again, thank you.

A little frisson of emotion went through me as I read your words and understood that you have been touched by us as we have been touched by you. Brava, so glad you are back.

I too have very dark thoughts about our times -- much darker than yours, Ronni. I feel that I am living in the last days of the Roman Empire, in a time of corruption and great decadence. If everyone lived at U.S. standards, it would require 6 planet Earths. I believe that a time of anarchy is coming and that it is highly possible I shall simply be murdered in my home by a gang who needs crackers and water for members' children.

Because older females (like younger females supporting children without a mate) take it on the chin financially, I have a dream of small cohousing units for us, where we have a small suites for privacy but share large appliances of which we may not need sole use -- stoves, washers and dryers, A/C-heat units. Perhaps joining together for lunches or evening meals when we choose. Or watching TV together.

I am so glad you are back, Ronni. So very, very very glad.

Me, Too!!! Thanks, Ronni, and I 'third' the tip jar idea. Maybe, if we collect a lot more than you need personally, we could buy our OWN senator! LOL.

Looking forward to whatever the rebirth brings. Thanks

Welcome back Ronni!! Reading your post made me have a 'laughter through tears' moment. I am so happy you are back, and so sad that you have been in the 'dark hole'. I have been there, and it is not a fun place to be. Sometimes, I have wondered if those who have never been in that 'dark hole' can really appreciate 'the light'?

hugs..:)

Welcome back, Ronni! If you ever feel like closing down shop again, just take a vacation, but don't quit, please. I'm counting on you to be The Last Angry Blogger!

Phew ... okay, we can all exhale now. Thank you for reconsidering your "retirement."

I almost didn't click on the TGB email because I knew it would just be one of the remaining stories and although i have enjoyed reading those, my main focus was always on your topic of the day. However, I am glad I clicked and am relieved that you are going to continue your Blog.

My oldest and dearest friend is in the last few weeks of her life after losing the battle with lung cancer. Months ago, I sent her and her daughter the link to the story of you and your Mom's death and it was an inspiration to both of them.

Thanks for being there, Ronni!

Tissi

I'm so glad you reconsidered your decision and have resumed blogging. You are right about the ills of our country at this time. I try and hold on to the idea that "this too will pass."

We are living in mean spirited times and the best we can do is cry out in the wilderness. But you have drawn together a collective of people who cry out with us and I think that will make a difference.

Well, I've always SAID, it's a woman's perogative to change her mind and you just proved it in the nicest way possible.
Sounds like you recouped your energy and you're ready once again to share your expertise, knowledge and research with us.
Welcome back, Ronni!
PS....if possible, in a future blog entry, could you share some info about what you meant about "SS benefits being cut next year." I find this quite frightening and would really like your information on it. Thanks!

Hooray..this is probably the best Christmas Gift given to your readers this year by Santa

Oh, goody, you're back! I had been trying to convince myself that I didn't care if TGB went off-air, but it didn't work. So I'm mighty glad you reconsidered and reinstated your oh-so-valuable blog.

I don't respond all of the time because of being a caregiver for my husband, but I'm with you.

For some reason I thought the Elder Storytelling Place was for those whom you invited to post there. Is it open to any of us?

Yes, there are plenty of goings-on out there about which we can feel depressed, but you know what? It's still a beautiful world, and most people most of the time are being loving toward, and considerate of, others.

I once had a notepad that said, "Don't let the turkeys get you down."

In spite of my husband's severe Alzheimer's, I feel happy most of the time. Maybe because I've made it to age 66 with my brain (apparently) still intact.

Oh, BTW, I agree with the tip jar idea. You deserve it!

Thank you, Ronni, for coming back.
You made a lot people happy by writing yesterday's post.
I don't think there is much to add, they said it all already.

Good news! I was devastated by the news you were quitting. I'm definitely one of those who better about getting older when I read TGB. I too get depressed by the state of the world - and especially our country - but somehow knowing that there are others out there who feel the same as I do gives me some hope that all is not lost.

I'm glad you've reconsidered! Your blog is one of the Web's bright spots for me, and I'm so happy to see it continue. Welcome back.

Vicki

Thank you. I've always thought that few decisions are final. And rants and tantrums are an important part of one's personality! The problem of depression in the elder population is massive,and not simply something to pill out on. Managing this world is very difficult, and the world often gives very little back. Your blogging community is reassuring and an important source of support and good humor.

I cannot express how very grateful I am that you reconsidered. I understand how you feel and have noticed my own darkness of spirit of late. I noticed it first when I read Sharry Teague's latest blog entry at Embodied Aging and again as I read both your retirement and reentry. I did not realize how dark my own mood has been until I read those. I realize I have to do something to regain a positive attitude. As I read today's entry to Mom she could relate as well as I and wondered why your SS will be cut and if she needs to worry. Please, if you can, tell us what that is all about. Broadening your focus on TGB may be the prescription for psychic rejuvenation. That I think was what Sharry was thinking in her entry.

Welcome back!!!

Ditto, ditto, ditto, to all the 90-some comments above. Plus here's a quote that, for some reason, seemed to want to be typed into this comments box:

'my boat struck something deep.
nothing happened.
sounds, silence, waves.
nothing happened.
or perhaps everything has happened
and I'm sitting in the middle of my new life'

~juan ramon jimenez

Hugs from Marian

Oh Wow! I am late to the party again. I tried logging on this morning and was unable to do so. Maybe all of your fans had the site on overload. I am having computer problems so spent the rest of the day with 'techies' who don't have a clue as to how to solve your problem. At any rate, I just tried logging on again and -- to my delight -- I read the good news. I feel like a big heavy load has been lifted from my shoulders because I had been feeling like I had just lost a very dear friend. Welcome back!

welcome back, ronni....as demonstrated over the past few days, so many people care about you, but there are some of us who feel the only person who has recognized us is you....thanks for that. thanks for not abandoning us, the least of your sisters.....

Good news! Welcome back!

Many of us who blog about subjects that we feel are significant sometimes wonder if we're just whistling into the wind. But, clearly, your blog is much valued by your readers.

As for the state of the country, I agree that we live in a disheartening time. My late father used to read Dale Carnegie for inspiration, so I'll turn to Mr. Carnegie for an appropriate quote:

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."

Keep on trying to accomplish your mission, however you define it, Ronni, and we'll all be at your side, cheering you on as we try to do our best, too.

It's 11:50 PM but I feel like the sun just came out. Welcome back Ronnie.

Sometimes it's a good thing to be too busy to read my regular blogs for a week! By the time I knew you had retired, you had come back. I'm soooooo glad! I would have been so upset.

Nobody's doing what you're doing, and it needs so badly to be done -- it's forming a nucleus of wisdom and rebellion against the unnatural foolishness that's possessed our culture.

It's a heavy burden to be doing this -- it means your life's not your own -- but it's an honor, too. And a huge gift to all of us who'd been looking for that journey to go on but were going to have to do it quietly, in obscurity, each alone, never adding up.

Thank you!!!

Ronnie, I'm so glad you decided to continue chatting. And yes, I am curious to know more about your impressions of life outside of aging. And yes, I fully understand how sometimes a person wanders into grim places. I know I do. But at the same time I am suspicious and rather skeptical about how "real" someone is that doesn't go there sometimes. So be real, be at you ease, and keep talking. I truly enjoy listening.

Yahoo! I just knew that as soon as you would see how needed you are...you would be back!
Ronni, you're such an excellent writer,,can you not write for the local newspaper? Any or all of your posts on aging would be a welcome addition and probably pay enough to get by on!
Even a weekly column?

Oh, happy dance that you are back!

The darkest nights often come because of our passions and the depths of our commitments. What I love about TGB is that you are neither shallow nor passive, and you inspire others.

Now I'm off to straighten out a member of Congress. I wrote to all delegates from my state. Only one responded...to thank me for my letter concerning the hate crime bill he voted for last May and explain why he hoped I could support the idea! The SB1959 identification and title were very clear in my letter. He doesn't even know what the bill is.

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