Linda Bittle - West Plains, Missouri 65775

This is Not Where I Thought I Was Going

I’m Back! It’s Been a While.

It’s been a while. Life takes a lot of turns that we don’t expect, and my blog got pushed to the side. I’m back now, and I’ll be redesigning the blog to reflect where I am now. And let me tell you, it’s another place I never expected to be!

A Missouri creek in early spring. The grass is starting to green up, but the trees are bare, and the water is silty.
A small Missouri creek at the edge of town. Early spring, before the leaves come on.

I didn’t think I would come back to Missouri. It’s my home state, but when I left in the fall of 2006, I was determined to move on from a divorce and make my way in the world. And I did!

I was happy in Idaho. But life there had changed and as 2019 rolled into 2020, it was obvious that the world was changing in ways that I did not expect or like. My mom was getting older, and my sister was taking care of her while doing a full-time nursing job. Given that it looked like a virus was going to shut down the entire world, I made a decision to return while I still could. It looked like I might never see them or our brother in Oklahoma again if I stayed out west. So, with the help of friends, and with my sister driving the U-Haul, I moved back to southern Missouri in June of 2020.

 “There comes a time in your life when you have to choose to turn the page, write another book or simply close it.~ Shannon L. Alder

The move and failing to find a job that suited my background and experience did take a toll on me. Despite excellent references as a bookkeeper and business manager, I’d been unable to secure a similar position. No one wanted to even interview an over 60, gray haired woman, blind in one eye, with poor balance, and with no local connections to speak of. I’d NEVER had trouble getting a job before. It was demoralizing.

The job I did take in late August was enormously physical, working 12-hour days on my feet, heavy lifting required. I’d given up driving due to the vision loss and an admittedly poor skill set, and so I was walking just over a mile to and from work along a busy highway. Often my pedometer measured out over 19,000 steps in a day. Ten thousand steps is roughly 5 miles.

On bad weather days I’d spring for a ride with a local company, but that cost the equivalent of an hour’s work. Mom and my sister would slip me ten-dollar bills so that I’d have one ready when I needed it.

The fourth time I fell on my way home, I nearly broke my nose.

Two black eyes and a swollen and battered nose were the result of a fall onto gravel.
I caught my toe on an irregularity in the pavement on the low water bridge near my apartment.

I realized that I was 62 years old with a payroll history going back to the summer job I’d had at 15. Social Security wouldn’t replace all my full-time income, but it would cover a major portion of my bills. So, I retired in June of 2021, but got talked into going part-time until I finally gave it up in early December.

Just in time, too. I stepped up to do some part time care for my 83-year-old mom to give my sister some relief. She took a week to attend a class in Tennessee, and Mom stayed with me. Immediately after that, our brother visited from Oklahoma and needed a place to stay. I was delighted to have him, and we did have a nice visit! One thing and then another came along. The weather turned frigid and stayed that way for weeks.  I caught a bug that sent me to bed for several days. My younger cat kept coming into heat after being spayed…that’s a whole different story.

But mostly, I just could not recover from the absolute exhaustion of those final weeks of work. Fortunately, I was due a tax refund and had accumulated a lot of PHO time, and so I was able to take it easy for a while. (Turns out my blood sugar had shot up due to the poor eating habits I’d acquired during my 15-month stint in hospital food service, but I didn’t find that out until mid-June.) I laid around on the couch too tired to even read.

Getting back to what passes for normal.

Now that my health is on the upswing, and I’ve figured out how to support myself in the gig economy it’s time to put some effort into writing. I’ve waited my entire life to have the time and energy to write.

I’m going to fine tune this blog, adding posts on a regular basis. I’ll also be publishing parts of it on Medium.com, which has a decent chance of providing some income along the way. I’ll post a link when I do and ask you to follow me there – once I have 100 followers on that platform, I will be eligible to earn money. Some of the stories there will be familiar. Others will be brand new, written just for Medium…not everything that I write is appropriate for this blog.

I’m also contributing more to the ReelCamo Girl blog and newsletter. I’ll figure out how to set up my LinkTree account so that you can find everything on all platforms with just a click of the mouse. Probably not this week, though. I can stick it to the home page for easy access.

Follow along as I tweak the blog. I’ll put a couple of links to the early blog posts below, and I’ve numbered the important ones for easier following. Some of the old holiday posts will disappear as I will focus more on story and flow. The long arch is one of loss and healing. Life is summed up in those two words, and the important parts often fall into the space between. It should be an interesting ride. Because I’m pretty sure that I still don’t know where I’m going!

Links:

#1-Wildfire, or Welcome to My Blog • This is Not Where I Thought I Was Going #1-Wildfire, or Welcome to My Blog (lindabittle.com)

#2-Endings, or How the Damage Occurs • This is Not Where I Thought I Was Going (lindabittle.com)

#3-Love, As I See it • This is Not Where I Thought I Was Going (lindabittle.com)

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