One more revolution

My father used to say “It’s just another day.” Then again, he said that about most occasions: birthdays, Father’s Days, Christmases …

This year, my birthday is probably gonna feel like another day, mainly because it’s on a Monday – today – and it’s supposed to be a dreary one here in Connecticut.

Also, in the past year or two, I’ve become a little self-conscious about my age (57, like Heinz, only without the high fructose corn syrup shit) because, well, it just sounds old. Even though I’m spiritually around 30. (Maybe it’s the residual of nine years of the unemployment/underemployment grind, where my age was definitely a factor with a lot of the hundreds of résumés I sent in vain. Age discrimination – the one form of prejudice you’d have a hell of a time proving in court.)

Over the past year, I realized that, one way or another, I don’t have that many revolutions around the sun left. To that effect, I have but one simple goal in the coming 365: to make it to 58.

That sounds a little heavy, I know, but I have my reasons. That’s because 57 is a loaded number for me. I’ve always been a believer in things skipping a generation, and, well, both of my paternal grandparents died at 57. My grandfather, for whom I was named, passed from esophageal cancer when I was two months old. My grandmother had leukemia and died when I was 4 1/2. Now, granted, science has come a long way in half a century. People have a much more fighting chance against leukemia these days, and my doctor, the fabulous Vanessa, reassured me that esophageal cancer isn’t a hereditary form of the disease.

I’ve tried not to let it become a monster, become an all-consuming thought, and now that I’m at the age and am confronting the magic number, well, this will probably the last time I talk about it. My concern, physical will be how to rid myself of over 100 pounds safely, both to keep a strain off my heart and knees, and to look good for the first time in my life.

But as far as other goals for the 58th trip around the sun, well, there’s the old adage, one I’ve learned all too well the past decade: If you want to make God laugh, tell it your plans.

I mean, hell, I couldn’t have planned this past revolution. I couldn’t have even written a credible script.

At this point last year, I was working three days a week at the part-time job I had taken the year before, right after my father’s funeral: nearly an hour’s drive each way, $10.22 an hour, only 29 3/4 hours so they wouldn’t have to consider me full-time. My bank account, despite living frugally, was dipping way too close to zero, with no prospects ahead, and I had totally lost my writing mojo.

Since then, I appeared on Jeopardy! (shot in August, aired in October, and I will definitely have the story up here soon, probably in time for the anniversary); and at the end of 2017, I was asked to come on board and help a couple of authors/oral historians on a huge book project. It’s freelance, but it’s a full 40-hour week, it’s 10 minutes from home (no more fighting traffic on 84), and while it doesn’t carry as far as it did then, I’m finally making what I was making before my first layoff at The Fresno Bee … nine years ago. For which I’m quite grateful.

And having people hire me for work that’s tangentially related to my adulthood of journalism, my skill set (transcribing interviews, fact-checking, copy editing) has done wonders for my mojo. In addition, my first story for their blog should be up any day now, which means some extra cash. And they want me to do more. And I’m slowly moving past the years of self-doubt, and doing some writing for myself. But it’s that great paradox: now that I have the money and the desire, I don’t have as much time.

There were several – many – times over the last few years where I wanted to take a nice long walk off a short ocean, just because I felt worthless and wanted the pain to be gone. It’s nice to want to stick around and accomplish something. Maybe I can luck into some casting director needing a sharp and sometimes-witty transwoman for a TV show or a film; stranger things have happened. And hey, I have a book to write, which has been a huge albatross that’s built a nest and raised a family on my shoulders.And I need to do it because, well, I don’t have that many changes of seasons left.

I’d like to say I have some more good things to look back on when the calendar. But first and foremost, I simply want to be here, period, when the calendar hits June 4th again in 2019. The revolution starts now.

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2 Responses to “One more revolution”

  1. Mike Says:

    Hey Fran, good to hear from you again.
    Getting old isn’t for the faint of heart-I’m 63, and haven’t had the employment issues you’ve experienced, but whenever I meet with a new client, or work with some young hotshot producer, I feel the judgements about me. Keep pushing, keep striving, keep working! And keep posting as well!

  2. franoramaworld Says:

    Thanks, Mike!

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