Is happiness really a choice, or is it just all relative?
Today I read Mark Terry's blog wherein he cut to the chase on publishing cuts, slicing every writers' creative aorta with the bleak news of today's publishing picture. It was an icy blast fit to peel the skin right off your face, painful but necessary.
Earlier I read a piece in my local news rag that ABC Daytime is cutting actors' salaries. They (ABC) could have just axed the characters, because you know in soaps, that happens every so often. An actor gets the itch to rush out to Cali during pilot season and try his/her luck, and next thing you know, they're Lazurus back from the dead. But is ABC killing off Erica Kane, or maybe sending her off to an exotic spa for a face lift? Hell no. They know what their viewers want, and that's to see sixty-one-year-old Erica Kane try to look thirty.
And the actress accepted a cut in pay as opposed to standing in a casting call line.
Still earlier as I brewed my coffee, I listened to my morning radio talk show where in the news portion it was announced that a sportswriter for the local rag just got the ax. The guy had been with the paper maybe twenty or more years (I'm guessing). Offered a pay cut? I don't know. I sort of doubt it. I'd have to say that given the local market, which is small, the reporter might have jumped at the chance to keep a job since it'd be hard to find work locally as a sportswriter.
We hear it everywhere. Job loss is nothing new, but recently virulent. But still, job cuts, cutbacks, etc., aren't new. It's just harder to find a new job because, well, there aren't many out there to be had.
Unless, of course, you're willing to do what it takes to stay solvent as opposed to doing what you love, or what you thought was best suited for your talents. McDonald's perhaps? A greeter at Wal-Mart? Here's the rub: Jobs don't define who you are. That's something people seem to lose sight of. Basically we work to put food on the table and keep a roof over our head. Maybe it's just me who thinks this way because I never got paid to do what I love. I worked to live, taking jobs that picked me, as in, I could type therefore I got to be a secretary. That led to more specific secretarial jobs such as a slave to lawyers. Next thing I knew I worked in a mediation program via Family Court.
You do what you gotta do.
It sucked. I burned out. People sucked. It was them or me. I picked me. I'm lucky enough to have survived the thirty plus years doing what I didn't like, but it kept me out of hock and fed my kid. Luckier still, I was able to self-retire.
And now I try to write, which I love, but the publishing world is a nasty mother-hucker even when things are good. Not so much now. Am I thinking of jumping out my raised ranch second story window because my chances of getting published have gone from slim to none to fat chance in hell? Hell no.
I still have a roof over my head, food on the table and a solid marriage. We can survive on one income. That's lucky in more ways than one because if I need to re-enter the work force, I'll need to find a job that accepts partial eyesighted secretaries. Oh, and let's not forget my age. I have that against me no matter what I try and do - even getting published for the first time, or so I've been told.
So, hell yeah, life can suck. I could make mine even suckier by fretting over the economy and how it's ruining Christmas, yada yada, but let's not forget the Wal-Mart employee killed in the line of duty because shoppers didn't want their Christmas ruined by not getting a deal on that 42" flat-screen for their teenage meth-head kid.
I'm just saying that we need to embrace the beauty where we feel it. Things could be worse - we could have Grandpa Munster as our president-elect, right? What could be worse than that? If president-elect Grandpa Munster croaked, that's what. Think about that scenario, and then get back to me about how horrible life is.
Meanwhile, remember to stoop over and sniff a rose, or indulge in whatever simple pleasure strikes your fancy. Life is good when we view it from the simplest vantage point.