One great thing about getting older (but that’s another story!) is that I can remember things that took a lot of time to accomplish; young people know this: one step at a time in the right direction can truly help lead you to where you want to be in life. Literacy was a very important bridge for me to go from a life I did not want to a life I wanted to live.
As I am older now, I am thinking about how to recreate and re-energize myself, and I turn to my old friends reading and writing. For there are many reasons to believe reading and writing can help me now in my older years–but that is another story.
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Decades ago, as a young adult, I found myself working in a field that was unhealthy for me. But like most, I had bills to pay and didn’t know how I would ever be able to make a change from a business career to a life filled with teaching and writing. What is the bridge?
Day after day I commuted to the office, feeling like I would literally scream outwardly what I was thinking all day: Get me out of here! I remember writing, in pencil and very small: GMTHOOH on some of my files, perhaps hoping I would get caught, get fired, and be forced to make positive changes in my life.
But I was careful, and I was an excellent employee. How can one be really good at something that kills the soul?
But I was, and I was not fired. Nor was I laid off during those harsh 80s when so many good people got let go of jobs they needed.
But back to the topic–how did reading help?
Some people laugh when I say literacy saved me, but it did. Reading and writing have always been important to me, but when I was working in a field I hated, I pushed reading and writing away from me. It just hurt too much to be around what I could not have as part of my daily life, so I pushed away that which would have helped nourish.
It would take a return to reading and then writing to see me out of a time and place and life I didn’t know how to leave without becoming poor–and I had been poor.
(But that’s another story. So many stories!)
This story is about how literacy, reading and writing, can be a bridge to an improved life. They sure were to me.
Part 2 to follow.