New Read: The Exiles

Since I finished The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline at 5:30 this morning, I’ve been sitting here on the couch, at a loss as to what to do next. The book broke something in me. I want to sit with it awhile.

the exiles book cover

But my “must keep up the stats” brain comes seething up. “Forty-five minutes? That’s all? And you’re going to stop? You should start reading that next book. You know if you don’t read more this morning, you’ll not go back today. That’s going to mess up your daily average.”

Shut up! I don’t read to keep an average or make a quota. I read to learn. This book opened up a whole can of worms that are now squirming around everywhere in a desperate attempt to get underground before they’re snatched away by ravenous birds.

I want to pin those worms down and study them, attempt to make some kind of sense, or incorporate them into my life in some meaningful way.

I’m talking about ideas. You know that, right?

What exactly am I struggling with now? The age old, “What have I done with my life?” problem. A privilege I’m happy to have, even though it brings my mind grief sometimes. But at least I’m not like the poor women in the book. At least I have the time and money to sit and wonder about the past and what to do next.

That’s what’s got me.

And while I’m sitting here, wondering what kind of lives my great-grandmas, grandmas, and aunts lived, wishing they had thought to keep a journal and pass it on to their children, I get a message from a friend. She’s been struggling with the effects on her life due a very clever scam and reached out to us for help, emotional and financial. I’m glad we can be there for her and sent some money, only to be failed by the postal system.

I’m going to have to go down to the bank in person. This just messes up my whole day.

Why? Because lately, my social anxiety has been getting far worse. I’m not sure what to do about it, but going out is getting harder and harder to do, no matter how lonely I get. That’s another story.

I laughed at myself.

I’m sitting here, upset about the lives of women over one hundred years ago. How hard it must have been for everyone. Much has changed in the world, a lot for the better, but there is so much work to be done still. What have I done with all that my foremothers have given me? What can I do now?

And then the one thing I could do to help one woman overwhelms me. Simply picking up some cash, driving the five miles to the bank, walking inside, and asking to deposit it feels like an insurmountable chore. PS That task has proven to be not so simple. It seems that in the effort to stop people from doing bad things, we’ve created a financial/legal system that only stops good people from doing good things. It’s… just… great… but I digress.

THAT’S the world I’ve created for myself and one that needs to change, otherwise I’m going to end up spending the rest of my natural life reading books, and looking through screens at other people’s pretend lives, instead of actually living.

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