People often say “I’m not in a good place right now”, usually meaning that something has brought them down temporarily. Seldom is it a reflection of their entire life status; however, in my case, it is, sadly. I’m writing this on my 62 birthday, documenting where my life is today, in the hopes that this time next year things will be a whole lot better. Either that or I’ll be dead, which is a good possibility as well.

I find myself alone, living in a place I loathe, as a result of yet another mistake with a woman. When I moved from Toronto I was full of such hope for the future. I was in love and believed that I would again be part of a family, which I missed so much. Things took a tragic turn and I found myself alone in a strange city, trapped by circumstances. I longed to be anywhere else but London and obviously regretted leaving Toronto and, even more, missed being out West where I was truly happy.

Through living in a rooming house, to sleeping on the floor of a colleague’s office, to ending up in shelters, to an apartment I could not possibly afford, to finally getting into public housing, it has been a long and stressful road. Laying on my filthy bed in the shelter in oppressive heat, afraid for my very life, surrounded by the lowest of society, I knew I had hit rock bottom. Those were very dark days. Although I appreciate my little apartment I face the daily struggle of trying to get enough food to survive on the measly amount I get from assistance. The little things that I have always enjoyed in my life, like having a beer, playing pool, even a meal out at McDonald’s are out of the question when there is no money. I have probably applied for at least five hundred jobs over the last few months, with no luck. I have done research on many companies and sent proposals out, again, with no response. I firmly believe that my age is against me and there is nothing I can do to change that. The economy is in the dumps and finding any kind of job, especially in a depressed area like London, is virtually impossible.

I long to return to the Okanagam and I apply for every conceivable job I see in the area. I have limited funding to help me to relocate if I can find a job, but this has not proved successful either. I came close with a perfect job, covering Kelowna north and the island, but was not selected for a final interview, despite being perfectly qualified for the position. I let myself get excited and put everything in place to be able to leave immediately, which only served to bring me down when I didn’t get the job.

My family situation is unchanged and still a mess. A tiny glimmer of hope is that my son has reconnected through Facebook; however, his life is as much a mess as mine and he doesn’t want to let me back into his life beyond these messages. My daughter has completely shut me out of her life, ever since I drove across the country to see her and she was hidden away from me. So cruel! I have never understood why she shut me out of her life and it’s a knife in my heart every single day. Having lost my mother and father I am left with no immediate family, something I have always cherished.

My health is a disaster. I was always so happy that I was physically active and healthy. Whether I was busy renovating or climbing a mountain, I had tons of stamina and could do almost anything. Today my heath is in ruins, mostly because of my diabetes. I have put on thirty pounds, which has resulted in acid reflux and many other problems. I have no energy and sleep more than I ever have in my life. My feet are painful and swollen and I can barely walk. My shoulder, which has yet to be diagnosed properly, is painful and I have very limited mobility. My toes are so painful that I can’t sleep. I tire easily and can’t exert the smallest physical energy without resting. I feel so very old, for the first time in my life.

There is no one special in my life in the romance department. I have lost touch with all of my friends from out west and I don’t know anyone in London. After forty-five years I have reconnected with the mother of my other son and she has been a great help. She has come to London and got me out of my apartment and done things with me that I haven’t done in a very long time. She has most graciously paid for everything, something that makes me feel very guilty. I have always been the one to pay and it just reminds me how pathetic my life has become that I am a pauper. I have always been a hopeless romantic and I miss being in love. I think to find someone you need to first feel good about yourself and I certainly don’t.

Regardless of what a mess I’m in right now, I hope that some luck comes my way and I can get back to the person I used to be. I think that this will only happen if I find a way to get back out west, but this may only be a dream. They say you can’t go back and maybe that’s true. I am hopeful I can reconnect with some of my good friends, but it may have already been too long being apart. It also takes money to live in Kelowna and it will very much depend on my financial circumstances. Living on assistance in Kelowna, even if that were possible, would be just as bad as here. I will not give up on my dream to get back there before I die, but short of winning a lottery, it will be an uphill battle. No matter what, my life will be much different if I get back. There won’t be any boats or dirt bikes or snowmobiles and my life will be much different. One of my passions for years was to dance at the Corral, but my feet would make that impossible right now. Hopefully if I can lose the weight and get my diabetes under better control I may dance again.

I pray that I can write a much better story on my next birthday. If nothing has changed by then I will simply not survive.