I started this entry on Independence Day, simply because I had a fireworks photo worth looking at. But the idea of independence triggered several thoughts that were worth discussing in this journal.
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Americans consider themselves the residents of the "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave". Parts of this country define that in ways very different ways. For people in former "frontier" regions, there is a greater value on self sufficiency and individuality than those people in cities. They distrust things that are not in their expected binary view of the world, and people like us are perceived as a threat - even though they can not support their claim with valid logic.
There is an interesting question posed by these two philosophies. How much struggle is needed to toughen (or temper) a person so that he/she is prepared as best as possible to handle the challenges of a harsh and unforgiving world? As a society, we might ask if the safety net we look for and try to provide is a help or a long term enabler of dependency? I think that there will always be some who lever learn to stand on their own (my step nephew may be one of these people), but others like myself were assisted at one time in our lives, and now feel the need to "pay it forward" so that others have a leg up in life.
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Several months ago, GFJ officially broke up with me. Yet, we are on the phone almost every day. Does this mean that we are a couple, a pair of close friends, or something else? I have no clue. Yet, I feel independent enough of her to be able to schedule an occasional night out with the Cat Lady, with the idea that we could develop a relationship.
Lili is not keen on the idea that I am still in contact with GFJ. But with my birthday this month, GFJ recently gave me a outdoor folding chair that I could bring to events such as the Peekskill fireworks display - which we viewed from a point near Annsville Circle. Does she want a relationship? Does she want a close friendship? Again, I have no clue. But the independence she granted me makes it possible for me to spend more weekend days en-femme, and live my life more in ways that make me comfortable.
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Earlier this year, my niece returned home from London after spending the previous six months living with her boyfriend there. He is in the process of changing careers, and has decided to spend part of the summer working as an intern (not medicine) in British Columbia. Until he leaves for BC, he will be living with my niece at the old family homestead.
Having my niece living with a boyfriend must be making my brother feel very uncomfortable. Although his daughter (my niece) is independent enough to live on her own (having done so for several years during a period of family strife), she is still "Daddy's Little Girl". And I can only imagine what goes through his head when he thinks that his daughter will once again move away from home and live where only a regular phone call can be used to maintain contact.
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Regarding my independence... I have found that not having to report to an office at a given time has been a great blessing. The time en-femme that I have been given has helped me develop the confidence I need when I am en-homme. Confidence breeds independence, and I feel that I can handle more of the challenges that life hands to me - including having to manage on a very much reduced money stream.
Recently, I had the fortune of finding out about a civil service position that pays well, but requires minimal skills. The skills needed for the work are the very same ones I needed when programming computers and analyzing the data from those programs. But it is not a programming position, and the work is a lot less stressful. If I were to get one of these positions, I would have less independence in one area of my life (the state would get 35+ hours of my time each week), but I'd have more financial independence - something I'd like to have before I retire. The exam for this position will be given later in the year, so it wouldn't help me for a while yet. Let's see what happens. My life does not hang in the balance if I do not get the position.