My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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in which Beth feels sorry for herself

It’s early morning, I was up at 6.45, and I’m going to complain today, for no reason other than sometimes I need to mewl. Sometimes life feels overwhelming. There’s the stuff going on out there – the election, which fills me with fear. I have an NDP sign, but after Singh’s performance in the debate, his relentless hounding of Trudeau without presenting viable alternatives, I’m ordering a Liberal one too. Brian Chang is a good candidate, but so is the Liberal Marci Ien, and yet again, I want to make sure the Cons do not get in and destroy the country. 

Okay, so there’s that. There’s the increasing fear of the 4th wave of the pandemic, the heartrending memorials for 9/11, the disgusting Republican party eviscerating democracy, the climate inferno we have unleashed on our planet.

Okay, that too, and so much more.

And then there’s my little life. I’m overwhelmed by all I have to do and do not get done. The list of what I’ve not read or watched or listened to – or travelled to – is endless. What am I doing wrong? 

Sometimes I think: the garden is nearly a full time job; I could spend the day doing nothing but that. I’m looking out right now and seeing everything that needs to be done. Keeping fit and healthy is nearly a full time job, one I’ve fallen behind in due to the pandemic, though in fact, gardening does help with that; two birds etc. The house, maintaining an old four-story house, keeping the fridge filled and food on the table, is nearly a full time job. Teaching is my actual job. Reading is my job. Being a landlady is my job. Tending my personal life – family and friends – is another vital job. 

But now, I am also spending time working with my dear champion Ron on a marketing campaign for my memoir, fighting my own instincts all the way. Because I hate all that “Buy this!” stuff. I’m trying to post regularly on Instagram and FB. I write here. 

What is last on this list? My own writing. Sitting at my desk thinking and delving and working. Where to fit that in? And … really, why bother? So few people have read my books. Why do I keep going? 

Because I have no choice. It’s what I do. 

I’m 71. How much time do I have left? How can I do all these jobs and still write? There was an essay by Ann Patchett in the NYT yesterday, in which she mentions that she never wanted to have children; she knew she couldn’t have a family and write. Unthinkable to me. Some writers do manage families and great success as writers; Carol Shields did. Time management, that must be the key. Being rigorous about how to apportion the hours. 

Rigour is not, has never been, my strong point.

All right, enough mewling, pull back, girl. You’ve managed to write a few books and articles and keep the bank account steady and the house running. And yourself too, you’re in pretty good shape so far for 71, don’t forget that. Your daughter wrote from Nova Scotia; she and her kids are in heaven and she thanked you for helping make their joyful voyage possible. People email about the books; not many, but appreciative readers are out there. Your words matter. And your students too seem to enjoy what you offer. 

So it’s time to eat some breakfast and make a list of what to get done today. Celebrate what is rather than what isn’t. Do what you can. Get on with it. 

You understand that if I had a spouse, I’d be telling all this to him or her. So today you are my spouse. Thank you for listening. Moving right along. 

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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