Switching gears into homelessness: A journal from day zero

Rethinking homelessness:  I started out by living as a homeless person in my suburban area for two weeks.  Read my blog post to get the full scope of my thoughts and why I wanted to do this.  Please note that I am not homeless, therefore I will never understand what it’s like to be homeless.  I do however, have a better understanding of the struggles homeless people face every day.  If you would like to know more about helping the homeless community, please take a look at Rethink Homelessness.

My journal from day zero

I’m out at 8:59 p.m.  It’s Thursday, and I worked all day trying to get everything done before I left.  I’m struggling to comprehend what I’m doing.  I’m stressed from work and from speaking at a conference in Houston this week.  Switching gears is difficult.

Many times today, I’ve been asked where I’ll go.  I don’t know.  I left my house and drove almost 3 miles to the Tom Thumb parking lot to write this.  I’m so tired.  If I was home, I would be in bed already.  I keep wondering why I wanted to do this in the first place.  I know why, but I’m so tired right now, I can’t really process it.  Continue reading

a street retreat and a midlife crisis?

[This post is part of Rethink Homelessness, written 5.23.12]

I guess I have a midlife crisis on or around my birthday each year.  It seems as though I make big life changes around the same time every year.  I bet any therapist could have a field day with that info.

Here’s part of my journal entry from May 23 this year.  I didn’t realize I started thinking about this on my birthday.

5.23.12

I can’t sleep.  It’s 5:20 a.m. and I’m thinking about living as a homeless person.  I have no idea what to expect, but does any person going into a homeless situation?  It’s a little bit of fear and some apprehension.  When God was passing out the fear chips, I clearly forgot to stand in that line.  So what will it be like to live as a homeless person?

I decided yesterday to do a little homework before throwing myself out on the street.  What am I trying to accomplish?  I want to learn more about this.  I guess I’ve never felt “at home” many places in my life and I typically don’t belong in our society in the way everyone else seems to fits in.  I’m the square peg living in a neighborhood of round holes.

I’m not sure why I think this experience would help because all in all, I know I have a place to live when my week, or however long this is, is over.

I’ve heard of some people doing these “street retreats”.  I’m not sure how the name retreat got in there, but I’m thinking it’s not a retreat, it’s more of a defeat for people that really have to live this way.  Anyway, I hope I can do something good with this.

Have you ever heard of a “street retreat” or been on one?

it’s hotter than… [daily good photo]

116°?!!??  I really have no idea how hot hell is, but I’m pretty sure we have to be close.  So how is this good?  I find a lot of good in this crazy hot weather.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired of it since it’s been over 100° for over a month now.  Okay, here’s my ‘good’ in it:

My mobile thermometer.  I’m glad my car has this temperature feature.  That might not seem like a big deal to anyone reading this, but my car is 15 years old.  I like simple ‘old-fashioned’ gadgets like this, not the complicated computers they have in all of the new cars now.  You can say I’m getting old and I like old stuff, but I love technology, so I don’t think that’s the case.  I just don’t need technology everywhere and on everything in my life.

Southern living.  I lived in Wisconsin and in Chicago, Illinois long enough to know I love living in the south.  I’d rather deal with this heat for a couple of months rather than the snow and cold.  Last time I was in Wisconsin, that little gadget said -17°.

Cool off!  Although the A/C in my car works, it’s not the coldest air ever.  And let’s not even talk about my electric bill even though I keep my thermostat set on 80°.  But we do have air conditioning.  Down in Mexico, only 8 hours away in drive time, there’s many people without this luxury.  They have hotter temperatures than we do… without anything to cool them off.  Sure, you can say, “They’re used to it…”, but really?  It’s good that I can afford, and have… air conditioning.

gracie rockin’ the guitar [daily good photo]

[like… a lot]  Once a month on Thursdays, we go to the nursing home across the street to hang out and sing with the residents.  I love to hear their stories, like Flo who was an incredible artist and painter or Ethel, 99 years old that was a biker chick in her younger days.  Gracie, whom we’ve never met before, joined us last night to sing.  She kept looking behind us because she saw an extra guitar and she kept asking for it.  Finally Steve got up, gave her the guitar and Gracie rocked the house!  She was harmonizing, belting out the hymns with her beautiful voice and playing the guitar like she had been in a band all her life.  Her happiness quickly spread to all of us around her.  I can’t wait until next month to see Gracie again.  I’m thinking we need to find her a guitar, as it’s unusual that we have an extra one.

peacock feather [daily good photo]

[like]  I like, okay, love peacock feathers.  The colors are bold and beautiful, but more than that, they are a sign of protection.  I’ve studied Persian rug art and the peacock feather is a sign of protection.  This particular feather is wrapped around my happy tree.  The happy tree is a dead tree that is stained bright blue and stands tall by my front door.  It’s an art piece that I love to look at every time I enter or exit my house.  Luckily I don’t have an HOA and I have really awesome neighbors.

bird singing on the roof [daily good photo]

[appreciate]  A cardinal sitting on my roof, singing for over 10 minutes.  I got my phone out and opened an app that plays bird sounds and I talked to him.