Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Filling the time

Learning how to live alone after decades of family life has been an adjustment. One of the biggest lessons I've had to learn has been not to rush. The only schedule I have to consider is my own. There's no need to push dinner later because of piano lessons or doctor's appointments or finish early because of some homework project. I don't have to push (nag) people to get ready faster so they won't be late for school or work. I've been surprised to find that it really doesn't take me two hours to go from from shower to walking out the door. I thought making myself look decent just took that long, but with no change in routine, it's minutes. It was everything else that was devouring my time.

So living alone has given me more time. Figuring out what to do with it has been surprisingly difficult. There are always books to read, a movie to pop in the DVD player, and of course the time consuming black hole of the internet.

I like having more time to write, and putting the emphasis on a handwritten journal has been good. The feel of a pen in my hand and its scratch along a piece of paper hold a pleasure that typing never will. It also slows me down. I scratch out lines, paragraphs. I toss sheets into the wicker wastepaper basket beside my favorite battered chair. I look more carefully at the visual effect of a poem on a page when it's handwritten. I just think more. Beyond that, I like having a calloused groove on my third finger that perfectly fits a pen.

I had to learn again how to cook things slowly. The quick and easy meal doesn't always satisfy, and letting a meal develop in its own time has become almost a Zen practice for me.

These are good things. They've brought me pleasure, and that is actually part of the problem. As my incessant whining in this blog has shown, I've lived a lot of the last couple of years hurting, mourning, depressed and frustrated. I've wanted these simple pleasures as a way to make my life better. The little pleasures made the pain stop for awhile. That's just not enough anymore. I need meaning. I need a purpose.

I'm not going to find it in the ongoing emotional autopsy of my life as wife and day-to-day mother. It's definitely harder to find than a re-run of Buffy. It took me months to find things that I enjoyed again after losing R. So, finding purpose and significance in this new life of mine will probably take me awhile longer. I don't take time for granted the way I used to, and I'm impatient. I want it now, and even though the thought of this makes me grind my teeth, I'm just going to have to have faith that I will find it.

What's significant about this though is that I am ready for something deeper, something substantive and real again. I haven't noticed all the steps that brought me to this point, but it's nice to know that I'm here.


Blogger Gannet Girl said...

It's strange, isn't it, to find that you are suddenly somewhere instead of nowhere -- but it's so different from what you had planned that you have to start from the beginning to figure out how it works.

January 27, 2010 10:33 PM  
Blogger Nelle said...

I was married the day after I turned 17 and that was for over 25 years. When my husband moved out and then my son left a few months later, it was liberating for me. I learned a lot about myself during that time. I had my cable turned off, rarely watched tv and discovered who I was and where I wanted to go. Thing is, after I had it all figured out someone who I thought would be a good friend turned into a great love and things changed again. We can make all the best plans, but life will take us where it thinks we should go. Enjoy this time to just BE. I know that all the things you want will come to you because your mind and heart are open. :)

January 28, 2010 7:12 AM  
Blogger Christina K. Brown said...

I'm not going to find it in the ongoing emotional autopsy of my life as wife and day-to-day mother.

Fabulous line! My youngest is getting old enough that I have a moment to read again.

February 03, 2010 5:17 PM  

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