On Saturday evening I went to a friend’s house for a mid-holiday Rosh HaShanah (New Year) dinner. Besides me, there were three couples and their two, two, and one children. I had thought before the evening that I would feel a stab of discomfort or loss at my unaccompanied presence. For a brief moment before it was time to go I even considered cancelling and staying wed to my couch. But I didn’t. It could be that my friend and her friends and family were all interested and interesting people so the conversation flowed easily and I didn’t get caught in any down-times in conversation that left me without a built-in conversation partner.
Have I overcome a hump? The “I’m alone” hump? Am I now resolutely in the “it’s okay to be alone” phase? Is this what it feels like to be a person who is not dependent on another or with others dependent on her—or wishing that someone would depend on me? Should I rejoice in this chance to focus on what I want to focus and not moan that one daughter is in California and the other spent the holiday with her father? Is this my chance to be stripped of imposed-upon roles so that I can whittle myself down to my own essence? It’s as if I can feel the layers of personhood that I was and still am, but now I can also clearly discern the self—my self. Enough time was given up to the regret phase that I am purified of it, and so this transcendence doesn’t feel like a trick of a mourning self, but the very real reflection of a person who respects herself and her life.
So this is what it’s like to be me. I talk read write critique listen laugh greet walk observe eat shop cook drive plan think inquire doubt. I don’t seem to do anything. But perhaps that is not essential to me. The doing is the living. This is my life. It doesn’t need highlights to be a highlight. Satisfied with who I am, does that mean that I am not looking for someone to redefine me? Does it mean, too, that I will not let someone else redefine me? I hope so. It’s taken a while to reach this configuration of self; a while and a journey. It seems that I do things. But I also contemplate them.
I have begun 5770. A new year. Stepping into a new year with the fullness of how the years past have wrought me and excited for how I will hone the future, moment by moment.