I'm back from being in writer's no-words mode.
It is Saturday night and I am home alone in my emptied nest. The window is open, letting in the slight chill of an early fall evening in Virginia, and the crickets are the second soundtrack to the show tunes station to which I am listening.
In the morning I had a breakfast with a friend who is having relationship troubles. Ursula and I have known each other since I moved here from Israel thirteen years ago. We have breakfasted through my divorce, her dating escapades, my dating escapades, her relationship’s beginning, my relationship’s beginning—and end, and the draining interweaving-of-selves part of her relationship that shows just how hard it is to have a successful relationship once you’ve been divorced, and/or have passed 40 and the naiveté that accompanies us in our younger days.
In the afternoon I canvassed for a Democratic candidate for State Senate and against the entire Republican ticket in Virginia. Most people were not home on this beautiful, summer-like Saturday. One woman, whose husband I was there to talk to, tried to tell me that invasive ultrasounds were good because it gives women a chance to really consider killing a baby. Once we got past that, we had a real conversation, in spite of her obvious listening to Fox and my reading of DailyKos. I also saw a couple I know; he said that he was probably going to use his furlough time to do some canvassing.
When I came home, I read a little, I napped, then I walked Poops, and had dinner. For a few hours I have been reading at the computer and trying to write.
Nothing about my day was similar to the hectic pace and child-centric days when my daughters were home, nor was it similar to when I was focused on providing comfort to a husband or a boyfriend, or not getting the comfort I needed. Nothing about my day was less than an expression of myself. It is bittersweet, this open time of not being needed, but there is, too, the sense of satisfaction that the need I now fulfill for my daughters is fully me—and not a role. It is bittersweet, though, to have no one to ask me when I will be home from meeting with Ursula, and then to greet me with a kiss when I return as if I am some long-travelling love. But it was lovely not to think about when I need to be home so that a child or a man won’t feel alone.
There is much to life that is not intertwined with demands; it is astounding to have reached this point and this realization. Living without demands imposed upon me has also meant that I impose fewer upon myself. It also means that the focus I used to have on how I wasn’t as good as everyone but me is loosening its grip, as is my need to do just to show/say/feel that I am doing. There have been weekdays spent working and then coming home and not being productive. There have been weekends when the only thing I have done is to walk Poops. I am resisting saying that I did nothing because I am letting myself, finally, discover that life is life: it really is the moments and not only the actions or experiences or products.
Apparently I needed to be alone to proceed according to my internal clock (except for waking up at five am on weekdays) to become content. Spending a day with a friend, and a cause, and a dog, and then eating leftovers in pajamas is a darn fulfilling way to spend a day.