If I try hard, I can find the place that’s raw, that says it shouldn’t be this way, I shouldn’t be alone now that both kids are off at college. But that’s not the real me speaking and I know it. I had a story made up in my head as the early years of child-raising went by: as I watched them grow I also watched their father and I grow farther apart, but assumed that we would patch things up and finally have time for each other once that magical mystical date in 2016 arrived. We might not have spent time and energy on each other in the meantime but that’s because I was busy raising the kids, sewing and gardening, and running our home, and he was busy with commuting to Seattle via ferry, working, and pursuing his interests in piano and writing.
But that would all magically change when our routines changed- at least according to my vision. We’d go on weekend trips around the Pacific Northwest, we’d linger at dinner over candlelight, we’d really talk about our hopes and fears for our lives and those of our children, and for the wider community we live in.
But that’s not what today looks like. I’m single, and I’ve had a couple of boyfriends since my marriage ended right after Christmas of 2012. I just sold the house we raised the kids in and downsized to a rental cottage. To add to what could feel like total abandonment, my sweet canine companion of 11 years, Cosmo, died suddenly last week and left a huge hole in my life. I’m exploring ways to balance working a couple of jobs and caring for an aging father, all the while making time for self-care including acupuncture and chiropractic work, focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet to heal years of stress and prevent a recurrence of the colon cancer, and pursuing my interests in music, dance and fiber arts. I’m active in my church as well, and it can be overwhelming trying to apportion out the allotted time I have each week to the many facets of my life.
That is why I am deliberate in choosing to live by my priorities. My life has expanded beautifully to fill the gap left when my youngest started college in September and though it looks nothing like what I imagined 5 years ago, I no longer have any desire to go back to that unrealistic but tantalizing vision of what I thought life should be. As much as I miss the companionship of a partner, I also revel in the freedom to finally plan my days around what makes life meaningful for me. Getting to know myself again, and what makes me happy; being able to be happy on my own; cultivating the practice of self-reflection and checking in with myself constantly- these are my priorities right now. What a gift to be able to open every day!