(Writing this particular piece for publishing today is purely coincidental. Clearly what matters is valuing every minute of every day which we may sometimes forget when caught up in our own angst.)
Awakening after seven or more hours of sleep one weekend day, I arose to satisfy nature’s urge, then went to the kitchen, glanced out the window noticing the papers had been delivered, returned to bed and slept until noon. I’ve come to enjoy those hours when once in a while I return to bed, since generally lovely dreams, that I even remember afterward, fill my mind.
When I awaken again, a button pressed allows the radio news, weather reports to bring me up to date on life outside my house. All the usual, another sunny day, firefighters still battling the flames in the forests distanced enough to the north, that the smoke-filled air is well beyond my environs, much less visible. Storm warnings up the coast in the earlier-this-year strawberry festival city of Oxnard with possible wind and hail expected later today.
Wandering out to the kitchen again, I see the newspapers still lying on the drive in their rain and sprinkler water-protective plastic wrappings when I again glance out the window. I decide I’ll bring in the papers, so don a jacket over my pajama top, a half-way body covering, since the pajama bottoms seem somehow less of an affront should someone drive by who might see me while I was engaged in my newspaper retrieval task. Rarely ever are any of the neighbors in surrounding homes visible, but even their eyes would likely not be shocked or offended should they catch a glimpse of my strange-looking somewhat meagerly clad form.
Returning to my front door, I notice the mail has been delivered already today, so remove our city newspaper, flyer ads, promotional letters with one addressed to my long deceased husband, plus only one business letter of any consequence. I miss the days when there was almost always a personal hand or type written letter from some friend or family member. Once inside, jacket removed, my newspapers extracted from their protective covering, I decide to just sit down in the living room with them.
I don’t have to gaze around the room to know there are, as always, an overwhelming number of tasks which I need to undertake that have multiplied daily in number since my husband’s death over six years ago, yet I continue to leave them all mostly undone. Matters haven’t been helped by the fact I’ve drug at lot of “stuff” into the living room, ostensibly to sort, that I never quite get completed. Refocusing on today's activities, I do sort the reading portions of these daily newspapers from the advertisements I discard unread, along with the sports pages after I glance at the headlines, and special car sales sections.
Misc. news items, gardening tips, music, theatre and film festival reports give way to the regular physician’s medical column feature of the day, followed by my chuckling through the half-dozen or so cartoons I enjoy reading. The living room radio has continued broadcasting since I transitioned to that unit much earlier after leaving my bedroom. The print reading now complete, I tip my head to rest against the recliner chair back. I am unmotivated to begin any activity, think about simply returning to the bed’s comfort, though I’m not sleepy and don’t feel tired. I could care less about booting up my computer, and reading emails, blogs or going to other Internet sites. I consider linking to music, but am not really certain what I might want to hear.
My thoughts wonderingly examine why I’m actually listless, though I don’t feel dark thoughts as might be associated with the blues, or depression. I wonder why I don’t become interested or enthusiastic about organizing my home’s interior into one presentable to not only myself but others? Why don’t I care enough to just do all I need to do here – simply to please myself – and never mind any body else? What crosses my mind is, that it just doesn’t matter.
There is no one locally, unlike most of my past years here, who is going to pleasantly surprise me with a phone call asking what I’m doing, and would I like to join them for a cup of coffee and just chat for a while. I realize there is no one who might show up unexpectedly at my door. I realize there is no one I want to phone to inquire if they would like to get together for a bit, just to discuss life, general nonsense, or intimate thoughts, concerns and questions.
When I consider taking off in the car, I realize the better part of wisdom for me is that maybe I shouldn’t be making long distance auto driving trips alone, even once I have my car completely checked over to make sure it would be safe for such trips. I realize, as I’ve been aware for some time, that even making such a trip would likely not be as enjoyable as I might anticipate, because there would be no one of like mind with whom to share the experience.
Additionally, I realize that my efforts at involving myself in activities interesting to me have resulted in my meeting few people here with whom I might establish close intimate relationships. Good trusting friends take time to establish and as we age time gets much shorter, but the time required to develop those relationships often does not. I did meet one such person (though we had know each other casually for over 30 years,) but inconsiderately life unexpectedly presented them with only a few short months existence after sudden onset of life-terminating health problems last year.
Yes, others I’ve met, we share similar interests, but they already have such companionship with their spouses, so I urge them to treasure their time together. Others, in some instances, already have their own longtime circle of friends who are all fortunately still living. Yes, the spouse, local friends as I once had enjoyed – just as they sought out and enjoyed me – are long gone from this immediate area – and many elsewhere, expired. I’m glad I’m alive and would not want to be otherwise, but these years are not as I had expected them to be. Selfishly, I fully anticipated many of those friends would share these years with me, especially the younger ones. I suppose the situation doesn't alter as we get older in this living lottery
I think I may know why I’m motivated primarily only to go to work. In addition to enjoying my work, the people I meet, and with whom I interact – that work impetus may only be partly because I made the commitment, so I have a professional obligation to honor it as long as I choose to keep working. Other than that, my bottom line is that I don’t care – nothing else seems to matter that much.
Still --- yes, I care about my children and their children, but they are far removed geographically, so they aren’t going to stop by. They can’t pop in given the miles that separate us, as I know they would otherwise. But then, if they did live by, they would have their own responsibilities. That would be okay, I want them to have a life of their own and I know how busy their lives can be – so many demands. I, too, lived that life once, as I think about the contact I had across the miles with my mother. I don’t want to move to either of my children’s parts of the country – they’re even widely separated geographically from each other, too.
Sometimes I’m envious of those who have family living close around, then I hear of the conflicts and challenges that sometimes pose for all and think my situation doesn’t have those issues. Still I’m tempted to wonder if I’m out-of-sight, out-of-mind, but I refuse to badger, complain and aggressively demand attention which would only seed undeserved guilt, possibly resentment and maybe even anger.
If the geographic distance wasn’t so great, I would undertake periodic driving trips to spend short visiting times – so much better for all of us than descending on them for long periods of time when I fly in. Also, flying comfort is so unpleasant now, plus once I’m there I have no transportation to go out and about, it's inconvenient to borrow theirs – not worth renting a car -- not really areas to walk to nearby. They don’t subscribe to newspapers, so I don’t familiarize myself with what of interest is going on in their area.
Guess I’ll boot up the computer and check my personal email. How exciting! My DIL has emailed me several photos from her smart phone. My handsome (Grandma bragging rights invoked here) red-headed grandson is visiting the petting zoo, quite intrigued with all the animals and their noises, especially the piggies. Also, he’s at the top of the slide, informing his mother he’s quite capable of sliding down on his own without her assistance, thank you. Oh my! He’s growing so fast – walking and running all over since he was nine months or so.
Lost in thought, my phone rings – I’m surprised -- the call is from my daughter. I know she is incredibly pre-occupied with all that’s going on in her home, none the least of which is studying for her classes, aiding my granddaughter as she begins her senior high school year and so much more for both of them. My daughter is so tired and sleepy as I hear the periodic yawns in her voice. We have a loving mother-daughter conversation that I eventually end, tucking her in with a hug and kiss across these miles for a much-needed good night’s sleep. Her morning will come much too soon. I remember those years only too well.
Where did the day go? Evening arrives and I decide to cater to my whim for part of my weekly fish allotment. Furthermore, I’m not going to cook – though I have some frozen salmon filets which are probably more healthy for me than what I have in mind. Why not just go to that fast food place and get a fish sandwich? That’s what I’ll do, but I’ll dress from the top up, still leave on those pajama bottoms – no one will know the difference – sure hope I don’t have an auto accident. Mom always said it was important to have clean underwear on when I left home. Oh well, off I go.
Soon I’m home again. I feel just a little bit wicked having gone off dressed as I was, or undressed, depending on your perspective, but at least I’m not one of those people I’ve read about occasionally who are discovered stark naked in the car. That’ll never be me, rest assured dear reader!
Aren’t I lucky! I do have good close friends, including one I’ve known all my life with whom I have frequent contact. It’s just that none of them live here in my city any more. And I have such a loving caring family, however few there are of us, regardless of the miles that separate us, who certainly don’t neglect me. I suppose all of us have times when we may feel a bit alone in the world, but we really aren’t if we think about it. Besides, I also have all my Blogger Buddies, too!