Friday, June 15, 2012
When I look at myself, overworked and overwhelmed at times, what have I left to give a beloved?
I'm used up. With projects I adore and with projects I have to get done. I've thrown myself into surviving, first from necessity, now with a healthy dose of defiance. I am going to thrive. Widowhood isn't going to leave me half alive. I'm doing two people's work to manage the same household. Where's the free time for a special man?
"Step into my world", I have said into my romantic void. "Help me. Hold me. I'm pretty. I'm healthy. I'm faithful. I'm loving. I have a wonderful relationship resume! No heavy baggage. No bitterness. Just peace. Gratitude. I have a magnificent home by a pond. Come play. Come stay. Come be my love."
Me. Me. Me. It's all about me. With a Pygmalion fantasy.
Until I come up with free time and a free heart for a man on his turf, on his terms, sometimes, I'm not serious about connecting with a real human being.
Are you having trouble moving on, too?
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
I just can't see it.
I saw a dead deer by the side of the road, and an official town truck stopped alongside. Two men in their fluorescent orange vests had wrapped a towel around her and were about to heave her into the bed of the truck. "That could be me!" I wailed.
Life gets bleak when I look ahead, if it's love I'm looking for.
I finished the bike ride for our local cancer center. 53 miles in under 4 hours. 3649 feet ascending and 3649 feet descending. Slower than the racers half my age, but faster than I rode it two years ago. Fast down some hills - 35 mph - and la dee da slow up some hills - 5 mph. I was easily the oldest woman cycling the route. I did feel tired afterward, but I didn't feel sore, not even the tiniest little bit.
Five years ago I couldn't have done this. I was out of shape and grieving. I weighed 149 and wore size 12. Then I saw someone cycling in the mountains of Tuscany. What freedom! What gorgeous landscape! What vitality! I want that! So with that in mind, I put myself on a weight training regimen. When I wanted to quit I held out my carrot - that cyclist in Tuscany was me. I bought a bicycle and bribed myself to go 4 1/2 miles. Then more. Then more. I found an auction site offering a discount bike trip for two to Tuscany, and I bid my birth year. Wouldn't you know, I won? Guess I was meant to go.
That was five years ago. I need to believe I can see a beautiful day, today.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Fitting in smacks of rooting oneself, and I prefer wings to roots. I don't want to fit in and be stuck. I want to leave my own trail. And connect with others who leave their own trail.
I'm especially uncomfortable fitting in to widowhood. Maybe it's the age I was when he died. 52. Maybe it's the brevity of time we had together. 23 years. Why not make this my opportunity for reinvention? Take those paths not taken while married? Create and enjoy my own bucket list before my own end? I'm here, outside coupledom, outside family life, looking in, yes, and also looking on. Outside the most substantive and fulfilling relationship I've ever known. Not living a life I thought I'd have. No male cheer leader, no live in helpmate, no seat mate. But... I have lust, for life.
That lust came back. Still, I have felt rather insubstantial without him, like a 'better half' marking time. Insubstantial unless I fit in to coupledom. Then yesterday, like a bolt of lightning, I sensed the words: I am substantive. I am substantial without him. And without another him.
Tomorrow morning I ride my bicycle 53 miles to raise funds for the local cancer center. This nearby facility provided my late husband the nuts and bolts care his distant treatment centers couldn't. I'll likely see familiar faces. I'll see a lot of determined people. I made my first ride on its behalf two years ago. It's long and it's grueling. That first time, I rode it in memory of him. This time I'm cycling for all of us. I'm riding for all of us who feel crippled and scared. I'm riding for all of us who want our strength and our lust for life. We are substantial.
Make our own trail!