Thursday, October 20, 2011

Don't just do something --sit there!

This year has wrought a lot of changes, and some of them have been major subtractions from our family's life. I already wrote about how I was going to give Halloween a miss, and HS and I talked about Thanksgiving, well ahead of time, better that way, and what we might like to do this year.

The idea of setting a table here for two, with all the cooking and the sadly missing person was just too hard to manage, so we decided we'd be a lot happier going out for Thanksgiving. HS and I used to celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving, back when HP and I were not together, by going out, and it will be nice to revive that this year, for several reasons. And when I had the petcare business, Christmas was one of my busiest days of the entire year, not unusual to work 18 hours straight, so HS agreed very flexibly that we would declare Christmas on a day we could take the time to enjoy it.

Likewise my birthday this year will be a restaurant event, and I don't know what we will do for Christmas this year. Maybe we'll have it on a different day or something. I just feel as if it's better to have a day with no sad echoes in it, at least for this year. And I feel very good about it, interestingly. It's about creating something new, rather than just compensating for what we've lost.

Daily no-stuff is working out too. The utter peace of no television unless I put on a DVD of something I really want to see, no commercials even the polite public tv ones. Radio tuned to the classical music station, no endless, tedious highbrow political discussions. Laundry once a week instead of twice daily. No phone ringing except the rare times my cell goes. These are new subtractions that I savor. Utility bill half the size of what it was when HP's equipment and other needs required a lot of power.

A couple of long-married women friends have asked me if I am nervous alone in the house, and they're surprised that I'm not at all, never have been, even in client houses where I used to stay overnights with pets, in huge mansiony places with grounds and general remoteness. This is a new concept for them, I think, since it's one of the things people ask about right away, as I'm getting used to being single here again.

On the other hand, I've always done things alone, pretty fearlessly, from going to France at age 18, alone, to find a job in order to get my French fluent enough for the very tough degree program I was going to enter several months later. Or when I went away to work at age sixteen, for my summer vacation from school, just to get away somewhere, anywhere! I found that you always make new friends, and being alone isn't at all the same thing as being lonely. I'm looking to make new friends now, as well as nurture old ones, since at this age, friends start to disappear in the course of nature.

Anyway, these are late October thoughts!


  1. You are far too practical to be worried about being alone and I could never imagine you being lonely either.

    I like the idea of starting new traditions. Families can drag us all into the things they want us to do rather than considering what we might like to do. Enjoy planning this year's special days.

  2. I think you're on the right track to think about creating new traditions. Doing things differently is just that - different. Trying to cling to the old familiar can be just too upsetting.

  3. Doing things differently makes a lot of sense. Do you hold onto certain traditions, or do these traditions hold onto you - with a death grip? We've been celebrating important occasions differently, too, and it can be quite refreshing. If you and HS didn't live so far away, the two of you could come and help us eat up our turkey - and you wouldn't even have to help with dishes! - J in Cowtown

  4. You're on the right track. I just want to cheer you on. Clap! Clap! Clap! ...

  5. You are a lot braver than me, sounds like you had some adventures before you even reached 20! I'm 24 and the thought of going away is rather daunting. I hope I do meet new friends and come away with experiences to share! Change can be hard be I'm glad you can still find positives - but then that's the sort of sweetheart that you are. Take care, and we'll check in on each other again soon!

  6. Thanksgiving is this big, robust, "when the wind goes sweeping down the plains" kind of holiday. You never hear the words intimate and Thanksgiving Dinner in the same sentence. So I think you and HS are smart to small it down this year. Even little turkeys are pretty big. And it isn't possible to make a small amount of mashed potatoes--some part of your brain rebels during the process and despite your best intentions you end up with enough potatoes to feed a Cub Scout troop.


Thanks so much for commenting. I read all comments with care and much pleasure!