In the yes column: I have control of my life in a way I haven’t had in more than 15 years. I do what I want, organize things to my liking, pursue my interests without having to justify my actions. It is a liberating time in my life. I have said this before … marriage is a great thing when both people are fully engaged in it, paying attention to each other’s needs and interests, are supportive of each other and build a life together without sacrificing their individuality. I didn’t have that. Now I am building a life by myself.
In the no column: I expected to accomplish all my goals at once, to instantly transform my life from the frustrating struggle of the past eighteen years into the exciting, diverse conglomeration of all my interests. Who the hell was I kidding? No matter how flexible and spontaneous a person is, certain habits and patterns develop over nearly two decades and that doesn’t change in six months.My single favorite word is balance. My life design is a balance of diverse interests and priorities. I am at the beginning of a whole new chapter in which I will be able to eventually find much of that balance. I have slowed down enough to take stock of what I have and make a specific plan to find the rest. Balance takes some prioritizing. I recognize that I can’t have it all at once, that it will take steps, generally one step at a time. I will find a balance between living in the moment and planning for the future. That strategy works for me. What’s your life strategy? Does reading about mine help you in any way? Just curious.
I have a few guiding principles that I am more able to articulate now than just a few months ago. For one, developing deep friendships is very important to me. I know a lot of people but can count only a very few as ‘good friends’. Most of my friends are women and I want to develop more friendships with men. A ‘guy’s night out’ is almost an alien concept to me, something I haven’t really done since college. Among my female friends, there are two that are closer emotionally than the others but both live hundreds of miles away. Fortunately for me, both are visiting this summer; one later this week and the other in July. One is a nearly lifelong friend and the other had been a good friend since the day we met four years ago. These friendships are very different but both are very important to me; I don’t think I could have survived the past few years without them.
Another ongoing part of my life design plan is learning. Six months ago I thought I’d do it all at the same time … Italian lessons, dance lessons, music lessons, a return to college. Reality is here now. All of those things will wait, then I will choose one to begin, just one. Probably the Italian lessons. Maybe the music lessons. I am always reading books or magazines that relate to my interests, especially history, so that pursuit is a learning situation similar to what I would get in college. My current book is about the past and present of the Space program and the next one is about Thomas Jefferson. My usual magazine fare is the Smithsonian and sometimes I read National Geographic.
Music is a huge part of my life and my plan includes taking in more live music and eventually studying music again. Funny thing is that my original plan for today was to go to a concert but I chose to stay home and handle other things instead. My balance will come during the two friend visits this summer, each involving a concert.
Writing is also on my life design list. A ‘real’ writer who sometimes visits this blog once told me I am a writer because I write this blog. I am flattered by that but I call her a real writer because she has published a few books. At some point I will learn how to make writing a part, even a small part, of my income. But that will have to wait. There are other pursuits ahead of it. One at a time. Balance.