October 23rd. I’ve been in my condo a little over a year now. How well I remember a year ago leaving my cute little house and a very dysfunctional relationship to start a new chapter in my life; it’s been an interesting year, for sure.
Fall ushers in the best time of the year in Old Florida. The temperatures are cooler, I can have all the sliding doors open, turn off the a/c, maybe catch the sunrise at a more decent hour. Though I’ll miss the vibrant green vines of summer that cover like a deep snowfall, I love when the beautiful rows of muhly grass turn a vibrant shade of pink and wave in unison in the breeze. The beaches empty, the RVs caravan south, and the area preps for an increase in its population.
A lot happened this past year. I was able to spend three precious months with my mother, months I would not trade for anything. I saw two fabulous concerts; Bruce Springsteen with Drew, and Rascal Flatts with Meg; unforgettable, both. I shared the tragic loss of a nephew to suicide and, in the circle of life, met my beautiful new granddaughter Audrey. I discovered the joy of ballroom dancing and as an added benefit met some wonderful people. I lost my Sadie this past Labor Day that brought an additional heartbreak with it. My job has had its share of unmentionable challenges with the ups and downs and office drama that only a large corporation can offer. I tried online dating and met some lovely men and a few not-so-lovely ones, made a great friend, and am more hopeful than I’ve been in awhile. I survived Hurricane Matthew, and in doing so learned there are many angels walking around here on earth.
I can only imagine what’s ahead. I’m looking forward to a quick but much-needed cruise with Meg next month. I’ve started working virtually for a transcription company in the hopes of having an exit strategy when the time comes to leave Hospice. I’m eager to spend time with my mom and siblings at Reed Ranch in January, see my Oklahoma kids and grandkids again. Next spring will bring another opportunity to go to Michigan, hopefully with Meg, and see Audrey and her parents.
It has been a surprisingly good year; I have no complaints. I’m grateful for my many blessings; I’m excited about the future. I know we can’t stop time, but perhaps we can slow down a little now.
The last time I lived alone was in 1975, thanks to my friend Carol who was in charge of the resident apartments at college during the summer of that same year. And I loved it. I was never lonely, never bored. It didn’t hurt that a bunch of my guy friends lived upstairs just in case I got worried about some weird noise. I could always bang on the ceiling for help (unless, of course, the weird noise was coming from them).
Now, 40 years later, here I am, living alone and loving it. I never get lonely, and I never get bored. I have to wonder if it’s because I grew up in such a large family where there was no such thing as privacy, much less being alone in the house (save for the one time two car loads left for church, each assuming I was in the other car; but that didn’t last long enough). Perhaps had I been an only child or in a much smaller family being alone might not seem so appealing.
We had horses when I was young. And just to find somewhere quiet to read, I would go to the stable, climb on Clancy backward, lay on my tummy resting my book on his butt, and read to my heart’s content listening to him munch on hay while slowly moving around his stall. It is one of my most perfect memories.
I sort of feel like that now. I feel content.
And I look forward to sharing my little “condo of contentment” with whomever would like to visit.
One doesn’t often get the opportunity to say that, especially when it comes to issues of the heart, decisions made, choices acted upon.
I’ve read that in any relationship, it takes almost two years of being together before that rosy glow wears off and the grind of daily living begins to influence who we are as a couple. That seems like such a long time, especially when you’re together day in and day out believing you know everything there is to know about one another.
But I now believe that to be true. I would even venture to say that, depending on your lifestyle and choices, it could take even longer. Other influences to that might be the belief that one can change another person if given enough time, empathy, and rationalization.
But I now accept that the influences of our youth and our willingness and ability to either accept or change define who we are as adults.
I feel as if I’ve come full circle…almost. I’d written previously about my first love…my last love. I’ve explored the whys of our break up all those years ago only to find each other later in life to then break up again. And what I realize is that the things that broke us up in our younger days were the same things to break us up now. One cannot change another person. And unless they want to change, they are who they are. So we either learn from our mistakes or we continue to make the same ones, re-defining insanity, over and over.
Perhaps it was a rebound relationship, though that idea frustrates me because I want to think I’m smarter than that. None of us chooses wrong intentionally. But ‘this time’ I will make every attempt NOT to repeat the mistakes I’ve made. I’m determined to learn and move forward, with or without someone by my side. I’m stronger, more confident, and happier than I’ve ever been.