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Okay, I don’t know what that means.

It’s January 2nd, which is Matt’s birthday.  And January 1st would have been my wedding anniversary if Bill were still alive.  I still think of it as my wedding anniversary.

Then, a couple of days before the New Year, two good friends of mine who have been married more than most married people for at least the last thirteen years actually got formally married.   Most of us knew they were going to do it and were planning all sorts of nefarious mischief for the actual wedding, but they eloped, so we were stuck.

That was, though, good news–and in fact, most things at the moment are good news, with the exception of my mother’s oddly fluctuating medical condition, which I don’t understand and nobody is really willing to explain to me.

So the question becomes why, at this stage, I’ve become so increasingly annoyed with everything.

I’m not unhappy.  In fact, quite the contrary. 

I once said on this blog that I’d accomplished pretty much everything I’d set out to accomplish when I was young, and that’s true.  And I appreciate it.

It’s just that lately I feel like I’ve been treading water forever.

And that has resulted in some very odd things.

For one:  I’ve got the most incredible letch to watch the first three Star Wars movies in order, all in one day, just put them on in the morning and let them go.

I know, I know.  Star Wars isn’t even real science fiction.  It’s barely decent space opera.  There aren’t any ideas in it that you can trace from A to B. 

Yeah, but.  It fits my mood.  It really fits my mood.

Needless to say, said mood makes the boys absolutely overjoyed, but that’s something else.

Then there’s the situation with reading.  I usually read fairly rapidly, although less so than when I was younger.  Some of that is probably getting old, but some of that is certainly that I’m paying more attention.

So, here I am, still on Steiner’s Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky.

I’m nearly at the end, but–I’m still on it.

And a lot of the reason I’m still on it is that I’m having trouble making myself read it.

And I’m having trouble making myself read it because there’s a little drumbeat at the back of my head going:  yeah, okay, Dostoyevski on the Christian roots of man’s cosmic destiny and Tolstoy on the locating of the Kingdom of heaven on earth and–for Heaven’s sake, can’t everybody just lighten up a little?

I mean, really, do we have to think about destiny all the time?

Do we have to think about it ever?

I’ve got Toby Keith music running through my head.  I keep surfing through Realtor.com for houses in places I’ve never been, never mind thought of maybe wanting to move to before.  House feels too serious for me.   I joke about wanting to run away from home, but I wonder if it’s all that much of a joke anymore.

But here’s the thing–I don’t have a plan, and I don’t have a goal.  I’ve made several major changes over the course of my life, but I made them all deliberately. 

I always knew where I thought I was going as well as knowing what I was getting away from. 

These days I just grumble to myself to no good purpose.

Which probably means this is a transitory mood of some kind or the other. 

Some of it is simply that plans I’d made in the past didn’t work out, so places I thought I was going to be aren’t the places I’m at.

There’s a sentence for you.  It’s a good thing they don’t have grammar and syntax police.

But even the places I’d intended to be weren’t places I wanted for myself–they were plans about how to arrange my life to suit the boys, and the boys had other plans.

It’s getting serious, though, when I can’t read George Steiner.

Here’s something else–I’m sick to death of the country.

I never liked it much to begin with, but I’ve gotten to the point that it’s not only the wild turkeys I wish I could blow off the lawn. 

And yeah, I know, I’d have to have a gun–but I still don’t like guns, so that hasn’t changed.

So I’m just whiny.

But what I really, really, really want for Christmas–or Solstice, or New Year’s, or whatever–

–is something else.

Written by janeh

January 2nd, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses to 'Nutshell'

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  1. Well, it’s none of my business, but couldn’t it be a kind of change of life thing – no, not that kind! But I get the impression that your sons are, or are nearly ready to go out on their own, and that seems to mark a natural change in life for parents, whether they change their youngest kid’s room to a home office, sell the house to buy an RV or sailboat, or either take early retirement or start a new job or business, depending on what they were doing during the child-rearing years.

    All you need to do is figure out what you want to do next.

    I can sympathize with you about the country. I am not a fan of rural or small-town life. I don’t like suburbs either. I don’t know where I got this preference for living as centrally as I can manage from, but neither large lawns nor turkeys would reconcile me to country living. Why, you don’t even have public transportation! (Well, neither do I, because they’re still on strike, but I used to have it!)


    2 Jan 11 at 4:47 pm

  2. When I get that not unhappy but not happy either, itchy-foot, can’t sit still can’t do anything for more than a minute, twitchy, I’m so tired of my life I could *scream* mood I’ve come to recognize that my subconscious is working through some issues, and soon enough, will announce itself through messages in my dreams.

    Really. My subconscious and I have learned to correspond that way. I can’t say “talk” because it’s not real time, but if I start having frequent, nearly at waking time dreams, I know to sit down and think about what I’m being told. Even with the total weirdness of dreams, there will be repetitive themes, or symbols, and with a little thought, I can comprehend. Then I actually say, “I get it now” to the subconscious, and it stops sending the dreams. Unless I fail to take action and that’s what it wants, that is.

    So…have you been dreaming lately?

    It does sound to me like you’re recognizing that you’re coming to a decision point in your life, the point where the lads are soon going to be off doing their own lives, and unless you’re thrilled with the empty-nest thing, you are a person who needs a plan for The Next Thing. You clearly made a choice to live where you are for the boys while they were in school. That course of events is coming to a close. So your antsy-ness is asking, “What’s next?”

    Star Wars movies, shallow though they are, are certainly coming-of-age, transformation of life stories. With explosions. (I love explosions)

    If I were you, I’d be thinking about where I want to be in 2 to 5 years, professionally, geographically, parentally. I bet a few decisions in that direction would focus your attention wonderfully. How exciting!


    2 Jan 11 at 5:48 pm

  3. Hmmm. I often find the world annoys me out of proportion. In the short term, sleep, popcorn, chocolate and music seems to work in more or less that order. (Anything not involving blood or sharp pain, first try getting more sleep. And remember one good night’s sleep does not balance out six months of shorting oneself.)
    Long term–say the world is irritating or stupid for 30 days or longer–you may want to reconsider things. Lymaree has a point, you know: children take precedence over everything, but once they’re launched things change.
    As for plans for the kids, they have to choose their own dreams. All we can do is try to see they’re well prepared. Some Scots leader–Wallace?–led his army to a battlefield, and told them “I have broucht ye to the ring: hop if ye can.” It’s not enough. But it’s all we can do.


    2 Jan 11 at 6:34 pm

  4. Chocolate comes third? THIRD??

    I’d rate it first. Then sleep, popcorn, and bacon. Then maybe music. Of course, except for sleep, a book accompanies all the above.


    2 Jan 11 at 9:02 pm

  5. Odd, Cheryl – when I read the blog post I wasn’t thinking country as in country vs. city, but country as in USA.

    Jane, which did you mean? If the latter, don’t you have a house in Portugal or did you sell it? A fairly lengthy stay in another place might help.

    I know it would me, I’ve been cruising the real estate websites for houses in Normandy recently.


    3 Jan 11 at 11:13 am

  6. I assumed country = rural, but I may have been misled by the turkeys on the lawn and my own prejudices about the best places to live.

    Although I’d love to travel again in the unlikely event I ever again get enough free time and money, both together, I don’t think I’d ever want to permanently move somewhere else.

    (Note to youth: do as much travel as you can manage. It’s not that expensive if you hire yourself out as an exchange student or something, and you have time!)

    Then again, I’ve been lucky enough (or foolish enough, if I’d listened to some of my relatives back in the day) to live where I damn well pleased most of my life, without children or spouse to pull me elsewhere. And a LOT of people take retirement and/or the kids moving out as the opportunity to make a longed-for change in where they live.

    I knew a woman who retired to a little mountain village outside Malaga. She loved it. I did, too, although I, although far younger, was clearly less fit than she was when it came to clambering up and down the incredibly steep steps in the tall narrow stone house, or hiking for hours over mountain paiths. She eventually moved back to the UK to a flat closer to her numerous children during what by then must have been extreme old age, and I lost touch. I still have vivid memories of her first retirement home – and I love to visit places like that, but they’re not places I’d prefer to make home. And the problems of finding a reliable real estate agent, plumber, roofer etc etc in another place is just too daunting.


    3 Jan 11 at 1:19 pm

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