Sunday, June 24, 2012

what now?

Why is freedom so hard to handle?

I sit at a favorite small table at a favorite place, No Joe’s Coffee House, sipping a favorite dark brew. It’s a picture-perfect early summer morning downtown Red Bank, NJ. I am engaged in a favorite pastime, people-watching. Most of me is calm, approaching joy. Yet something tugs at me from the depths of my soul. There is a disquieting sense of emptiness, aimlessness, an essential aloneness that goes beyond loneliness. It gnaws at me, growing, demanding attention.

I recognize this. It is not new and I dread its return.

Once again, I am faced with building a “life”, without the familiar moorings. I have tried—and failed—several times before. And I knew, as I began again on my 65th birthday, this would most likely be my last chance--my last chance to build some kind of meaningful life, with a measure of abundance and a sprinkling of joy.

I am deliberately leaving out here, the underlying financial angst that comes with facing impending old age with no resources and the real chance of homelessness at age 70. There is no doubt creating this so-called-life would be easier without the base-level concern over enough money to survive. But honesty forces me to admit; even a lottery win wouldn’t cure these ills.

Free floating anxiety is kept at bay by writings such as this and list making. I tentatively reach out to family and friends, working to fit into their active lives.

For as long as I can recall, I have marveled at the ease others seem to have with the most ordinary of life’s interactions. When not at work, I would often go for days without human conversation, not counting the occasional store clerk. I envy those my age casually busy with family and grandchildren.

With my children and lone grandchild scattered thousands of miles east and west, our contact is rare and takes extraordinary effort and expense. I remain grateful for them and happy they appear to be leading rich productive lives. No, I don’t seriously consider moving closer to either as neither one needs me hanging on the fringes of their lives.

I have long understood that the lack is in me, but I am at a loss as to what to do about it. Even years of therapy didn’t much help.

I once thought of writing a novel about a woman who spends her time traveling from one family member/friend to another, finding her fulfillment by burrowing inside the lives of others.

Too close for comfort.

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