Before I met my husband I lived in a fabulous condo. Alone. I loved it so so much. I decorated it with art and furniture that I loved, in colors I adored, and it had everything a single girl could ever want or need. It was a two bedroom so I had a lovely home office just for me. This is the place where I figured my sh-t out.
Because I was working 50+ hours at the time, in a job I loved, I had the luxury of being able to afford my mortgage in addition to buying the things I wanted. Shoes, clothes, eating out, renting movies, golfing, cute golf skirts, cute golf shoes, shiny golf clubs, etc. (this was also when I learned to golf). And because I lived alone I could do whatever I damn well pleased. A weekend of watching DVR and eating take-out? No problem. Working until 11pm in my home office listening to loud music? Yes! Coming home, getting into jammies, and then being convinced to get gussied up again and meeting people at the bar at midnight? Sure thing!
I could spend full weekends not talking to a single other person if I wanted to…although, that’s not entirely true, I typically ended up talking to myself but still. Or my weekends could be filled to the gills with fabulous plans that I didn’t have to run by anyone.
I spent days listening to jazz while reading books, listening to 80s metal and painting the closets, listening to 90s hip-hop and rap and painting my nails, and none of it bothered anyone. Now, to be fair, there WERE a couple incidents with the crack dealers upstairs who I’m pretty sure were also running girls out of their condo, but they were renters, and after a couple run-ins with the police it was back to a peaceful existence.
I’m not reminiscing about all of these fabulous aspects of my living alone without remembering how hard it was when all of my friends married and had children. I always knew I’d marry later, it was something I’d vowed to myself as a kid, but I started to get really BORED when my friends had husbands and babies and had to stop catering to my going out needs. I wasn’t desperate to date just anyone, but I had interest in dating someone good, and there were periods of time when that just wasn’t happening.
But the truth is that in that time I was truly HAPPY. I mean a satisfied-at peace-confident kind of HAPPY. There is just nothing like that feeling in the world.
Fast forward to today. I actually felt like sh-t today, I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning, and once I did I had this sinking heartbreaking feeling that I sometimes get on the day that the little girls go back to their other house, and I didn’t want to go to work, and when I got home from work I didn’t want to do anything but sit in bed and watch TV (like I used to when I lived alone) but the TV in our bedroom isn’t working with our dish correctly, and it’s a teensy TV and wouldn’t do the trick anyway.
My husband had a work engagement that kept him late and then he had plans to get together with some friends later tonight. We decided to meet for dinner quick between his plans and then I came back home.
And then, my friends, something crazy happened.
The puppy and I walked into the house, our teensy unglamorous house, and I was alone. I had this weird sensation of déjà vu. I thought for a second about what I should do with myself and it was like I was single again and living in my beloved condo. A house to myself, plenty to keep me occupied should I chose to BE occupied, or there’s always plenty on DVR that could keep me busy. I could drink wine, or eat treats, or even head back out for a Diet Coke should I choose.
I sat down at my laptop to spend some time online and I felt like listening to jazz. Loudly. So on it went. And as I started looking at the websites I frequent something occurred to me.
Sweet. Jesus. I am truly happy. I mean a satisfied-at peace-confident kind of HAPPY. Holy sh-t!!! The past year has been great but I haven’t felt like this in a long time. I used to leave that condo in the morning feeling like I was all kinds of awesome. And I’d come home feeling like I was even more of a rock star than I had been when I’d left in the morning. And back then I had the ability to be quiet and revel in it. Tonight it’s like I’m enjoying a reunion with myself.
For the past several years any quiet I’ve experienced has been interrupted by self inflicted noise…either listing off things I need to do or have failed to accomplish, or trying to make sense of the craziness that has surrounded us, or struggling to figure things out. But tonight I can be quiet and just BE. QUIET.
Ahem…that is…aside from the whining of the puppy.
Note to self…all that talk of slowing down and living deliberately? Unless there is some quiet time involved it just doesn’t work. And all the talk of dreaming big? Unless I’m able to be quiet and reflect and really dream, I’m not sure I can dream nearly big enough.
TODAY: What if from time to time I make a point to JUST. BE. QUIET. What if quiet time is one of the only ways to really remember who I am and what I’m about? Well…in that case…please kindly be quiet. Unless you’re John Coltrane.