Having not written in a long while makes it difficult to know where to begin again. I guess the best thing to do is ask myself why it is that I am sitting down to write. Something must be up. Something must be stirring. There must be a reason I've prompted myself to finally try to recognize and organize my thoughts in a way that makes sense.
Maybe it's this: My youngest son just graduated from high school and will be heading off to college in approximately sixty-two days. That could be it. I mean, that's a pretty momentous occurrence. It means I'll be an 'empty nester'. Ha! That makes me laugh. I've been an empty nester for nearly fourteen years now. Well, not really. Real empty nesters have the advantage of another viewpoint, which, while it might not be seen as an ally, it really is. I have the mirror and my own words and thoughts, and, sadly, only the mirror is really accurate.Getting to spend time with my boy kept me fine-tuned even though it was only for a few hours a week. The old adage that iron sharpens iron rings true. Our Tuesday nights at Taco Time in the second booth by the window, talking about myriad of subjects, ranging from politics to humor to how to be kind to his brother, will likely just be slid into the closet marked 'things we used to do'. And that's okay. Closets are made for storing things like that. It beats throwing them away. Maybe what's stirring is my fear and/or trepidation on what to do with this new level of aloneness.
Or maybe it's this: I got my first check in fourteen years that had a big zero under 'other deductions' (read: child support)! In the divorce decree I was entitled to pay until my last child graduated from high school. Now, while I'm not complaining, I must say that I've suddenly found myself thinking about spending money in a new way. I'm not sure I like that. I have the possibility of retiring in a little more than two years and this money could make it so that I could erase the word 'possibility' and put in it's place 'probability' if I do it right. But what does right look like? There are some strange ironies in it all. Now that I can afford new furniture, the people I would have done it for (my kids) won't be around to enjoy it. All the house-fixings that were back burner can be front burner now. But what for? I know, I know, for me. I'm not big on spending money on me. I grew up in a family that was austere before the world ever heard of the word. I'm not cheap, I'm frugal. And a couple of my brothers would laugh openly if they heard me say that because compared to them I'm wasteful. My point is this: I'm not going to spend more money just because I can. I want to be smart and responsible with it. I realize that its a nice problem to have, but it is, nonetheless, a problem.
Or perhaps it's this: My friends all know because they've heard me say, "I'll start dating more when the kids are all gone". My friends are good people, but it seems like they're chomping at the bit to set me up with a friend of a friend of a friend. I know they mean well, but I'm not a fan of being set up. I have eyes of my own, and they work just fine. I know a pretty girl when I see one. (If you're a woman and reading this remember that it's very attractive that you be yourself--not what you think we want--authenticity is an aspect of beauty that is not discounted. You needn't be 'all that', you only need to be YOU.) What's pretty to me might not be pretty to another. I think that's understood. What's not understood, at least by those doing the setting up, is that when you set two people up it's as if you've set up a judge and jury box and the participants are on the clock. I would love it if after being set up on a date as such, the person doing the setting up would simply ask, "did you meet?" and not ask for a verdict. Why is that not enough? What if I thought she was adorable but couldn't get past the fact that her name was Hazel and it always made me laugh when I thought of a TV show in the 60's. What if I thought she was sweet and kind and smart and I might call her again...sometime. Then what? Why can't the set-up be considered like any other gift? You give it in the hope that it is something the person wanted, needed or at least enjoyed for a moment.
Having not written in a long while makes it difficult to know where to begin, but it still seems obvious where to end. And this was that.