An Eagle in a Sparrow’s Nest
That was how someone I didn’t really know until yesterday described me. As we talked, he said he sees people as images. That was the image that came to him from my persona.I love it! I was outside my AA meeting chatting with him, someone I’ve seen in the rooms but didn’t know well. I was sitting next to him during the meeting, and his infectious laugh really cheered me up after my counseling session the previous day.
I told him I feel lost right now in my life. I have no direction, no plans, no goals. It is time to surrender on trying to wrest control of where I’m going, what I’m doing, how I’m feeling. I told my therapist about the “pre-existing condition” guy who abruptly stopped contacting me. As I wrote in a reply to a comment about my last post, I have no idea what happened with him. Did he lose interest? Has his life suddenly become too complicated now that he’s involved with placing his mother with Alzheimers in an assisted living home? Wast that just an excuse to get him off the hook from having any further contact with me? What the hell is going on???
The truth is that, if my head is spinning out after going on exactly ONE actual date with this guy, this does not bode well for the future. Best to let go of this guy NOW before I get any more consumed with the “why’s.”
My therapist said that. in Buddhism, crisis and opportunity are the same words. I can either look at what is happening now in my life as a crisis or I can get excited about the opportunities ahead. Sadly, I don’t feel excited. I feel lost and in crisis.
I never thought I’d be where I am at this stage of my life. I’m without a spouse, no kids at home, and retired. I have the whole world to explore if I want and endless time on my hands in which to do it. What happens is that I become frozen in indecision, immobilized by all the choices. It’s easier to stay home and mess around on my computer or work in the garden, isolated, with thoughts swirling like mad fireflies in my brain.
I have got a homework assignment from the therapist: I am to come up with some plans for my life–what I want to do, what I don’t, what I want to give and what I want to receive. Honestly, I can’t even make plans for the next week or two weeks of my life, much less the whole damn thing.
I’m a little peeved about being asked to come up with this Game Plan. How come those who are married don’t need these assignments? They can simply assume they’ll be doing things with their loved ones, going to events, planning trips together, being involved in family activities. How come those of us who are alone must make all these huge decisions?
So I went to my meeting yesterday with the “I don’t knows.” How are you doing, Marilyn? I don’t know. What’s going on? I don’t know. Are you okay? I REALLY don’t know.
OTOH, in the old days, I had my whole life mapped out in front of me. I would go to college, pursue a career, get married, have kids, buy the house, get the dogs, and it would all work out in the All American Dream.
That was, alas, but a fantasy. My life never unfolded that way. I was divorced at age 23 with a 6 month old baby. I bought my house a few years afterwards as a single mother. The only thing that went according to plan was that I stuck to the career. In retrospect, it was the most stable part of my life. It enabled me to retire young with a pension for the rest of my life.
When at age 30 I married “The One,” the Love of My Life, with whom I was constantly in turmoil but whom I loved and will love forever, I didn’t plan on his dying of brain cancer. That was NOT supposed to happen to us.
The cancer threw everything into turmoil. I had to learn to do things around the house that HE had always done. I had to depend on myself for everything, and he depended on me for everything too. Life became dark, and I felt I died with him. After three years of caregiving full time and working full time, I sent him to live with his family in Utah temporarily to give me some relief.
During that separation, I allowed myself to do some “light dating.” Almost immediately, I met a New Man who swept me off my feet and made me feel alive again. In typical rebound fashion, I allowed myself to be overwhelmed with what I perceived as TRUE happiness. The New Guy proposed to me in a romantic setting in Peru. He had already purchased the ring to slip on my finger. Who could say no to that???
Only trouble was that I was still married to the Love of my Life, who, although he had cancer, was expected to go on living for maybe twenty or thirty years in a nearly vegetative state. Against that little voice inside me, the one who knows what is best for me, I divorced the Love of my Life and married the New Guy. Soon after that, the Love of my Life died in Utah, leaving me with shitloads of unresolved grief and guilt.
Reality set in soon thereafter with the New Guy. We tried to make it work but realized we were not really suited for one another. After the initial infatuation, reality is always a bitch. I wanted him gone. Then I wanted him back. Then I wanted him gone again.
I’d date when we split up, compare him to some of the losers I met, and figure I was making a big mistake in ending it with the New Guy. So I’d take him back again and again. Each time when he came back home, he showed up as….well…himself–the same New Guy.
The last time, I don’t know what happened, but I felt DONE. I mean really DONE. So done that the idea of having him touch me repulsed me and gave me chills of disgust. Maybe that’s what I have to do and go through to be really, really, really done.
He sent me an email today. In it, he wanted to say “thank you,” that there are no hard feelings or resentments, that he learned a lot from me during our marriage. He offered me his hand if ever anything happened where I’d need his help some day in the distant future. I sent him a reply…and then I cried.
For some reason, others see me as an “eagle,” strong and determined. But have I been sitting on the wrong nest my whole life? Soon, this eagle will have to fly from this sparrow’s nest. But where will I go?
I honestly don’t know.