Sunday, August 07, 2005

Living on my own again

It's been years—more than twenty five of them to be exact—since I've lived by myself. I remember fondly my life alone in a tiny little apartment in Chicago when I was in my late twenties. But ever since I was 30, E. and I have shared the same home whether it was in California, Indiana, Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Last spring while I stayed behind in Indianapolis to get the house on the market, our son was with me and it was my wife who was by herself, in Philly.

This picture of my workroom here at the cottage shows why I stayed behind. Much of the place is in this kind of state, and I want to get it ready for us to come back to next summer. When I look around I'm amazed at the progress we've made since November, but it's clear this place will get finished up another year, not this one. Funny how I underestimate the complexity of many things I take on in my life. Had I known how much work renovating this cottage was going to be, I'd have run away screaming the first time I saw it. Instead, I was dazzled by imaginging what might be. Ha.

Living alone feels strange after twenty five years. This weekend I find myself wandering around trying to figure out what to do next. Should I paint those windowframes, go to the beach, have a beer, read a book, go to the laundromat, walk the dog, cut the grass or go to Wawa and get a sandwich? Cut free of anybody else's schedule or needs, the lack of structure could be empowering. Instead I'm at loose ends.

It's also problematic because I'm living in a town where I know no one. With my only human contact being with the guy who fills my gas tank or the lady at the liquor store, I feel lost and socially derailed. I need fairly constant social stimulation, and here I am a hermit.

So I've been thinking of buying some canvasses and starting to paint again. I'm restringing my guitar for the first time in seven years. Each night I make a campfire in the firepit my son dug when he first got here. I drink several glasses of wine and stare off into the flames as if they were an engrossing television show or theatre piece. When it gets late enough I go to bed.

I'm throwing myself into my work and getting ready to travel to California at the end of the month, Boston in September, and then I'll make the trek to Illinois to reunite with my family.


At 5:19 AM, Blogger DetroitGirl said...

It sounds lovely from the perspective of one who is knee deep in family and events this week. A wedding, a reunion and a parent's visit--all coming on the end of a busy and very hot summer. Oh for a tube on the Sturgeon River...


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