I’m beginning to get a bit nervous about discussing my impending future because the uncertainty of my life bothers people — bothers them a lot — and I don’t like putting them in such a position. Oddly, the uncertainty doesn’t really bother me all that much. In fact, I am more fearful of settling into my solitariness and stagnating than I am of uncertainty, which keeps me dreaming of impossible adventures.
(In case you’re new here, after the death of my life mate/soul mate, I came to my nonagenarian father’s house to look after him in his declining years, and now that he’s gone, this house will soon be sold, and I will have to start my life from scratch.)
I have suffered so many losses in the past few years that I feel lost myself, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I don’t want to remain the same forever, nor do I want to do the same things I’ve always done. It’s time for me to try on different lives to see what (if anything) will fit. It does feel strange, though, that my options are both limitless and limited (limitless because a world of possibilities awaits me, limited because of a lack of resources). Such extremes add to the uncertainty. How do you choose a path when thousands are open? How do you deal with the requirements of modern life when resources are few? And most especially, how do you sort through all the things you don’t want to do to find the things you do want to do?
I have no idea how to begin a life from scratch, but as one lovely woman told me today, “You do it one step at a time.” And she should know — although she’s still fairly young, she had a stroke one night and woke up blind. Talk about having to start from scratch! I’m lucky. I don’t have to start from so far down. I can start from where I am right now, with all my baggage, both welcome and unwelcome.
But even she has cautioned me to make immediate plans. To make a decision — today.
The truth is, life happens. It’s as simple as that. You take one step, then another, and all of a sudden you are somewhere you never imagined. I had no intention of ever looking after my father, no thought of taking dance classes, no dreams of dancing on stage, and yet, those things have all happened, one unwitting step at a time.
The first step toward my new life is now in progress. I’m sorting through all my possessions, weeding out the superfluous and packing the rest. I’m also sorting through my immaterial possessions, such as responsibilities I have undertaken and friendships that no longer bring joy, to see what if anything is worth taking with me into my new life and what needs to be discarded. My next step will be to wait to see what happens with my father’s house. It might take a while to sell, and if so, maybe the executors will allow me to stay here until it does. Either way — staying here a or leaving shortly — my third step would be to find a storage place and move all my stuff there. And then . . .
That’s as far as I’ve gotten. Seems a good enough plan for now. So don’t worry. I won’t starve. Won’t be on the streets. I’ll just be . . . wherever life has taken me.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.