Where I Want to Be

A friend is on vacation, spending a week with her family in the mountains. I felt a twinge of envy when she told me, and then it dawned on me: I am where I want to be. I don’t need to go anywhere to find respite from life’s hassles or even from the heat. I have arrived at my place of respite.

It’s a nice realization to have made. For almost a decade, I didn’t want to be where I was but I had nowhere to go, no way even to decide where to go so I rented rooms and wandered, both on foot and in the car. I thought that’s what I wanted — a nomadic life — and I suppose, at the time, it’s what I needed.

And now I need something else.

If I were young, I’d probably have continued to embrace that sort of uncertainty because there is security to be found when one is comfortable with uncertainty in an uncertain world. There is still uncertainty in this new world of mine of course. There is always uncertainty, and it’s hard not to worry about being able to sustain this lifestyle. (I act as if I am financially sound, which is far from the truth.) But a person does need a place to live, and when one is on the cusp of elderliness, one needs a safe place to live.

That is what I am trying to create here — a safe place for the elder me. And, when I keep my worries where they belong — out of my head — I know I am doing the right thing.

Today’s tarot pick was probably the most apropos of the cards I’ve picked this month. I didn’t ask what I needed to know as I usually do. I just picked and, interestingly, it answered the question that concerned me yesterday about the wisdom of continuing to fix existing problems in and around the house considering that any money I spend now is money I won’t be able to live on later.

But the card, the ten of pentacles, says that everything I put my efforts into now will pay off in the future. It also says that everything will work out well in the end because I have always kept the long term in view. Other sources say this card is about seeking permanence, feeling secure as things are, creating a lasting foundation.

Although I’m not sure how much I believe in the cards, I do find comfort in finding this external assurance of my internal feelings.

At least it will help me keep the worries at bay and allow me to find enjoyment in creating a home for myself today and the self I will be tomorrow.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

5 Responses to “Where I Want to Be”

  1. Judy Galyon Says:

    The house looks great & I’m sure you could write another book or two to help you
    with whatever come along. I think I am in my secure place as well. Enjoy!

  2. Estragon Says:

    Having wandered some in my youth, and travelled some in the latter years with my late wife, I can relate to the sort of itchy feet you used to have. IMHO, those wanderings show a person that every place has its good points, and its not so good ones. Maybe the grass is greener elsewhere, but the real question is whether greener grass is what truly matters to us. After all, greener grass means more quality time with a lawnmower, which for me is up there with a trip to the dentist.

    Another word for uncertainty is luck. It’s been said that luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. You seem to have the preparation part in hand.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      For most of my life, I was generally content wherever I was with no great urge to travel, but after Jeff died, it no longer mattered where I was, His death had catapulted me out of one life but not yet into another. During the first years with my father, I’d wander for hours around the nearby desert and I dreamed of walking and continuing to walk. Just keep on. As my grief continued, that desire to be on the move became a need for adventure, for new things, new places. Part of it, I’m sure was a desire to run away from a world without Jeff, and part was that life seemed so empty without him, but for whatever reason, I’m glad I did all that wandering. It helps put things in perspective now, and helps me be satisfied with where I am.

  3. Estragon Says:

    I have to admit I still walk for the sake of walking. Not to get anywhere in particular, just to keep walking. Maybe someday I’ll also be able to sit for a bit.

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