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

Envied

A friend whose life was recently disrupted told me she almost envied me. The “almost” was because of how I got to this place in my life. The death of my life mate/soul mate and other family members, the years of not knowing where to go or what to do, and the need to start over are all the unenviable things that pushed me in this direction.

Her comment made me realize that if I weren’t me, I’d almost envy me too. I seem to have reached a balance in my life. No great emotional swings, just a quiet contentment punctuated by a brief sad spell now and again. I still tend to occasionally get caught in a mind trap (you know — when a disgruntlement gets stuck in your head, and it keeps going around and around and around, and doesn’t seem to be able to find its way out). And I do have small infirmities that slow me down (such as knees that don’t work as well as they once did). And sometimes I get restless from being so settled down.

But balancing all of that is . . . a place for me. Not just a room of my own, but a whole house of my own. A place to be me. A place where I get to set the rules (or to set no rules). A place I can count on being for years to come.

And not just a house, but a community.

I don’t count the cost of how I got here since it wasn’t a choice, trading a life mate for a house. It was simply that he died, and years later, I unexpectedly ended up with a house. (Oddly, the other day, I found myself wandering through the house wondering where we’d put his office and all his things, as if his living here were a possibility. But it was just an idle sort of “what if.” Not a grief thing.)

I never expected to love a house. It makes me feel good, owning this house, like wrapping a great warm blanket around my life.

So far, I feel safe inside the house, though certain neighbors make me leery, which is why I fenced the property. There is still a part of the back fence that isn’t finished since it will pass close to the as yet unremodeled garage (though the contractor is here at the moment working, and he plans to be here all next week. Yay!). I used a large board to block off the space between the fence and garage to keep people and dogs away, and someone stole the big board and left a smaller board in its place. Huh? Still mystifies me. But it does show me I was correct to have a fence installed, and once it’s completed, and the gates locked at night, I’m sure I’ll feel even safer.

So yes, though I never considered myself someone to be envied, I am envied, if only by me.

***

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.