Yesterday I wrote about Living Each Day We Are Given and how there will come a time when I am free from my current concerns. People think I should be preparing for that future, planning what I am going to do, where I am going to go, and how I am going to live. Each person has his or her own suggestion as to what form that preparation should take, such as my going back to school either to situate myself anew in the job market or to take advantage of student loans. Others think I should be researching places to live, but the truth is, I am tired of planning. I’d like to be bold without being foolish, adventuresome without being reckless, but most of all, I’d like to be spontaneous without being flighty. In other words, I’d like to stretch myself to see what I’m made of without putting myself in danger, and I can’t do that if I immediately go from one planned life to another.
Still, I am preparing for my future, though it might not seem like it. I am exercising and trying to eat right, taking yoga classes and going for long rambles in the desert. And I’m pitching ideas, trying them on for size.
I’ve always had a sense of my strengths and weaknesses, but I don’t want to take those strengths and weaknesses into consideration. I want to throw myself wide open and envision a life of endless possibilities, at least to begin with. It won’t be long before the realities slowly creep back in. I’m not elderly, but I’m not young, either. I’m not indolent, but I’m not athletic. (I’m smiling to myself as I write this. I had to rewrite the word indolent a half a dozen times because each time I inadvertently wrote insolent. I’ve never been insolent, never liked hurting people, so I have no idea where the subconscious desire for insolence came from.)
I’m not much of a daydreamer, living fantastic adventures in my head. I’ve always been too practical and pragmatic to want what is unattainable. Never been one to want much of anything, to tell the truth. Many women in my situation gave up their own dreams when they got married, and now that their husbands are dead, they are picking up those original dreams and running with them. I have no such abandoned dreams, but many things will be open to me in my new life that would have been inconceivable in the old one, and I need to allow myself to dream so I can become receptive to those possibilites.
Do I want to hop a plane and fly to Britain, with no real plans of what to do when I get there, just see what happens? Do I want to hole myself up in a garret and write incredibly wise and witty books? Do I want to enroll in classes — Tai Chi or calligraphy perhaps? Do I want to get rid of my stuff or put it into storage, and take to the roads? Do I want to . . . ?
There is a chance that I will move back to Colorado and settle down, but now that I am on my own, settling down seems too much like stagnating, and stagnation terrifies me. I don’t want to end up like one of those old woman who sits in her dark apartment, alone, with the whole bright world outside her door. And yet, and yet . . . there is the small matter of a lack of funds and the large matter of a laid-back nature more suited to a life of contemplation than a life of action.
So now I’m throwing my heart out into the world of possibilities in the hopes that someday the rest of me will follow.
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+