I keep thinking there is something else I am supposed to know, some clue that will unlock everything and set me free. Instead of just saying, “this is what it is,” I search for some elusive thing that will finally be “the ultimate thing.” But so far, there has never been any ultimate thing. My life is consistent, predictable and stable. I always have a place to live, enough to eat and good health. There is very little drama and no real excitement.
Last night as I was watching a detective show on televison I thought, “Police work is really boring.” The only exciting part is the idea that some elusive clue will reveal the killer. While I used to find this somewhat entertaining, I now feel let down at the end when the killer is identified.
I read somewhere that women who lose weight don’t feel any different afterwards. Once the initial high of meeting a goal is met, the excitement fades and life goes on. Last week I went out and looked at cars. I saw a few I liked and thought about buying one but I knew that after I bought it, there would just be a different car sitting in my carport. What appeals to me more than having a car, is the idea of looking for one. I like the anticipation, the mystery, the “time in-between.”
When anyone turns on a television show or starts a movie, there is this “time in-between” the beginning and the end. We know something is going to happen but we don’t know what. This same thing happens with a new relationship. Everyone who falls in love is overwhelmed by the idea that all kinds of exciting and wonderful things are going to happen because some person has magically come into their life.
It seems to me that the really fun and interesting part of life is waiting for “the thing” to happen. But once it happens, it’s over. Then you have to wait for some other thing. This is the essence of sporting events, a game begins and there is excitement about A or B winning. After A or B wins, the excitement fades until the next game begins. The Olympics are a huge draw because of the rapidity of the games, one happens right after another.
After selling my previous home, there was an in-between period. I assumed I would buy another home but I dragged this out for a year. I could have bought a new home right away, (and would have saved money if I had) but I didn’t want the in-between period to end. I enjoyed the mystery and anticipation of not knowing what I was going to do next.
I am beginning to see that despite years of “moving on” I end up in the same place. Yet the idea of moving on is still irresistibly compelling. I play an endless game of musical chairs, which is a very silly game because the end is always the same, one simply ends up in a chair.
The older I get, the more I understand that at the end I am going to die. No matter what I do from now until my death, I am still going to die. If the end is just a void, a huge leap into nothingness, then what is all the fuss about? A line from a Bob Dylan song pops into my head, “Everything arises, everything disappears.” I have spent my life waiting, and it is in the waiting that I feel most fully alive.
A week ago, I took a long train trip. On the way home, I was feeling antsy and suddenly thought, “Why do I want this train trip to end? When it does, I will be home and waiting for something else to happen.”
When I was young, my parents moved every year. I was pulled out of schools, neighborhoods, familiarity. And as an adult, I continued this pattern. When I wasn’t moving physically, I was changing jobs or ending one relationship and starting another. I never knew what my parents were looking for, or what drove them to keep moving. They probably didn’t know either.
At the thrift store I found an old book called Gift from the Sea, written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The first sentence of the book is, “I began these pages for myself, in order to think out my own particular pattern of living, my own individual balance of life, work and human relationships.” She goes on to say, “As far as the search for solitude is concerned, we live in a negative atmosphere as inevitable, as all-pervasive, and a enervating as high humidity on an August afternoon. The world today does not understand the need to be alone.”
This book was published in 1955, two years after I was born. During my 63 years, no one told me it was ok to be alone. Maybe this is the “ultimate thing” I am looking for. It is only my aloneness that I understand, that I feel comfortable living in, that sustains me again and again. It is the rock of solitude that I return to after all the “in-between periods” arise and pass away. This peaceful place, serene and full, is where “I” most fully am. And no matter where I move, or what I do, it faithfully waits for me to come home.
As I sink deeper into solititude, I know the only thing that will happen is that I am going to be me. I was born me, and I will die me. I begin and end at the same place, a place that never changes, a place that is inviolate and sacred.
You will remind me that woman must be still as the axis of a wheel in the midst of her activities; that she must be the pioneer in achieving this stillness, not only for her own salvation, but for the salvation of family life, of society, perhaps even of our civilization. ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh