Monday, March 29, 2010


I've got that itch for change again. A while back, I spent a whole lot of thought and energy developing alternative scenarios for my life. How much money do I really need to live? Should I downsize the house to extract some equity and reduce my monthly bills, and quit my job? Should I take a leave of absence and concentrate on personal pursuits? Move to the wine country and work in a bookstore, or take off to Paris? I finally realized that in all that what-if imagining, I was just trying to find T again. Somehow, if I just changed the right thing, the gaping hole would be filled.

This time around, the trigger for spinning future fantasies was the realization that I feel stuck. Since T's death, everything has remained exactly the same. Job, house, friends, activities ... all have remained constant. I think that in fact this is a good thing. Stability in everything else helped balance the incomprehensible change I was grappling with. But I also realize I am frightened at the prospect of it staying this way forever. I'm living a great life, but it's the wrong life. I was supposed to be married, mostly happy, making decisions and raising my daughter together with my life partner. Now, I'm just drifting, like a space ship whose main thruster was knocked out, traveling in a random direction based on the last push from the now-silent engines.

I wonder if I make some reasonably large change, like a new job or house, will my life feel more intentional? We bought this house intending to stay in it forever. We even called it our "forever house". It's too big for just me and B, though, and if I downsize to something more appropriate for the two of us, will that feel like a positive step in accepting and adapting to my new circumstances? Or will I regret letting go of this great place, the last place T lived in? (You have to disclose when selling a home if someone died in it. How much detail do you think they need? T died in our bed, of natural causes. Will that effect the demand, or sales price?)

Job-wise, I'm still waiting for my professional mojo to return. I took a class related to my field last week, and really enjoyed it, but I doubt that my motivation and interest extends to searching for, landing, and succeeding at a new job. As I said last post, Blah. The more appealing change is to take a leave, or quit. Or best yet, get laid off, with a nice severance package to extend the time I can be jobless. I know I shouldn't even joke about that, with the difficulties so many good, qualified people have finding jobs these days, so it's a measure of the depth of my blahs that it's an option in my mind. And I also know that I'm not wishing to stop work so I can be with B more. At 3 1/2, she's often a delight to spend time with, but quiting work isn't motivated by wanting to stay home with her; it's to not be required to muster up the energy and interest in what seem fundamentally useless discussions, problems, and activities. I dream about working about 20 hours a week at something very satisfying and meaningful, with plenty of time for bike rides, projects, activities with friends, and also fun with B.

I know that in reality, I'm not stuck. I'm cocooned, preparing for my metamorphosis. I'm marshaling my strength and energy so that (to mix metaphors) when the thrusters are repaired and back on line, and real, appropriately motivated change arrives and my new right life begins unfolding again, I'll be ready for it. I'm incubating, gestating, hibernating. I'll be glad when this stage is over, and I can feel like my life is moving forward again.

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