Posts Tagged ‘organizing’

Alone at last

April 7, 2010

An e-mail this morning from a friend who said she enjoys following my blog sent me immediately to this site for a new post. Can’t imagine why I don’t do this a little more often, and hey, maybe I will now that I have no one to talk to. Cyberspace makes such a convenient substitute.

Yes, I’m living alone. For the first time in my life.

When I landed in the West Palm airport after driving to Cleveland to accompany my roommate to her new home and life, I was pretty despondent. I didn’t ask anyone to meet me inside, and that was a mistake. I felt so completely solo walking down the long, wide halls, watching all the reunions of passengers around me.

Then, for some reason, it occurred to me that it no longer made sense for my former roommate to be the ICE (or In Case of Emergency) number on my cell phone. Which she has been for years and years. The thought of removing her from that category and facing the chore of figuring out who the heck my ICE would now be did me in. I teared up, realizing how close we had become and how much we relied on each other. I was definitely dragging.

But a girlfriend from the newspaper pulled up out front a while later to run me home and we had a great visit catching up on folks I miss from the old Palm Beach Post gang, and I started to feel normal.

And honestly, it hasn’t been bad since. I do feel a giant void because I no longer know everything my roomie is up to and involved with, but we’re staying in close touch to ease those pangs. She sends me photos of unpacking and I send her pictures of the sunrise on Flagler Drive, where I live now.

But otherwise, I’m adjusting. I got home on a Monday, and though I ran a few errands and talked to sales clerks, I didn’t have any social engagements until dinner with friends on Saturday night. That’s a lot of alone time right up front. I did half a dozen phone interviews for the book however, which provided excellent therapy for my extroverted self.

The women I’ve spoken with are fascinating, forthright and funny. Getting them to talk openly about sexual desire isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. It seems we’re all hungry to pull aside the curtains and learn a little more about what makes us tick and why desire is such an ephemeral thing. I wish I could meet them all in person, they sound like such fun people on the phone, but the number of interviews this book is going to require makes that impossible.

I’m not working very fast yet. I admit that. I assume it’ll go faster when I don’t have the distraction of trying to arrange all my stuff. Speaking of my stuff, WHY am I so absorbed by it? Working a full-time job left little time for obsessions, but now I’ve happily become camp counselor to all my belongings. Music? Over here. Family letters? Here with birthday cards and the like. Photos and photo albums line up over there. Tools? Hmmm. Let’s find you guys a box that will hold the entire gang and a shelf.

Honestly, it’s The. Most. Fun. Which is not to say that as I putter around in search of the ideal locale for, say, my sports equipment or perhaps my  jigsaw puzzles, that I’m unaware of the fact that I am contributing nothing, nothing to the planet. I’m taking up space, filling the dumpster with my castoffs and adding nothing to the social and political conversation of America.

So why am I so content? Maybe it’s just a phase, but I am deeply happy. I feel profoundly grateful for the chance to direct my own activities, to be free of the 9-5 workday for now. I’m shocked at how little work I have to do before my Camp Counselor is wanting me to take a break and tackle another home project. (Gotta get some pictures on these walls sooner or later, but they’re concrete and I’m a bit intimidated!)

This is a one-bedroom place and I’m probably three-quarters of the way through organizing, so I know the puttering will wind down pretty soon. But it’s been an amazingly contented week for me, realizing I like being my own company, that it’s OK (if perhaps not admirable) to be connected to my belongings, that it’s permissible to savor this amazing freedom.

After a lifetime of sharing dorm rooms, apartments, houses and land, I’m ready to fully experience the privilege of getting settled comfortably in this precious, solitary space.


A dangerous precedent

November 28, 2009

It’s almost 5 pm and I’m still in my pajamas. I’m not exactly sure how it happened and yes, I do realize how pathetic it sounds. Less than a week after my official retirement and another week away from diving into book writing and I can’t even be bothered to change into actual clothes to face the day.

I yearn to point out that it’s a lazy Saturday, but honestly, can there be any excuse? I think not.

After several marathon packing expeditions, I finally cleared out the last of my belongings from my office yesterday — so today has been all about rearranging it here at the house and figuring out what stays in boxes and what comes out to use. Cleaning out my office was like an archeological dig — with layer after layer revealing itself. And it’s almost as bad here at the house. Just not enough room. Which leads me into psychological questionings about how much these physical reminders matter (very little) and how much stress I’ll incur trying to hang onto them.

Even so, it’s hard to throw stuff out. There’s the going-away page they did for me in Austin which featured my big dog Jeb or the Texas flag all my pals signed. Not to mention the collected stories, notes and knick knacks I’ve picked up during my 7 years here in West Palm Beach. What percentage is worth hanging on to . . .  and what belongs in the trash?

This question and others like it have consumed my day — and apparently rendered me unable to trade pajamas for street clothes. I’m staying in tonight, so even now I really don’t have a pressing reason to change.

So now I’m trying to remember the last time I spent a whole day in my pajamas, when I wasn’t sick I mean.

Come to think of it, I believe there have been a few pajama-clad Saturdays here and there, where I was left to my own devices and ended up puttering around the house, organizing a draw or closet, doing a small craft project or just writing letters. Days when I just kept discovering that the thing I wanted to do next didn’t require me to change clothes. Perhaps my pajama penchant isn’t the towering symbol of sloth I feared.

Nevertheless, confessing my attire to blogland has at last galvanized me into action. The second I post this, I’m dressing for the day.

Really. I promise.