I was interviewed yesterday by a freelance writer who is writing about the Walkabout Woman phenomena.
He noticed that I was traveling without a companion, except he used the word “boyfriend.” This gave me a chuckle. I hadn’t really thought about that.
But he’s right . . . there is no partner, boyfriend, husband, soul mate or best friend with me. I am on my own.
And of course, this level of self-reliance would have been unthinkable to my younger self – so I get the question.
For better or worse, and through no special effort on my part, I have become independent and fairly competent. I am outgoing and like to meet new people, but I enjoy solitude and my own company a lot too. Part of it is that I was a single mother for years and I am used to doing everything myself. Part of it is I am enjoying the freedom of not having to put the needs of young children first.
I also like not having to compromise to accommodate another person.
I was married for 20 years and have been divorced for 10, so I know — single or in a relationship — there are pluses and minuses to both. How I am choosing to live my life is not for everybody.
My marriage was a very significant part of my life. Until recently, I slept strictly on one (my) side of the bed. At night my nature sounds machine soothed me because ocean waves sounded like another person breathing.
I don’t believe you abruptly “get over” or “heal” from these significant relationships. Rather — inch by inch — the passage of time creates a distance. Drama seems silly, memories are re-framed, bitterness fades and you give up the certainty that you were right about everything. Real peace comes from grieving the losses and honoring what you had.
I am not completely there, but I know that is where I am heading.
And as I anticipated, my walkabout has stirred up my feelings about this relationship. While spending the first leg of this journey with my family of origin, (and holding my baby grand-niece), I have had strong, but short-lived, attacks of homesickness — not for my childhood home, or the home I recently left in Ashland — but for the home I had with my husband when our children were small. They say “home is where the heart is,” and it appears there is a huge part of my heart still there.
During the summer, as I prepared for my walkabout, I purchased a painting from my friend, artist Cynthia Gott. When I saw it in her studio, I knew I had to have it. It is a Day of the Dead piece featuring a skeleton with a top hat and a flower in his heart.
I carried the painting into my house, along with the mail and some groceries, and set it all down while I did other things. Later, when I went into my bedroom, I was surprised. There at the head of the bed was the skelly painting — in what had been my Ex’s place when we were married!
The subconscious works in interesting ways!
As of now, I am sleeping almost in the center of the bed . . . but not quite.