Argh. I go through this feeling on a somewhat cyclical basis. The definition outside of the engineering or science realm reads something like this: ” a state of uncertainty about what should be done (usually following some important event) preceding the establishment of a new direction of action.” Since my widowhood it is an even more pronounced feeling when it hits because there’s no one to balance me out, to distract me, to ground me – or, to encourage me!
I’m no stranger to ups, downs and twirl-arounds. I have wild hairs, go on tears, get a burr in my saddle, etc. as regular, recurring events. Why? I don’t know. Change of pace. Challenges. Discovery of something, somewhere, new. The only time this feeling left me was when I was living in the country, with dirt to play in. Out there, there was always something new – I could try a new vegetable, or maybe a flower I’d been wanting to grow. I could go walking in the woods and take photos, discover new things that I had not seen before. Living where there were actual seasons soothed the latent gypsy inside of me. The scenery transformed and was something new even as it was the familiar. I found peace after my loss. I was happily ensconced in my little farm; healing, musing, nurturing myself through some serious melancholy. Then life happened yet again and off I had to go, leaving my little playground. When I am where I don’t want to be, this feeling hits me very hard.
In an attempt to cure this dirt deprivation, I bought dirt, seeds and plants this past weekend. I know it won’t be the same, but perhaps it will soothe me a bit nonetheless. Maybe placing the little seeds in the dirt, watching, waiting, cheering them on will distract me from this internal state of discontent. Maybe the first set of blossoms on the cherry tomatoes will cause me to be able to focus on implementing the budgetary plan that will eventually allow me the freedom to actually do whatever the hell I want to do. In my plethora of possibilities, sitting behind a desk all day working in IT is not one that comes up to the forefront of my mind. I want open spaces. I want dirt. I want to do something with meaning, even if that meaning is only visible to me initially. I want to do something that moves my body daily, that allows me fresh air and sunlight and in some way helps others – although I’ve not hit upon what that would be in totality yet. One of my ideas is to divest myself of lots of stuff, buy an RV and work around the country. I was working towards that and I still haven’t turned my back on it yet (I wrote about that here) It doesn’t really fit the ‘meaningful’ part of my thought processes though. I can’t volunteer in public parks because I’ll still need some form of income. I’ve considered farm apprenticeship – getting good, quality food to local folks. That really appeals to me and hits all of the areas I’d like to fulfill, but I often wonder if farms that need extra hands will consider me too old even though I’m in good shape. Most apprentices seem to be college-aged folks, not nifty fifties like myself. I’ve also considered house/farm sitting, or care-taking but there’s the lack of ‘meaningful’ again.
My beloved companion once told me that having too many choices, being told ‘you can do anything’ is actually a lead-in to paralysis. Excessive choice leads to confusion. Perhaps that is where I am at right now. I am free to do whatever I please; go wherever I choose; associate with whomever I desire.
Perhaps the largest component in this mixture is just that – choice. Maybe I should just close my eyes and pick something 🙂
“Everyone goes through a period of Traviamento – when we take, say, a different turn in life, the other via. Dante himself did. Some recover, some pretend to recover, some never come back, some chicken out before even starting, and some, for fear of taking any turns, find themselves leading the wrong life all life long.”
― André Aciman
Muse and wonder,