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A Living Experiment. . .in Living

August 28, 2008
6 days ago, Craig left for 6 weeks at sea. What’s a girl to do with a month and a half on the Italian Riviera? Without job or other major obligation ~beyond the cat, who is, as you may guess, a little fur sack of bones and MEH!, more demanding than most roommates and to whom I am boundlessly devoted~ it could become The Lost Weekend of epic proportions. Or just a big fat waste of time. Or, just maybe, a personal experiment of peeling away expectations, examining just what could make my life tick and flow rather than stutter and stagnate. How often, if ever, does one have such an unstructured block of time to pursue occupation only as inspired, eat whenever but only when hungry, to sleep when taken by it?

What a luxury it is to be able to put my life under a microscope for no one’s dissection but my own. And every time I do, there are artifacts, things from which all practicality has drained, and they remain as awkward souvenirs better pasted into the scrapbook of memory. It was so liberating the day I rolled up all of my linens. Understand, my mother kept a beautiful home and her linen closet might have been set with a T-square and plumb line. So, that was my template and for years I tried to keep her standard, never succeeding. When I realized she did it that way because doing so pleased her, and failing to do so certainly didn’t please me, and…. here is the best part… there are other ways to organize the sheets, I was free to leave Little Peg’s perfect linen closet in the house I grew up in, with all the other precious memories of those years. Every time I discover another one of these artifacts, be they habits or ideas, that I can set safely aside and replace with something different that works for me, it is growth. Each of us as individuals is molded throughout our lives by so many people and forces, we are constantly becoming. . . what we become requires vigilance and care.

So, it is an exciting responsibility, to know myself better and thereby have been productive during this marvelously free time. By the time Craig returns, I hope to have not only physical proof of my productivity, but also a perceptible improvement of myself. I’ve begun a list of things to do, and one of things accomplished, dated. Every day I intend to be able to add one to the latter, if only to justify the day’s passing. Honestly, it doesn’t matter how big or important the project has been, only that some mark has been left on the day, something happened.

I’m curious to see the things I do or do not do because he is not here. And why. How many expectations do I place on normal days without just cause? The things I do not do now, I should note and ask if he values them or if I’ve imagined their need to be done. And things I do now, which I must believe would make him crazy, perhaps would not.

But perhaps also, in order to live peaceably with another, what one does not mind of one’s own does give offense to the other. My dirty dishes are familiar to me; this smear is ketchup, this dish was cat food, this sludge is coffee from days gone by. But anyone else’s? I don’t know what lurks in the bottom of that big bowl of murky water! Also my shoes, I know where I’ve left them. But in the dark, were he here, they would become a hazard.

So, upon identifying the habit, the first discernment is whether one could abide it, or the lack thereof, in the other.

Ahh, good work for today. Add “philosophizing” to the Accomplished list.

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