In these three years of disruption, pain and doubt, I have found myself often wishing I could just be somewhere else. Anywhere that the undeniable weight of all I”d lost would not be present, where I could just slowly walk into a different life.
And I found it, my friends. The view you see in the photo above, is the view from my new weekend home, and it is the view that will help me walk these final miles in healing my heart. The scars will remain — which is good! I want there to always be a record of how much my parents meant to me, of how hard my boyfriend and I tried to make our connection turn into a life together, of how deeply I adored my career as a magazine editor, before publishing went all sideways while I was nursing my parents in their final months.
But after feeling so dark and uninspired for a long time, I feel myself filled with new light and life. It always helps when summer ends, a miserable season in New York City, of going from air-conditioned building to air-conditioned home. I pine for trees (sorry, couldn’t resist) and air and light, but I feel suffocated by the sun and humidity. As soon as the weather broke and turned toward fall, I went to the Adirondacks with my son, I went apple-picking with my son, I went for a long drive in Garrison, NY, which will be home eventually. And I felt myself start to be able to breathe again. And I started once again to feel the whisper inside that said, “It is okay to want a life that is different than the one you have. Go and get it.”
And so I went and got it, in the form of this glorious view, this weekend escape. But it’s more than an escape, actually… it’s a welcome mat. Not a place to take me away, but a place to take me toward. It’s a home where I can gaze out the window and admit I want to be a writer when I grow up, and that I want a community around me, not just on the internet (though I do love you all dearly, truly), that I want the kinds of food I eat and the sights I see to be as close to the earth as I can possibly imagine.
If the first part of my life was mostly about grandiosity — and it was, believe me; I was a young girl Going Places, and I feel fortunate I managed to make friends despite my alarming wall of confidence — I want the second part of my life to be about humility. In the last few years, I’ve realized I feel better when I’m small, when I’m just life-size, than when I’m being buttressed up by position or status or my own high opinion of myself. (Which I say to tease myself gently.)
As I’ve turned the corner in the 40s and watched my son go from baby to boy, I see now how much I want to live my life in a way that honors it, by paying attention. And I will spend the next few weekends paying attention to how that glorious scene changes out those windows, thinking about how much of that scenery has been the same for thousand and thousands of years, and feel good knowing that I still have thousands of tomorrows in which to live a daily prayer of gratitude for the simplest things in life.