Somewhere Else

The mighty Hudson River, close enough to feel.

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.

About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, former magazine editor (last at Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. I'm still searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after a series of very jarring losses: a divorce and house disaster that led to a book (Falling Apart In One Piece); a week after the book came out, my parents suddenly fell gravely ill, I resigned from my job (and, apparently, my career), my son went into crisis, my parents then rapidly died four weeks apart, and my boyfriend (who had moved in with me and my son just weeks before the book came out) began the painful journey of realizing we couldn't make our relationship work (that story unfolded on this blog). Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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14 Responses to Somewhere Else

  1. Three things strike me in this lovely post.

    First, it is suffused with a sort of calm, as if you are already more at home with yourself as well as the physical space in which you find yourself.

    The second is this: “It is okay to want a life that is different than the one you have. Go and get it.” I love the clarity of it, the quiet energy of it, the hopeful spirit it displays. For many, it really can be done, but it’s important for women to grab that next possibility while they still can. There are very real obstacles that can hit – any of us – and then getting that life we want may not be impossible, but the probability falls dramatically.

    I don’t say that as a downer, but rather from a place of knowing the sorts of things that can hit and make it physically or logistically impossible to chase a dream.

    That, of course, still leaves room for refurbishing the spaces, places, and faces of those dreams. For tweaking them or remaking them altogether. Finding something new that is good – and possible, even if not quite as close to the “ideal” we once imagined.

    Last, I love that you now see yourself as “small,” and you equate that with “life size.” As a small woman – small in stature (“Big” Little?) – I understand the peacefulness that comes with smallness, and the agility, the flexibility, the advantages of visibility when you want it and invisibility when you do not. Life size, I find, is just right for most of us. Life size facilitates great ventures and adventures, extraordinary journeys, and a sense of welcome and approachability for others that expands our worlds and our hearts.

    Yes. Small is life size, and life size is Big. Very Big.

    I’m so glad you are where you are, and with so far still to travel, more peacefully, and with so much wisdom to share.

  2. Lindsey says:

    Oh, Stacy … I agree with BLW that there is a palpable peace, a surpassing calm, in these words. I too want to live my life in a way that honors it, and that sentence pierces me, saying so perfectly what I, too, feel. I can’t wait to hear you tell of watching the leaves turn, in a place that is both unchanged for thousands of years and different every day. xox

  3. melody says:

    Dearest Stacy: Thank you for this beautiful post. I’m grateful for the deep breaths you’ve found…in places that minister to your soul. Yes. I’ve recently started a blog called “WhisperingSoulStreams” and a I couldn’t stop thinking about a recent post I wrote as I read your words. Its called “on being small.” If you have a moment to take a peek…..i also hope it will be a long deep breath for you. With love, Melody

  4. Rita Arens says:

    I saw your tweet and rushed over here to see that you’ve done it! You got the house! I spent the entire weekend outside and thought of you and our conversation last week. I am pulling myself through my hard time by being outside. I told G last night that I need my weekends to end with a little bit of physical exhaustion from being active outside in order to face the indoors-ness of the workweek and the anxiety I feel with the uncertainty in our lives right now.

    So when can we expect your next book? I’m guessing it will come spilling out with that view.

  5. Jen says:

    This is wonderful:
    “It is okay to want a life that is different than the one you have. Go and get it.”

  6. Robin | Farewell Stranger says:

    This is beautiful, and it makes me happy to read this.

  7. Sherry says:

    Congratulations on your beautiful new second home. And the peace and clarity that you and your son will enjoy there!

  8. Hi Stacy – I’m stopping by on the recommendation of Lindsey at A Design So Vast and I’m so glad I did. What a beautiful piece and a timely one for me. I find myself at a bit of a crossroads and literally gasped when I read this sentence: “It is okay to want a life that is different than the one you have. Go and get it.” There’s so much wisdom and power in that idea and I’m grateful to you for reminding me of its truth.

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  10. Oh, Ms. Stacy. I love that I saw you featured on Jill’s blog today (A Thousand Shades of Gray). And that it led me here.

    I have always so appreciated (from afar) who you are — and that includes the you at Modern Bride and the you at Redbook and the you who wrote “Falling Apart in One Piece” and the you as a mom. After I read from this blog, I appreciated you even more. You as a woman looking out over the edge, finding perspective on it all.

    It is so strange how our worlds intersect every once in a blue moon . It makes me feel like we’re in a club together — one that doesn’t yet have a name. But will someday. Or actually, the name of the club might be akin to the most important part of Simply Celebrate for me — celebrating in the dark.

    When I read your line, “I want to live my life in a way that honors it, by paying attention,” I nodded yes yes yes. I believe that when we give our full attention to something, we celebrate it. Even if it is something we didn’t ask for. Something not noted by Hallmark. I think giving our attention to our lives is the most important thing we can do. Our lives, after all, and the people and stories in ’em, are all that we have.

    And, yep, you’re absolutely right that it is “okay to want a life that is different than the one you have. Go and get it!” But sometimes, surprisingly, we can’t really get at that new one until we stand, feet planted firmly, in what we’ve got. I think paying very close attention — even to that which feels so quiet it is nearly silent in us — is key.

    Okay. And for what its worth, I think you *still* are a young girl Going Places. I see you going to deeper and deeper into yourself and who you are. Deeper into the life that is waiting for you. Deeper into honesty and beauty and words and landscapes. I see you going deeper into motherhood — all the new angles and shapes of it as your son grows into a young man. I see you touching more and more hearts with your words and stories — transforming us as you continue to transform your own life.

    Yep, you’re going places. And lots of us look forward to the journey with you.

    • stacy says:

      Sherry, I was just blown away by the fantastic joy of finding you again yesterday, when I was deep in Susan’s blog and nodding and weeping and totally open to the truth of this life, which is we have to take it all and live it all and carry it all, and that it’s an honor to do so. And then there you were! My guardian angel. I wrote an entire post about finding you, so be sure to go and read it! And thank you for these gorgeous and kind words. I love the idea of maybe still being the young girl Going Places. I was once told that my spirit mother was urging me to put down the plow and stop working so hard at life. Maybe when I learn to do that, I’ll find a new magic carpet and get to take you on the ride. Much love, and many hugs, my dear, dear friend. xx

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