Building a new nest. Or a happier bird.

Empty nest
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 [EDITOR’S NOTE: Changed the headline from “better bird” to “happier bird.” That fits better.]

I’m contemplating my new life, now that both my children are out of the house. I don’t want to spend the rest of it playing with my phone while stretched out on the sofa while my husband is stretched out nearby with his Nook. (Solitary lazing has its place, but I do too much of it.)

I’m not sure what role my husband has in my life now. He looks at me for direction, as if he doesn’t know by his own assessment whether our relationship is stormy or lackluster or just dead. I feel resistant to being the “I think I can, I think I can” engine that pulls our marriage up the hill anymore. I want to just pull me, and he can come along with me if he wants.

All I know to do is to set new goals. I feel aimless when I don’t have some sort of target. The same old goals are the only ones that come to mind, though. I think that recurrent depression in recent years has dulled my senses. Maybe I just need to find new goals that are beautiful and that sharpen my senses and my appreciation for being alive. So I’m brainstorming here:

  • Cooking new recipes with highly aromatic spices. Citrus. Ginger. Basil. Mmmmmmm … I need more good fresh smells in my life.
  • Taking some sort of class that gets me moving. Maybe dancing. There’s a great studio in the city where I work, and they teach ballroom and many other styles. My husband purely dreads the idea of getting out on the dance floor, but that doesn’t mean I have to avoid it.
  • Learning a new skill. I keep threatening to learn guitar, although I worry that the arthritis in my hands will hamper me. (The truth is, it’s just the worry that is hampering me right now.)
  • Learn a new discipline that makes the rest of my life better. There are a lot to choose from here, but I don’t want to go through the stress of dieting, the drudge of upping my housecleaning game, or leaping into an exercise program, at least not yet. I think my first new discipline will be setting a regular sleep rhythm. I’ve let the demands of my job and my tightly wound nerves keep me up late and wake me up early for far too long. I should cut out my afternoon naps and just go to bed around 10 p.m. I get up everyday around 5:30 a.m. I’d shoot for going to bed even earlier, but I know myself too well. Maybe I’ll rush my mornings a bit more and sleep til 6.

I think I have lived my life too long with an eye on other people’s happiness, interspersed with things that briefly interest me, like the things for me are consolation prizes for the weariness I otherwise feel. It’s hard to find the balance between giving and getting, and I’m not steady yet. It’s hard to choose what I want when I’ve had the goals of togetherness and shared time with my husband for so long. I need to be me and hope that either he follows or that I see my path more clearly.



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