I’m on a plane again, probably having an emotion meltdown and not even realizing it! This time coming home from a work trip in China. Sometimes, I wonder if I will ever get tired of being on a plane or whether it gives me comfort. I’ve been traveling a lot for work and also taking a lot of personal trips. I told myself after this trip, I would take a break from traveling in March and April. That was the plan but I’m not even at the end of this trip, and I’ve already started making planning plans for another trip somewhere – anywhere. Sitting still gives me anxiety right now; I have to keep busy. I have to keep moving. Being still and at staying at home has been hard lately.
In my 20’s, I’ve always had a hard time being still. I always had to be on the move. Being content and settled would give me anxiety. I always needed change or something different to keep me interested. I guess I felt that if I was content and settled, I wasn’t growing or living life or living up to my fullest potential. Anything that resembled being “comfortable” or “settled” made me restless and gave me anxiety until I was off on a new adventure. That’s probably why the quote “Not all those who wander are lost” spoke to me. It made me feel like I was on some quest towards self-discovery instead of running away from something. But now that I’m in my 40’s, a little wiser (not by much), when I look back on that time, I realized I was searching for something. Something that was missing in my life. I didn’t know what I was looking for or what was missing, but I just knew whatever it was, I haven’t found it, so I kept wandering and wandering in hopes of finding that missing piece. I think that’s where I am now. I’ve lost my center, my north star, and I can’t seem to find my bearings. My anchor is missing, so I’m drifting aimlessly without intention and purpose through the night; looking, searching endlessly for something that is lost and missing but I don't know what it is. I feel like I’ve been wandering and wandering endlessly, turning this world upside down, over and over again, looking for something; trying to find what's missing, but I don’t know what's missing or what I'm looking for yet. But, even though I don't know what's missing or what I'm looking for, I can’t seem to stop looking for it until I find it. Whatever it is, I don’t know. Maybe it’s my sanity or my salvation. Whatever it is, I don’t know. Whatever it is, it feels so far away yet so close at the same time. Like I will never find it, but it's also staring at me in the face and I just don't know it yet. I feel like I’ve been searching and searching for a long time now, scaling mountains and valleys, turning over every rock and stone I pass, but nothing. There’s nothing (probably because I don't know what I'm looking for). I’ve found nothing but more pain and agony. More heartbreak and tears. More sorrow and loss. Each day I live, the more of myself I lose, to the point where I don’t even know who I am anymore. I’m just running to run right now. I’m just moving to move. I don’t even know if I’m running towards something or away from something, but I feel like if I stop, everything will fall apart and crumble to a million pieces around me again. And, I've just been able to start picking up some of the pieces of my life again, so I'm not ready to let what I've collected so far go yet, even if I know some of the pieces don't make sense in this new life. So, I just keep running and moving with all my luggage in the only direction I can – FORWARD.
Forward is the only direction for me. So, forward I go, whether I’m ready or not. That’s the thing about widowhood, now that I’m further along on my journey, I realize there’s never a “ready” on this journey, there’s only a “ready enough.” There are things I need to force myself to do (even if I don’t want to) and then there are things where all the force in the world would not make me budge, so I just have to let go until “ready enough” comes on its own like clearing out your closet, I guess I’m still not ready enough, so I’ve just let it go and will let it chill and marinate until “ready enough” comes along for me. I feel like I’ve been pushing myself to clear out your closet just so it would make me feel like I was somehow further along on my journey that I really am. So, I stopped fighting it and will just “let it roll” like you always like to say. I feel like when I’m ready enough, it will happen. I can’t put a schedule on it (I know, you’d think I’d learn that already! But obviously, I’m stubborn and hard-headed!!😂😬😜) I'm hoping I can slow down at some point in this sprint that I'm on right now so I can catch my breath and shed some of the excess things in my luggage that I know I don't need in this next life, but that I'm not quite ready enough to let go of yet. Well you know, this is a marathon and not a sprint, so eventually, I'll collapse from over exertion, so that's what I'm waiting for right now because there's no way in hell that I will be able to carry everything on my back and make it to the finish line in one piece (this assumes there's even a finish line on this journey)!! So, I'm just going to do what you like to do to me all the time, let me learn the hard way!! (If you're keeping score, I actually lost track but I think I'm either tied with the closet or the closet is in the lead right now!! I'm such a sore loser too...you know I'm going to want to get ahead soon!! 😂🤣😂🤣)
When I look back at our life (yeah, a very common side effect of widowhood, always looking back in the rearview mirror), I am always amazed at how two independent wandering souls who have always proclaimed they could never be tied down be so settled, comfortable, and complacent with the mundane, normalcy of everyday life. I didn’t know what I was looking for when I was in my 20’s, but it definitely wasn’t a man to be tied down to and settled with, that’s for sure. But, without even realizing it, when I met you, the search seemed to stop, I became less restless and more comfortable with being settled and complacent. I had stopped wandering and searching, I guess I had found what I was looking for, even if I didn’t realize it until now. I’m always amazed at how we were able to “tame” the wildness out of each other and the need to be free and roam for an open pasture so naturally that we never even noticed we had enclosed ourselves and settled complacently into a very mundane and normal domestic life. (I’m sorry babe, but I tamed you just as much as you tamed me!! It goes both ways!!) I can’t believe how happy and complacent two wandering and independent souls could be with being “settled.” That our happiness could be derived purely by being together. That our “greatness” lies in being loved by each other. That we brought out the best in each other by just being together. That one person could have that much impact on another. That love can be such a powerful force that you are exponentially better just by being with this person than you can ever be alone. That everything good and awesome about me was because of you. That you’re the force that’s brought out some of the best qualities I have to offer to the world.
Now that you’re gone, I’ve become acutely aware of all the traits I used to hate about myself that have started to resurface and I cannot keep at bay and my “wildness,” the constant need to be free, wander, and roam the open pasture. I feel so trapped right now in the enclosure that surrounds me that once brought me so much joy and happiness. I feel so unsettled and restless in our life. A life that is no longer mine or who I am anymore. A life I didn’t pick or chose yet is still my life. A life that is so familiar and close yet so distant and foreign. A life that took more than a decade to build but crumbled in an instant – 20 minutes to be exact. A life that I no longer derive any happiness or joy from anymore, but one that I can’t seem to walk away from either. A life I so desperately want to let go of and be emancipated from, but I can’t seem to let go and be freed from it either. I feel like I’m being pulled in both directions, and I don’t know which one will win this this emotional tug of war. I just know that it’s been really hard to live this double life, where I feel like I’m ready for something but can’t seem to do it, no matter how hard I try to will or force myself. How frustrating it is to want something that I can’t seem to reach out and grab, even when it's staring me right in the face. How desperately I want to be “better” and “okay” but also knowing there’s probably never a “better” or “okay” for me anymore. There will only be bitter sweetness for now on for me. (Well, I guess it’s a good think I like dark chocolate then, right?!)
I think a lot about what the therapist says about the “luggage” I’m supposed to pack and take with me on the next phase of my journey. There are days where I want to take everything with me and then there are other days where I want nothing – nothing at all. I’m in the phase where I want nothing – nothing at all. I don’t want anything – not even the animals at times (it’s a good thing they can’t read because Jesse will probably pee in my suitcase again. Yup, he’s been upset that I’ve been gone so much, he peed in my suitcase!! Like the suitcase is his enemy. When he sees it out, he knows!! Actually, all the animals know, not just Jesse. They all look at me like “You’re leaving us again?!” I’ve been gone so much that I don’t even put the suitcase away anymore, since I need to pack relatively soon for my next trip.) I just want to be free and untethered from this life. To start over. To begin again. To not have to feel this insurmountable pain and sadness. To not have all my joys and happiness be tainted by the fact that I will never be able to share them with you ever again. But I also know I can never start over. I can never go back to being the person before you or the person when I was with you. I just need to figure out who this person is after loving and losing you is. I hope she comes along soon because sometimes I just don’t think I can deal with being on this journey for much longer without pulling my hair out or screaming like a crazy lunatic!! Also, I hope she emerges soon because I might actually run out of space in my passport for stamps. Now I’m regretting that I didn’t get the passport with the extra pages for people who travel a lot. If only I knew I was going to be on a never-ending quest when I renewed my passport in 2017.
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.