She cleaned with a vengeance, no doubt from all the pain she held inside. A full week after she moved out, thoughts of our troubled terminated housekeeper still fill my head, as I adjust to once again taking care of Dad and the house alone. I still feel traumatized by her angry vindictive behavior the week following my giving her notice. It was uber scary to have that kind of drama with a stranger who had a key to our home. Not like a family member or a teenager, where I could just say “that Debra, what a temper”. I’m gradually cleaning up her room, getting rid of the smell of smoke and cheap perfume. I feel I need to burn sage or have a cleansing ceremony before I make that room my office again. I feel disappointed and yet relieved in a way that the whole idea of a live in homemaker has proved to be so much more headache (literally and figuratively) than it has been worth. “Good help is hard to find” brings to mind thoughts of my earlier life’s quest for lasting love. Is finding a life partner or household help just a matter of lowering my standards or is this just my time to become more adept at being alone?
Alone seems to be the underlying theme lately. This Christmas I was both the dropper and “the droppee” of bags of holiday greetings left on doorsteps. My life and many of my friends’ lives seem to be so full of obligations that we can’t find much face time. My eternal busyness is productive in some ways, yet chaotic and unsettling from a goal-achieving standpoint. We have a nice, well-kept home, which is today still clean and decorated from Christmas. Dad is doing excellent, considering his age. Laundry is done, the refrig is full of tasty leftovers, and there is toilet paper if we sit down on the throne. But my writing, my meditating, my reading, my exercise all seem to be last on my list, or just plain forgotten. Most every day I feel frustrated and in need of escape, which I typically find through the Internet, my evening glass of Chardonnay, and my current obsession with the 24 TV series on DVD. I’m busy all the time, but feel like I’m doing nothing of value. So drilling down, I ask myself how can I not feel so frustrated with my life, just as it is?
Even when Debra was here, and I had some precious “out of the house” time, I felt often disconnected with my prior life - to my former church, groups, many of my friends, my interests. These past four years, my life has changed in such a major way, the whole foundation has shifted. I’m the same person in some ways, but from my outlook at this moment, it seems that I’m not the same person. I’m a new person who I don’t actually know too well. I’m a person who is very productive as a caregiver and homemaker, but as a baby boomer who has always worked, these are sidelines not a whole life. I’m left with a huge question mark when I ask myself what has happened to my actual life that I had before? I just turned 56 last week. This paradigm shift in my life is a bit unwelcome - I’m not retired, yet I’m not working either. So what exactly am I doing?
Someone recommended Still Here by Ram Dass to me last year. I was struck by the process that such a spiritual man went through when he had to reconstruct his life after a massive crippling stroke. His story comes to my mind often. My life adjustments are miniscule and largely voluntary compared to an experience like his.
I’ve just set up a personal schedule for myself in my Microsoft Outlook (how apropos the name for that application is) of writing, meditating and exercising. Going with the flow, I set the schedule around my actual life. Considering it is “New Years’ Resolution” season, I am trying to keep a healthy grip on reality here, and not over commit and just end up more frustrated. I’ll end here since my writing, journaling and MasterMind time for today is now over. I’m moving peacefully to my next task, which imagine that, is housework.