The trash truck just left my street and the three threadbare lace baby dresses are not in it. When cleaning up my shadowbox project from my dining table, I threw them in my kitchen trashcan, but couldn't stand it and fished them out. I've put them aside along with a coat my mother made me when I was a toddler, a lace bonnet and a pair of baby shoes. I'll reach out to the museum at our local Heritage Park if we ever go back to anything resembling life in the Before Times. These fragile and old fashioned pieces are at least 70 years old, saved by my mother. I put the best little dress in my Baby Jane shadow box. I don't know if I actually wore it or if my mother just picked them up somewhere back in the day. It bothers me that I can't just toss them, so I'm being self indulgent as I move things around instead of discarding them.
Meanwhile, my loud adjacent neighbor has vanished about 10 days ago. My tiny townhome cul-de-sac is like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. There are eight units including mine and three neighbors are aggressively rude and inconsiderate, and one has major depression. Two I don't know, one couple seems nice and then there's me. I keep to myself. My adjacent neighbor and I share a carport/patio. The retaining wall separating us is about six foot tall, and does not block noise. The roof covering the carport amplifies sound, and my neighbor is of German descent, with a heavy accent. She's hard of hearing and feels free to talk loudly on her speaker phone as well as entertain her loud smoker daughter and her also hard of hearing son in law on her patio. She has a weird schedule - I heard her say she goes to bed at 6:00 p.m. She gets up at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. and bangs around in her kitchen, using her disposal or coffee grinder. My bedroom is 15 feet away. She fries fish on a electric fry pan on her side of the retaining wall. The smell goes right into my office window. She's lived here 35 years. She must not care that I'm so close. It has been wonderful for the past week or so since I noticed she was gone. I have felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. I'm a sensitive person, a noise princess and personal space aficionado. I'm also a very quiet and considerate neighbor, with the exception of disruptive home repairs. My Downton Abbey upbringing did not totally stick, but I retained basic manners and consideration for others.
My desire to move to a new place, like the lace baby dresses and lots of other collectibles, is not yet gone. I've looked for years off and on. I've worked a lot since I've lived here, which has kept me somewhat grounded, and now working is gone. I figure I have a few more years of being a homeowner before I will probably end up in assisted living. I admit that my HGTV days may be coming to an end before too many more years go by.
Other than a few cousins in Canada, my family is all gone. I'm an "elder orphan". The infatuation I had with my SoCal coastal city when I moved here seven years ago is gone. That honeymoon is over. My ambition and initiative are gone. In January I started a proposal to my volunteer supervisor at our local senior center hoping he'd create a paid position for me. I applied at the City and had an interview. I took a Grant Writing class and a course in Gerontology. That large file is not gone yet, but is pushed to the back of my office closet. That City job is gone.
My most recent client called me yesterday and asked if I'd mind if the new person he hired (#3 this year) could call me to ask for bookkeeping help. Sure, why not? I guess that gig is gone too and probably for the best. But who is going to hire me for a job I can actually still do at 71? My willingness to champion a cause is gone. I am tired of drama. My passion for volunteering and being of service to others is not quite gone, but fading fast. I'm becoming comfortably acclimated to a quiet solo life. I'm hoping not to become completely feral during this socially distanced chapter of my life. As a wise person once said to me, "There's always a part of your life missing." Gone.