Taking Care of Yourself

This is my belated college roommate experience, the one folks swear you must complete before you can relate in harmony as an adult – just like growing up with siblings. Two weeks ago I moved from solo dwelling on a couple acres to house-sharing with two teachers.

Welcome to my suite life where things are a good deal more glorified than your average college dorm or apartment share.  For one thing, we each have our own private room and our own private bathroom.  We live with traditional proper decorum; Guys on one level, Gals on the other.

In the kitchen, we share common ground. Three bottles of olive oil are tucked into three separate corners. Three bulbs of garlic reside in respective baskets and bowls.  The fridge is stuffed with fresh produce on designated sides. We are consciously healthy-living in diverse ways.

At 7:00 a.m. we converge and diverge.

Me (bustling into kitchen):  Need oatmeal

She (groaning): Need coffee

He (chopping fresh vegetables):  Need smoothie

That is a brief and accurate description of our personalities.

And they all lived happily ever after, because each got for herself / himself  what she or he needed. 

Moving Conversations

Me:  Dear friends and family, I am moving to forward my financial future and commence my bucket list. By house sharing with a couple teachers, I can pay off my student loan faster, keep the car in repair and maybe even travel more; rather than living solo in a place I love but barely making ends meet.

Cousin one:  Great financial plan

Cousin two:  Good business thinking

Sister-In-Law: Your decision is unquestionably the right and responsible one.

Brother:  The opportunity is great.

Daughter:  Positive move.  I see you living in community.

Friend: I absolutely love how you’re taking great care of yourself.

Parents:  If you need a place to stay you could move into your old room.

Sometime later:

Me:  The way I see it, I can either pay professional movers $275 to move my piano 5 miles, or, I can buy dinner for three strong men with a truck.

Woman One:  You need to throw in a six-pack.

Woman Two:  Please don’t ask my husband to help.

Friend: I can get a male friend with a truck.

Parents (80 years old):  We will help in any way you ask us to.

Me: Thank you, Mom and Dad.  I need you to go to Chipotle at 5:00 p.m. and pick up the meal for the movers.

Parents:  Okay, we will be there at 4:30 to help you move the piano.

Cousin: I have the necessary equipment. A good piano dolly, an enclosed trailer with low floor, ramp tailgate, and good straps to secure it. . .Sorry I am 1100 miles away.

Oh, the irony.

How do you mend a broken heart?

In my dream, I was driving the ’78 Cutlass down a rockslide. (Not just any Oldsmobile, but the one I drove off the lot in November, 1978; the Cutlass Supreme with only 7,000 miles on it.   That car took me in style to the DMV at the courthouse where I paid an exorbitant fee for license tags causing the young man behind me to gasp, “what are you driving lady?”  It pulled a fully overloaded U-haul trailer all the way to Chicago, saw one child learn to drive, and hauled me to the hospital for the birth of the other two.  Patiently, the Cutlass hung in there for trips from Dallas to Colorado until the youngsters graduated from car seats to regular seatbelts. It was sad to sell it after 20 years and a rebuilt engine.)

Confident, cautious, and dependable I navigated the talus that was the rockslide.  Our ride was as smooth as a buggy trip on a cobblestone street – until we came to a drop-off.  No mere 4-wheel-drive vehicle could breach that step.  Heavy road moving equipment – maybe. One option would be to back up the rockslide.  It was then I found out the trip down had not really been as smooth as a cobblestone street.   Another solution might be a helicopter or a crane. I acknowledged my problem, turned off the engine, removed the keys, exited the car and left it there. Surely, given time, I would be able to solve the problem.

So ended the dream.

I am a morning person.  I love waking up with the sun – with a fresh perspective.  Over the past 6 months, I have experienced (again) a series of intermittent days or weeks – not every day – where I wake up depressed, a little bit blue, with that sinking feeling.  You know the one.  As I came gradually toward consciousness this morning, I could tell it was a gorgeous day.  Sunshine. Birds chirping. Gentle breeze with the scent of pinion pine, dew-kissed desert, lavender.  What could be more delicious? Then came the dread.  I longed to roll up in a ball and hide in the depths of my bed. “Emergency, emergency,” clanged my emotions,  “Rise and shine. Commence self-talk. Up by the bootstraps, now. Make yourself feel better.”

But, instead of self-talk, I listened. This is what I heard;

“You have a broken heart.”

“Aw, come on. That’s history.  My counselor pointed that out years ago.”

“Nevertheless, it is not mended yet.”

I walk.  I write.  I make music. How else can you mend a broken heart?  Really mend it, not just dull the sensation or self-medicate?

I freely admit, I still don’t know how to get that Cutlass off the rockslide – nor do I know how to mend a broken heart.  But naming the problem helps me walk forward.  Knowing precisely what I am dealing with along with forward movement frees up the thinking and problem solving mechanisms.  Remembering chance words of hope spoken by friends helps. It was the best day I’ve had in a long time.