I’ve never lived alone before. After more than seven decades, that’s quite an admission!
Even when I was a single mother, my small son was always there to keep me busy and totally involved in his welfare.
So now, after many years of marriage, I am living on my own. I know it’s very early days yet, but I am adjusting very fast – and loving it!
Yes, I love the freedom of being able to do whatever I want, when I want, and with whom I want. I am very fortunate that I have many friends and I often meet up with one or other of them for lunch or supper. But I also have the freedom to do nothing at all, if that’s what I feel like.
When I was first widowed, I started out on a helter-skelter of activity. I am told that this is a fairly normal reaction. I moved from a life of very little activity apart from that involving hospitals, doctors and nurses, to a frenzy of cinema and theatre-going, family visits, local voluntary work, meals with friends, travel, and outings. I joined a walking group, a second choir, and the Worthing Speakers’ Club, where I hope to boost my confidence, along with my speaking and listening skills.
Five months later, the frenzy has calmed somewhat; I have left the second choir (for a number of reasons) and I am happily spending several evenings a week on my own. I watch TV, read, listen to music, or perhaps even work – in other words whatever I want to do. It’s bliss.
My rule for the future is to try to have something in my diary – however trivial it might be – every day. And if I don’t have anything in the diary, to go out and do something anyway. Yesterday I took myself for a walk along Worthing seafront for no particular reason. Today it’s raining so my expedition will most likely take me to the gym.
In the future I will consider taking on a voluntary job a couple of mornings a week – perhaps at the hospital where Bob spent so much time.
This week, I have not kept to my rule of an event in the diary every day, because I have some builders in and I kept it free to deal with them. This is another area where I have total control over my living space. My husband was always against having a patio door in our living room. I never really knew why. Perhaps he feared the disruption it would have involved. On Monday this week my friendly builders arrived and very rapidly replaced the opaque wall with brand new doors. I now have a great view to my front garden and the bird-life it attracts. It’s a wonderful enhancement to my life.
On the downside of all this freedom, I am aware of my vulnerability as a single lady of mature years. So, I’ve had a security system installed and I have home assistants (Alexas) all around the house which, should I tumble and break a leg, I could command to call my neighbour for help.
I am actually rather over-supplied with Alexas. I bought one for Bob’s birthday last year and he adored it. I thought it was pretty neat too, so I bought one for the kitchen, closely followed by another so that we could communicate between his sick room and me wherever I might be in the house. That’s how I ended up with four home assistants. But I love them all! (Believe it or not, they have individual quirks; who would believe it?)
I enter this new stage of my life with hope for the future. While I am still young and fit enough to get out and about, that’s what I plan to do. Travel is very much on the agenda and I have a lot of plans for 2020. I approach my future with an open and clear mind and with the intention of staying independent for as long as possible – free of the cancer that afflicted me eighteen months ago . That awful year is behind me now. (I shall write about my attempts to keep cancer at bay in my next post).