I Want to Go On
Lately, I have spent much time thinking about how far into my life I am. I can’t believe that it is most probably 3/4 completed–if I am lucky! I’m not ready for it all to be over that soon, but I am caught between enjoying fully what I am doing right now and finding yet another experience to round out my life. What is important––the moment or the whole? As much as I love writing all morning, reading blogs, taking photos, nudging my house into line and the serendipity of venturing out a few kilometers to see what life will present—what friends I’ll run into, what new friends I’ll make––I sometimes wonder if there are entirely new adventures farther afield that I should be investigating. Is there another perfect place to live—people and friends who will bring me closer to a part of myself I’ve never investigated before? Eight long years after Bob died—when I was ready for one more love in my life—I said that I would not look for someone like him but just be open to the amazing possibilities. Perhaps some new love would open up an unexplored side of me as he had mined my artistic side.
I tried to maintain an open mind as I was invited into the personal lives of men who urged me to explore sides of myself that I came to realize that, although titillating, I had no desire to explore. I had no interest in becoming a second wife in a love triangle or in donning a leather mask or in being humiliated sexually. I had no interest in being the “all” for any man. I flirted with the idea of accepting an invitation to take off in a boat or a road trip down to the tip of South America, but in the end, was not desperate enough to take the chance of being stranded mid-ocean in a typhoon with a inadequate captain or riding as a captive sidekick to someone who proved to be more boring than his much-labored-over profile on OKCupid.
In the end, I made a very loving cyber-friend, and repeating a pattern, it seems that this friendship is a substitute that I have convinced myself is enough. It fills in lonely hours and keeps me from yearning for that actual private touch. My bed partner is my computer—two of them if the truth be told. One downloads episodes of favorite shows to binge-watch, the other provides a place to to read and comment on blogs I follow, to post new blogs and to read comments from those who have read my blogs.
They reassure me, these readers of my private life published daily on the page. They applaud my gains in photographic prowess, ask about the adventures of Morrie, the little Scottish terrier left in the wake of a house sitter who first adopted and then abandoned him. They give advice and seek advice—friends spread out around the world who are always there. Almost all are supportive, non-combative, interesting, smart, liberal, funny and interesting writers themselves. Some are outstanding. They fill in the hours when friends go back to their husbands, dogs go into their beds to snooze—when the activity of the outer world ceases. Those hours meant to be slept through but into which I cannot surrender myself, hating to give up anymore time to sleep than is absolutely necessary.
Perhaps some part of me is always aware of the very long sleep that awaits me. It is my fear of it that pulls me out of near-sleep into a panic where I cannot breathe—like a foreknowledge of my last gasping breath. I bolt from my bed to struggle with the key to the barred grid outside my sliding glass door and screen—go outside for the air that escapes me, caught as it is within the room. That panic—that terror of no longer being––what should it drive me towards? Acceptance? The quest for a new faith? New loves? New adventures? What am I missing out on that drives me to want more life than I’ve already had? Is there some purpose, some journey, some task that would make me stop fearing the end of everything? Is there any philosophy that I could convince myself to believe in that would calm my fears of ceasing to be?
Why is it that I have convinced myself that I, of all in the universe, should continue to “be” forever? For this is what I desire. I want a long life—longer than that of my mother who died at 91 or my grandmother who died at 96. I want to go on having adventures, exciting friends of all ages, stimulating thoughts that I will continue to be able to convey to others. I do not want my life to be three-quarters over. I want to go on.