Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Things to do with the second half of my life

I'm feeling bored, bored, bored by my life. This is a pattern for me; I used to move frequently, and then by the time I made new friends and got truly settled in, I'd be off to try something new and someplace new (but not too new--always an academic program and a restaurant job!). My father has told me about the AA truism, which goes something like this: "You get off the bus, and there you are." It's true; I follow me every where I go. But as it grows ever more impossible to delude even myself into thinking that if I'm sad, angry, and desperate enough my husband will come back, or that the universe will decide to take care of me with no effort on my part, I am thinking about what I want to do for ME in the next phase(s). With no time limits or commitment, here are the things I want to do:

1. Move back to SF/live in a "real" city again. I often wonder if the sheer joy of being in SF (which, for me, is tangible and genuine) could possibly offset the very real benefits of my life now: a nice, big house; a fabulous job that I love; good friends who support me and my daughter; a "community" that includes her Chinese program, ballet, and school; a lower cost of living that makes it *almost* possible for me to afford these things for her; a nice, small, easy city where the daily workings of life create minimal stress. Very few of these things would be remotely possible in an expensive city where even procuring housing--let alone finding a remotely suitable academic job--would be pretty much beyond my means.

2. Take an extended research trip. I'd like to take a semester, or summer, or whatever, and live in Boston, Philadelphia, D.C., or New York. I'd like to work in the archives and libraries during the day, and explore the city with my daughter the rest of the time. There are fellowships for this, but they don't cover child care. If we went during the year, of course, she could go to school...

3. Travel. The top of my list: Iceland, Scotland, Ireland; Macchu Picchu; Eastern Europe--especially Istanbul and the coast of the former Yugoslavia. Budapest.

4. Live/teach in China. There are exchange programs. Once I get tenure (if?) I am going to check these out in earnest; apparently, and somewhat oddly, my academic specialty is in demand in their universities.

5. Write a mystery novel. I'm considering taking an on-line course, just for the structure, practice, and feedback it would provide. And no, of course I don't have time.

6. Arrest my physical decline. I want to have a regular exercise program of swimming and yoga, at least, so I can be one of those women who feel and look better at 50 than at 35.

7. Find a second soul-mate who adores my daughter. I'd love to get married again, but even more, I'd like someone to go to movies with, to hang out with on Sunday mornings, and to travel to some of those places in number 3.

8. Live in a modernist dwelling and get RID of some of the stuff that weighs me down.

9. Volunteer.

10. Sort my photos and put together my wedding scrapbook. Finally.

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7 Comments:

At 9:36 AM , Blogger OTRgirl said...

I like your list. Hey, the idea of selling the houses and buying a condo sounds great. It makes your other goals much more attainable (since you'll have more time).

I hear you on tossing the sad plants. I feel horrible for throwing away a living thing, but when they look so pitiful, it feels much better to not look at them...

 
At 1:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on making this list! Awesome!

I by no means want to dampen things, but it seems you are being thoughtful about making changes, and I hope this will help you do that. When was the last time you were really, really in San Francisco? I recently left after a 20 year love affair. The cost of living had always been high, but so worth it. It stopped being worth it, for me, and I finally threw in the towel. All those millionaire neighbors really have changed the place. Living there was kind of like slowly boiling to death in a pot of water, and realizing it just in time. There are definitely options for you guys if you want to make changes, and SF may be a good one, and at the same time, I felt I should say that there are "facts to get all of" before hanging your hopes on your memories of the City by the Bay. I hope this was OK to say.

 
At 5:36 PM , Blogger Dorcasina said...

Anon,
I have the same fears; I left just before the $$ spike, and am not sure I can live there, really--one of the things I like about my current town is that I am more conscious of how *much* I have, instead of being eaten up by how much *more* everyone else has. I wish I were a finer, less acquisitive person, but there you have it.

Even on short visits, what strikes me about the Bay Area now is how much I miss the slightly grubby, interesting, edgy places I used to go when I was a graduate student/waitress/renter. I suspect that living there as a parent is exhausting, frustrating, and worse. So I'm pretty aware that much of my yearning for the area maps neatly onto the fact that I lived there at a time in my life when, even if things weren't perfect, it still felt as though I had all the time in the world for them to become that way.

That awareness, the sheer cost, and the reality of academic life mean it's pretty unlikely I will return unless I find an alternate source of income and hit the lottery--which I have never played.

Thanks. Where (generally) did you go?

 
At 2:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

D,
I haven't found a new home to be honest. I'm even more rootless than before I left SF, which I thought was home. Currently I'm in an even more expensive town, but I know that my stay (at a friend's house) is temporary, so it is different than trying for years to build a life somewhere in denial. I'm vaguely considering Europe and trying not to be down about the uncertainty. Please don't let my post make "very unlikely" something that might well make you happy. I just wanted to make certain that you heard the perspective that all the $$ has made a difference, at least in SF proper. My very best, A

 
At 9:58 AM , Anonymous yankeetransferred said...

Boston! You'd love it! I miss it all the time.

 
At 6:13 PM , Blogger Supa Dupa Fresh said...

I wish you would blog some more! Perhaps you are off to greener ventures that feed and fulfill you. But I love your blog, your writing, and I find it so similar to my own. (Not the writing. I'm full of rage and lack any delicacy or vocabulary, but you often have said what I so often felt.).

Write a note if you'd like to connect.

Best to you and your daughter,

Supa.dupa.fresh AT gmail.com

 
At 4:22 AM , Blogger Vishu said...

I stumbled upon your blog today and I think you have a unique writing style, but seems you've stopped writing now :(

I assume you're busy doing things on that list up there & that makes me happy :)

contact (at) vishu . net

 

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