Adjusting My World

Over the last week or so I’ve been changing things around the house a bit.  I haven’t really thrown anything away (other than that silly abs exercise machine Maggie bought from a late night TV commercial eight years ago.)  I’m mostly moving things around, adjusting, if you will, trying to settle into (or maybe just discover) my new life.

Back in October, 2008 when Maggie gave up her law office, she took over my music space upstairs.  This weekend, I took it back but with a little twist.  Instead of using my rusty, slow, decade-old PC, I’m using her nice work PC.  Logical choice but hard to execute on.  The process was filled with bumps and bruises like “Maggie was the last person to touch this” or “Maggie put this here.”  Even rearranging the icons on her computer’s desktop was a little tough.  Eventually, I got it up and running though.  Now, I’ve got my little recording studio set up again so I can play.  Instead of yet another memorial to Maggie’s memory gathering dust, it will be a happy, warm spot filled with smiles and music.

I’ve also taken over the living room.  One of the key decisions I made when things started to get really, really tough was to make personal fitness a priority.  It’s never been particularly high on my Do It list before but I am certain that it was a key decision that’s helped me cope with the un-copable.  Now, staying fit is more than a priority.  It’s a commitment.  Of course, in keeping with the ol’ Chris style of going a little overboard, I’ve started a new rather intense training regimen.  Mariah, my trainer, comes to the house three times a week and we sweat (Well, I sweat.  She orders me around, for my own good, of course.)  The best place I could think of to work out was the living room.  So I’ve pushed back the coffee table and other things to make room and voila!  A perfect workout area.

I’ve taken a few things out of her car that she won’t need anymore.  Back when she was taking oxaliplatin, a potent chemo drug, we needed gloves, lots of gloves.  Somehow they all ended up in her car (or so it seems.)  Well, now they are in the Closet Tomb with the rest of her clothes.  I’ve nearly removed all the throw-up bags that I had strategically placed all over the house and cars.  I’m still finding my surprise stashes of nausea meds.  I tried to keep key items like those within about 10 feet of us at all times.  When things like that were needed, it was typically a rather urgent need.  I guess I’ll be finding those little Easter eggs for some time.  Upset stomach, anyone?  Drop on by.

Without fanfare, I also set my status to “single” on Facebook.  Before I did it, I made sure that my alerts were set in such a way that it wasn’t going to send a notice out to the entire Facebook community.  I didn’t really need that attention.  It was hard enough to choose to do that without any comments from the peanut gallery, be they words of encouragement or otherwise.  Suffice to say, I was in a delicate state of mind.  But it’s done.  Maggie’s, however, still says “Married” but my name is no longer listed.  Makes tears come to my eyes just typing it.

Rightfully so, quite a few people have asked about the subject of my last post, Sunday Fun:  The Date.  The date went great.  She (I’ll call her Miss E) and I went out to eat at a favorite restaurant of mine and quickly dug into pretty much all the non-first date topics.  We hit the Maggie subject a shocking-quick 10 minutes after we sat down.  Amazingly, it wasn’t unpleasant.  Uncomfortable, yes, but not unpleasant.  Miss E was a gracious and empathetic listener.  I didn’t gush with details.  She asked a few questions and we moved on.  The big inhale moment of the evening came suddenly and from an unexpected direction.  While we were eating, an old friend of mine walked by.  After exchanging hugs and pleasantries, she (my old friend) asked “How’s Maggie?”  I think the whole restaurant shut down E. F. Hutton style waiting to hear my response.  That type of news is always hard to deliver but it went ok.  Of course, Miss E had a front row seat to the whole scene.  Talk about a memorable first date for her!  Yet, despite the unexpected drama, she was kind, polite, and warm.  All-in-all, the evening went great.

Since then, we’ve seen each other a few more times and I anticipate we will continue.  I’m enjoying the company and great conversation.  We’ve shared war stories and we both appreciate the opportunity to just smile, relax and have fun.

Another story worth relating is last week I told Miss E about this blog and what it entailed.  She’d find this blog eventually and it was better that she learned about it directly from me.  I also told her that I had written a little about her but only in vague terms.  (Yes, I also assured her that I would not be writing in any details about her or our time together.  That would be weird, creepy even.)  A couple days later, she told me unprompted that she hadn’t looked at the blog, despite the urge.  To her, it was more important that she get to know who I am now rather than through what had happened to Maggie and me.  Sure, one day she would go there, but for now she just wanted things to develop naturally.  I was very touched.

A good friend of mine asked me last night if I ever get terribly depressed.  Oddly, I had to think about it for a second.  But then I realized, yeah!  I do!  Every single day!  Every day there’s at least one moment when the sadness becomes overwhelming and I get angry, depressed and all that business all over again.  When those moments come, I just let it run, like a large wave crashing on the beach.  I don’t fight it and just let it go.  Then, when the water recedes, and this is key, I don’t go chasing it either.  I know from ample personal experience that it’s very easy to slip into the doldrums after the wave of emotions retreats.  With little effort, I can drum up all kinds of horrific sadness to fill my day.  But that all sucks.  Who wants to waste a day like that?  So, instead, I stand up and go do something – anything (preferably something with my hands.)  Before I know it, my smile has returned and things are like they were before that darn wave hit me.  My friend seemed very impressed with this approach as if it was novel.  Novel or not, it has been a very successful technique for me to deal with the inevitable emotional tsunamis that seem to attack unprovoked.  It keeps me smiling more often than not.

Off to go do something.

14 thoughts on “Adjusting My World

  1. Chris – I know you hear this a lot, but you are so good at describing things. Your last paragraph about dealing with the different emotions that naturally come after really hard life crap was dead on. You inspire me so much with the way you handle everything and I really do learn such amazing life lessons just from reading your thoughts. Good luck with Miss E and I hope you continue to smile everyday!

  2. Good for E! Incidently I just picked up this blog and I tried to read it but skipped all the way to this last post. I can gather what happened. But I find your last post, my first a good starting point.

  3. Here’s to adjusting and taking steps forward (even if you do find youself slipping backwards from time to time)!

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