My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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I’ve said it before and should not say it again: one of the reasons for going away is so you can come home. What pleasure the most mundane things gave me today – standing upright in the bathroom, for example, as the one downstairs is made for smaller folk. This evening, cooking with my daughter in the big, bright kitchen, familiar plates, knowing where everything is … Yes, mundane. Heaven.

This morning, at the meditation session at Judy’s, she asked us to consider an issue, perhaps a problem, something preoccupying us right now, and to sit beside it for awhile. I ignored, for one moment, the grandchild-to-be and the great-grandmother in the hospital, and thought instead about my house; about the fact that it’s too big for me, so much work, so much time and energy and worry to pay for and maintain. And yet I adore it. Judy said, “Remember that thousands of people, maybe millions, all over the world, have the same concern as you.” I smiled, because I don’t think that millions of people all over the world are concerned that their house is too big. As Anna said when I told her, “That’s a first world problem. Like, oooh no! The cupholder in my SUV is too small for my grande latte! A first world problem.”

Later in the meditation, Judy asked us to conjure up an older version of ourselves and greet her. I saw myself at 75, an interesting, well-lived-in face, but what I really wanted to know was: where are you living, old Beth? Are you still in the house or in a nice easy apartment? And if you’re in an apartment, where’s all your stuff? But she didn’t let on.

As if to reinforce this point, I spent the rest of the day gardening; Scott and I spent three solid hours digging and planting, and then I continued after he’d gone. Masses of new stuff, especially impatiens filling the ragged, shady bits. Best of all, my first real vegetable garden – lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss chard, eggplant, peppers. Just a few, to start – to see if it’s in the right place, or if the raccoons get there first. My sore body is feeling every shovelful, right now.

Anna spent the afternoon with me, celebrating the return of a house that’s hers too. She’s easily tired, suffering from heartburn, always hungry – but she planted my herb box, sat in the sun, slowly made her way through a hamburger, and, mostly, cooed at her cat, who lives here. We are making plans for Monday – how things are supposed to unfold, who should be where, when.

I’ll remember our tranquil time in the garden, just the two of us plus a very big bulge and a crabby cat. Perhaps our last time alone for quite a while.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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