I have come to the realization – today – that I don’t owe my time or my activities to anyone. I am not responsible to anyone for anything – unless, of course, you consider the utility company, union gas and the tax man. Personally, the world is my oyster. I can travel, create art, have a bath in the middle of the day, get dressed or stay in my PJ’s anytime I feel like it. Rules are for other people – those people with other people in their lives – those with mates, siblings, kids or the like. We single gals get to have it our way, every day, all day.
For the first year of my widowhood or singlelife, I kept going as if I needed to. The dishes were done on schedule, the floor vacuumed and washed, the clothes cleaned and meals prepared – like all of those things mattered – like someone was going to notice. I even did my husband’s chores as if he were still here and would begin again to do them himself when he got over his – wait a minute – his death??!! Yes, as squirrely as that sounds, I think I was just “on hold” waiting for him to get back.
It suddenly hit me when a friend told me that he would not expect his wife to do everything that he was doing now if he died. That struck me like nothing else has since Jim’s death. I am sure that Jim would say the same thing. I realize that I am still living and working for his approval, his permission, his admiration and his respect. When I fail at something, I feel that I am disappointing him and when I succeed at something, I want to share it with him in the worst way to make him proud of me once more. That will never happen again.
I need now to turn away and look ahead more than behind. I need to recognize others in my life who really can be proud of me or disappointed in me. I, most of all, need to be proud of myself. I need to generate joy for my own existence, my own accomplishments, my own days and nights.
It’s OK to be me.
It’s OK to be good at something and pat myself on the back.
It’s OK to swear a little bit at myself when I do something stupid.
It’s OK to be happy.
It’s OK to breathe.