36. Independence

As I sit here at 11:30 at night facing at least two more things on my list for today, which means another two hours at least, I can honestly say that I have never been more busy or more happy. Right now I am thrilled and content with my life both personally and professionally. Thank you Universe!

 

WORK

It’s working! I am no longer struggling with a lack of confidence and confusion. I love working with a team, this one in particular, even if it does include my ex-husband. I am perfectly willing to accept that maybe this is the role in my life he was meant to play all along. It took ten months of hard work and patience, but we are finally a viable business with paying accounts. As a group, we signed two major accounts last week, have a couple others very interested, have people talking us up, and are being invited to pitch impressive, high caliber clients. I am also pulling in a backlog of writing projects. I finish the book this month and it goes to print in September. My client says he’s very pleased with my work, which feels like a dream come true. My only complaint is that I am too busy to actually stop and appreciate what a milestone this really is for me. I’m working a lot, but at the same time I feel like I am working “smart” and therefore have balance. I readily acknowledge that a large part of why I can feel this way is because I’m not in a relationship right now and don’t have to worry about boundaries. The other night out to dinner with a group of friends, a woman asked me what I do. My friend who works for an ad agency interrupted and said, “Page is being modest, she owns her own agency.” I hadn’t thought of it like that, but technically she’s right and it felt nice to hear.

 

RELATIONSHIPS

I experimented a little with dating this month and realized that casual dating does not suit my personality, nor do I feel ready for anything else. I’m still enjoying this time, which I am referring to as my relationship sabbatical, to get to know myself and evolve in new ways that one can’t do as easily in a relationship. In my small sample of experimenting, I met one guy I found potentially intriguing, but something about him triggered intense anxiety for me—which in itself has been interesting and instructive. Was it because he comes with his own issues and that scares me, or because being attracted to someone made me feel vulnerable? I don’t know the answer, but fortunately I no longer feel compelled to have answers.

 

SPIRIT

I have begun attending a Thursday night meditation community and dharma talk at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery seven blocks up from my house. I’ve only been twice so far, but I LOVE this new addition to my life. I am also deepening my yoga practice, which I feel very committed to. I feel a little squeezed to keep up with my many friends, but I’m doing what I can and being content with that. Prioritizing work is a first for me and my choice right now. It’s not overwhelming because I know that I can change that priority whenever I want. I am also reveling in my independence. I owe John a debt of gratitude for helping to abolish my fear of life. From the little to big, I am tackling all kinds of things I would not have done before. I bought my own camping equipment and learned how to operate a Whisperlite stove—not a big deal, but they used to intimidate me. I fixed my gas range just by deciding to get in there and tinker with it like any guy would. I also dug up and repaired my sprinkler system. I am even thinking about camping alone. I bought some gorgeous fabric to recover my living room pillows on Sunday and got such a kick out of realizing that I can sew, cook, throw a party, repair a sprinkler system, clean my gutters … next thing you know, I’ll be changing my own oil and working on the car!

 

WEALTH

Next Monday I sign the documents to close on a home equity line of credit which is the last step in getting my finances in order post marriage. July 3rd, John and I met at my house, and using Nolo Press, stayed up late filling out the final paperwork necessary to complete our divorce. It felt symbolic to be finalizing my independence in time for “Independence” day. I decided that it would also be a fitting marker to begin the process of going off my anti-anxiety medication and I reduced my dose to half. The fact that I began having trouble breathing again after my dating experience made me realize that the medication doesn’t eliminate anxiety, but that it gave me the space to learn how to manage it and I feel prepared to continue doing so. Some anxiety is a natural and healthy part of life, and I now understand how to find and maintain my own balance.

 

ADDENDUM

John just emailed his schedule for the next two months because he will be traveling and working remotely. Confession: I bristled when I saw Burning Man at the end of the list. I know it was the catalyst not the root, but the thought of John going back there with his girlfriend definitely stirs up feelings that I obviously still need to process.

 

“The wise man desires nothing; he does not judge; he makes no plans; he keeps him mind open and his heart at peace.”

 

“The sage is always joyful because he accepts reality.”

 

Both quotes hang above my desk. I need to remember in this moment not to judge.