On My Own

It is 7:30 in the morning and I have been awake since the dogs roused me at 5:30.  I went out with them for an early walk, fed the horses and chickens and then I crawled back into bed. Last weekend a friend was here visiting who encouraged me to sleep in in the morning. This weekend I thought I would give it a try but now, though still tired, I have given up on that idea. Instead of sleeping I lay in bed and thought about how it feels and what it means to be on my own after raising 4 kids and being married for 30 years.  In some ways my life is so unfamiliar to me now, it is as if I woke up one morning to find myself in a foreign country. Everything is not different. I am still in the same house and look out each morning at the mountains on the other side of my canyon that have greeted me for the past 10 years. My surroundings are the same. It is the way I live my life, what I need and choose to focus on, and how I spend my time that is changing. For 30 years I have set my compass on my husband and family. I am not really sure how that happened, as I was a feminist when I got married. But it did. I could digress here into a discussion about the traditional role of women in American society but that is not really what I am interested in right now. I am interested, but I am much more interested in my future and my new internal landscape, than I am in digging around in my past. I woke up this morning once again aware that I have no one that I need to take care of but myself. I am aware that sleeping in is a gift I can give myself as is getting up early to write. My life now is full of choices. For the first time in 30 years, or perhaps my entire life, I can make the choices that I want without considering the needs of other members of my family.

I have been getting up early to write since I had my first child 27 years ago. I learned quickly that I could count on having a little bit of time just for myself in the mornings, before my family began to stir. Now however, there is no family that will wake up and no partner who might suddenly come into the house in the middle of the day and interrupt my thoughts with loud singing, or the noise of playing and wrestling with our dogs.

My life, my home, my space, is practically silent, without outside interruption, and luxuriously mine. I have loved my life and am not complaining – I know that this sounds odd – but I imagine that individuals leaving prison have a similar experience to the one that I am having now. I have been living within the confines of a routine created by the structured life of my family and suddenly I am free. I am aware for the first time in years that I have wings. I think the prisoner reentering the world comes to mind because I am aware in the midst of al of this freedom of the restrictions that still remain imprinted inside of me. I am aware of loss and loneliness. I am aware that I miss making lunches in the morning and miss the frenzy each evening around making dinner, finishing homework, taking baths and getting ready for bed.  Each one of these missing responsibilities is the source of both freedom and time, but I am also filled with longing and a sense of loss. I am reentering a world of possibilities that I was last in in my 20’s and everywhere around me everything including me has changed.

With this awareness of what is behind me and a great deal of curiosity about what lies ahead of me, I find myself at the beginning of a journey of discovery into what it means to be starting life on my own at 55.

I begin this journey aware of the long lineage of women who have written about their own journeys of self-discovery. With gratitude to every explorer who took the time to leave a detailed map of her experiences for the rest of us follow, I bow and make an offering of these words and the words to come as I begin now this journey into the meaning of living life on my own.

23 comments to On My Own

  • Jonathan Williams

    bon voyage, Marlene. fondly, John

  • Julie

    GREAT JOB! You are on your way! Congratulations on getting the blog up. I love your writing and your wonderful deep observations – all told in a personal and wonderful way! I think my brain ponders much like yours!!!! Great Marlene!!!’

  • YeeeHaaaah! Welcome aboard baby! Time to do the happy dance!

  • love this new work, path, journey that you approach with such aplomb. just so happy to be able to walk some of the way with you via this new forum for sharing. xo, billie

  • Anthea

    thank you Marlene for your deep thoughtfulness
    always helpful to me in my life
    it is so interesting to find ourselves without anyone else to feed.
    love, Anthea

  • Dear Marlene,

    I want to read anything you write! Why? It is an honor to know who you are, what is important to you, and how you put together again and then again the pieces of the puzzle of your life, your self with losses that we grieve with you but you have taken the lead in
    moving forward into holding together crushed stones, lost loves and children, and I deeply respect who you are out of your inner working, reworking, and you are beautiful.

    You are loving. Thank you, Ann Garrett

  • Lauren

    Nice-I will enjoy following you

  • Lynda

    Good for you Marlene! You have no idea how inspiring you are to so many!
    Thank you & bless you as you begin to explore this new fork in the road.

  • Hi, Marlene —

    Gilda gave me this link, and I’m so happy she did. What an amazing journey you have in front of you — acres of time, talent, and a place to live that you can make your own exclusive space. I’ll be following to watch you chart your path.

  • Valerie Wolf

    Thanks for the reflections. I am feeling a lot of similar things around the absence of children and life changes. It is good to hear your thoughts.


  • mimi

    grateful to be invited on this journey with you! the spirits are smiling.
    much love always, mimi

  • Amy Slavitt

    That collage is so spot on and really conveys what you’ve written. Women seem to have to constantly redefine themselves and their place in the world, and I, for one, like that search for definition. Congratulations.

  • Gilda

    I look forward to reading all your entries and learning from all of them. As Jonathon wrote, bon voyage.

  • Amrita

    Hi Beloved Marlene,

    Your journey is profound and it is such a blessing that you are sharing it with so many. We all are in this together and your Truths resonate with all of us. I rmemeber thinking that I had lost all my roles and ways I defined my life at sixty, only to realize that many doors were open and beckoning. This whole life is an adventure into discovery. Love and Thanks, Amrita

  • Ross Goldware

    You write so beautifully. Gilda did such a favor when she sent me the link I am eagerly looking forward to your future entries. Love, Ross

  • Nancy Perlman

    Thank you for inviting us in. There’s something about your writing which feels like it envelops, and makes me want more more more. xox Nancy

  • Penny Haberman

    Thank you so much for this, Mar. love, Aunt P

  • Feigie

    So thrilled you’ve embarked and allowed the rest of us to share, Mar.
    Loving you from Jerusalem as from everywhere, Feig

  • Hare Goldware-Sorkin

    Marlene–My dad, Ross, sent me your site. It will be a pleasure to follow your journey. Right now I will catch up with your early entries and then read the new ones as they unfold. Wishing you a journey that reveals different truths when viewed from different angles and feeds your art, like the facets of a diamond. Love, hare

    • Marlene

      hi hare
      welcome aboard! i love the image of viewing life through the facets of a diamond. It feels both sparkly and completely revealed. please feel free to forward this on to anyone else you feel might be interested. love marlene

  • Jacklyn

    I just happened upon this entry while doing some research. I cannot tell you how much I relate to this writing. I too have found myself in an unfamiliar place in my life. What at first felt like lonliness and quiet desperation is slowing evolving into a sense of freedom and much needed solitude. I have always loved to write but have never had the opportunity. The demands of life and the needs of my family took precedence for many years.
    My nest is now empty. My husband is very loving and supportive so I feel blessed to have the time and opportunity to develope my art….However it has taken me awhile to get here. It’s encouraging to know that others share in the same internal searchings and have found peace and resolution. I am slowly learning to embrace the life before me and walk it with confidence. I now realize that although I have always had a passion for writing the content of my writing would be from the experiences of my life. Much of my my life had to first be lived before it could be written. Seems funny to me how life has a way of working itself out. Good Luck… Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Marlene

      Thank you for for sharing a bit of your own story. I love your comment that your “life had to first be lived before it could be written”.
      I am grateful for your comments because they arrived right at the one year anniversary of this blog and helped me make the decision to keep writing. Good luck with your own journey and with your writing!

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