August 21, 2016

Here we go again. Another cycle of reinvention. All my loved ones have flown the nest. Boo-hoo. Poor me. Even though I learned to be alone after my 2001 divorce, this time it’s different.

This time, I’m not bleeding emotional wounds from ripping apart a marriage. Instead, I’m facing typical first-world lifestyle transitions:

  • The young adult daughter, living away from home, has me empty nesting.
  • The boyfriend, relocated to a new job 627 miles away, has me in a commuting relationship.
  • My old man’s dear old dog succumbed to cancer and is no longer in the house either.

So here I sit in an empty abode, attempting a creatively zen posture, trying not to freak. I see two options:

  1. Melt away into irrelevance by living in the past.
  2. Or, explore passions that create new routines.

As you probably guessed, I’m going through Door #2. Which is why I pulled my dusty drums out of the basement and set them up in the living room. But our only interaction has been me staring and making little sketches of their silent shapes while the cats curl under them for a nap.

a collage of my drums

The drums remain in repose for one reason. Banging on them feels too loud.

More than a decade ago, these beloved percussion instruments were a post-divorce purchase. They made a statement and gave me courage. I was all about I-am-woman-hear-me-roar. While I enjoyed taking a bunch of music lessons, I never found my inner drummer.

Instead of wailing away in delirious fulfillment, I felt inadequate, intimidated — too self-conscious for the big, intuitive emotions that drummers release. The sticks made smaller and smaller sounds. Eventually, the plink plinks on the drum heads gave way to silence.

The passion had to go somewhere, though. In my case, I headed for the road most traveled of personal betterment. Gym workouts. Healthy eating. Painting and cooking classes. My addiction to self-help books has become a running family joke.

Hey, I took in as much happiness as I could. That was then. But maybe, it’s time to fully occupy my space. The mortgage on the house is paid for; no one can throw me out for playing drums badly. And why be judgy? What does “bad” drumming mean anyway?

If I don’t do this now, when? When I’m a pile of cremated ashes, waiting for my loved ones to scatter me to the wind? Is that what it will take for me to live free?

Last week, I shared a meme on my blog. My daughter saw it and rolled her eyes. She offered an alternative:

wall memes

Guess which wall meme is hers.

Every second of my life offers a multitude of options. I see this point expressed so clearly in these two memes. Sure, walls can be beautiful. But smashing walls can feel good, too. Or maybe just walk around the wall. Or turn in another direction. Or climb over it. Or preserve the wall and simply chisel an opening…

What about you? Any options waiting for you today? What will you choose and why? Unleash your fabulous energy on the day — and bring me along.  :)