I find that trying to look at my first year in this city is much like trying to look at the past through a piece of glass. I don't really remember all that much.
It was right after the divorce, and I was trying to find my way to normalcy and eventually, peace. To learn to live alone and find a way to pay the bills.
I think I have learned more in the past four years than I did in the 50 years preceding it.
I have learned to be grateful for what I have. That most of what is important isn't attached to a dollar sign. And that living alone can be better than being married.
I think as we age, we come to understand that nothing is finite. Life is unpredictable.
I suppose what I'm most grateful for at this time of my life is the silence of my days.
Not the heavy full-of-contention silence of my marriage that hung over my daily life like a pall.
(Incidentally, did you know that a pall (also called mortcloth) is also the word for a cloth that covers a casket or coffin at funerals?)
Seems rather apropos.
Now I enjoy watching the antics of the birds in the trees out on my little patio. It is not the magazine-worthy yard I once had. No, I traded that for peace of mind. And it was worth it. My little rented one bedroom apartment is all that I need.
The dogs can run and play while I fill my containers with soil and plants to beautify my little space during the warmer months.
I am happy. I am content with my life.
Come spring, the white tulips should be emerging from the big containers where I layered them underneath the summer flowers.
The many herbs I've planted will fill the air with their individual scents. Mint, lemon balm, lemon verbena, sage, rosemary.
By June I will be able to sit on my couch and stare out at the lovely blooms that I've cultivated.
I will take many photos and share them with you. My little piece of heaven on earth.
Nature is my spirituality. It is my sustenance and it is the balm that soothed me when life was so unpredictable.
I think back and know that nothing in this world is worth what I left. Nothing. Not the money or the newest and finest. Or the ability to walk into a store and come out with a three hundred dollar purse.
I laugh at myself now. At the person who actually walked into a store and spent three hundred dollars for a mere purse. It was the first and only time I did that.
But it was such a waste of money. Now I carry a big tote that was ten times cheaper.
I suppose I was trying to tell myself that that was my trade-off for being so unhappy. The ability to buy things. Things. I look at it so differently now. Like night and day.
That three hundred dollar purse mocked me. While I told myself for the hundredth time: I can't keep living like this.
And now I'm not. Now I enjoy my little space and my patio with serenity and contentment.
No amount of money in the world can buy you that.