Friday, September 9, 2011

In Good Company

I crave the solidity and comfort of routine.  I thrive on predictability, stability, and a distinct shortage of shock and surprise.  I'm that person who truly does want to know what is in the package before I unwrap it so I can know how to react to what I'll find inside.  In the time since Alix left and I stopped working full-time, my life has been terrifyingly unstructured.  First, I was traveling, then, since I got home, I've been floundering through the days, trying to establish some sort of routine to help me get by without having a meltdown every five minutes.  It feels like it took forever, but this week has been a huge turning point for me.  I have structure!  I have consistency!  I am like a happy, well-adjusted three-year-old who has consistent nap-times and clear expectations for behavior.

These days, Rupert wakes me up around 7:30 AM by rattling the front of his crate, making abundantly clear his need for a walk and some breakfast.  I shake off my lassitude, and stumble into some sweats for our morning constitutional.  After Rupert is settled into his post-breakfast nap, I catch up on the internet world while sipping some coffee and begin to resemble a human after a shower and some clothes by about 9 AM.  My day thus begun, I arrange my GRE study schedule around whatever babysitting commitments I have lined up for the day.  Twice a week, I walk the two minutes to J.'s apartment and revel in eleven-pound, ten-week-old, bread-loaf-baby goodness for a blissful eight hours.  Other days, I'll do a short, 3-4 hour babysitting stint for various families in the area, but it's never too serious or stressful (or if it is, I don't ever have to do it again, so there).  When I'm not babysitting, I'm studying for the GRE.  In an effort to forestall a quick descent into self-pitying loneliness, I often take my studying out of the house and into one of the many surrounding Starbucks or local joints.  There, I'll read, underline, write essays, and review math facts that I haven't seen in six years or more.  My aptitude for words far outstrips my knowledge of exponents or algebra, but I'm working on them all.  When I tire of studying, I'll run errands and attempt to solidify an inchoate plan for dinner.  Food is still hard; there is no gainsaying the fact that my diet is distinctly abstemious.  That said, I'm trying.  Every day, I'm trying.  It's not perfect, but it's a work in progress (like me).  In the evening, I take Rupert for a long walk in Central Park, call my mom to chat, have Skype dates with friends, listen to music, and read for fun.  I'm often too tired to continue studying past sundown - a night owl I am not.  If I start to feel lonely or lachrymose, I check the time and often, it's time to call it a night.  One last walk for Rupert, and me and my boys, we head to bed.  The window fan hums, Tucker purrs into my ear and - wonder of all wonders - I usually fall asleep.

This?  Living alone?  I'm figuring it out.  I've found that it's not always lonely, it's not always scary (though often it can be both).  Sometimes, it's the most peaceful thing in the world.  In learning to live by myself, I'm learning to live with myself.  And you know what I've found?  I make for some decent company.  Me, myself, and I - we're figuring each other out.

Who says you can't study and procrastinate at the same time?  Not me, says the girl who just learned a stack of vocab words by using them in a blog post!


Margaret said...

1. I practiced GRE vocab words last fall by writing sentences about my most annoying co-workers and customers.

2. I love what you say about living alone! Can be lonely, scary, and the most peaceful; and what it really is is ME! Can I quote you in my blog?

Cait said...

Of course you can quote me! I love critical acclaim. I like the studying idea...winning at productivity, any way it happens.