I've felt unsettled, obsolete, at risk, frazzled, stressed, uncreative, and a host of other less-than-terrific ways to feel. Life has seemed busy and more full of worry.
It used to be, "back in the day," that Joe went out a lot at night. Architects' clients for the most part tend to work for a living during the day, and have time to meet with the architect at night, after dinner, after the kids are bedded down. As our own kids grew up and moved out, I found myself with a lot of solitary evenings. Evenings that I tried to fill. My church Circle took up one night a month. I formed a hand-sewing group (a, bee, I understand, is what it is called). I joined a book group. I committed to serve on the church council. I joined a guild. My job requires one evening a month for much of the year. Many of these once-a-month activities spill into more than that.
I have a good marriage. I have a wonderful husband. I am blessed. Four and a half years ago, I nearly lost him. A little more than two years ago, the economic recession necessitated his closing his office in town and moving it into our home. The evening meetings for him have diminished. My regularly scheduled and spontaneous evenings out have not. For the past few months I have struggled with the belief that I am out too much at night. We do evening things together sometimes, but more often I am going out with girlfriends and leaving him home alone.
I have a good marriage. I have a wonderful husband. I am blessed. Pondering priorities has produced a clear policy: (a) Weekend evenings are family time, not girlfriend time. (b) One night each week out without Joe is enough, with some exceptions that are in my head. (c) Two weeknights out (one with Joe, one with friends) are enough. One Saturday per month of girlfriends-and-fabric is enough. Choices will need to be made.
All of this has been swirling around in my mind for a few weeks. What finally brought clarity was a loss to our community: A young man, a father and husband, a breadwinner and volunteer fireman, the kind of man each of us would want our son to be, was killed in a tragic accident. His twenty-nine-year-old widow no longer can make the choice to stay home with her husband. I can.