This morning, a friend had to cancel a breakfast date. Initially I thought, “I can go home and get all those things done with the extra time.” But it’s been a tricky week, and I’d been looking forward to girl time. So I went on my own with my journal, and it was wonderful.
Becoming a single mother, I have discovered that I have both more, and less. I have less manpower to raise my kids (literally). I have less intimacy (zero). I have less time to read at night (if I manage to stay awake).
However today, having an artist’s date with myself and realizing how many years it had been since I was free to do something so luxurious, I recognized again the more.
I have more social life. I have been to more movies in the past eighteen months than in the past 14 years. And I have had more one on one time with friends both married and single.
I have more time to think about myself. This can be good and bad but, on balance, is better. I have time to reflect on my response to things. I have time to consider my options. I can plan knowing only me and the kids are (mostly) my parameters.
I have more responsibility. Knowing I am truly self-dependent makes it much less scary than it was. I need to find the money? I’m going to find it. I need to help the kids? I’m going to sacrifice other time to do it. It’s down to me only, which it felt like it mostly had been anyway but it’s official now – and freeing.
I have more discretionary time. This is not more free time, but being independent means I have more choices now as to how I’m going to spend the time I do have to get done the things I need to do. I am not needed by a spouse. In some ways, I’m sad. In other ways, WOW.
I can see when I’ve overloaded my plate and what I need to shift.
I can see the spaces where things/people have been taken away. Experience has shown me that those spaces are not filled by simply letting other existing things bleed into them. They just veil the space and provide the perfect environment underneath for moldy resentment to grow.
This morning I asked myself, what if I were to look at new spaces as opportunity as much as reminders of things lost? To let them sit open until I know how I want to fill them?
What if I turned my question from, “What am I going to do now?” to “What am I going to do now?” And then look for opportunity?
I am less available practically to run errands or mercy missions for others now I’m a solo parental unit. But I am now more available if someone wants to discuss something with me or go to a movie/opening/event when I don’t have my kids. I am more available emotionally and spiritually to a wider circle than I ever could have been before.
Don’t be fooled, I recognize the less of things. I weep over them. However I am sticking my pickaxe into the opportunity of today and holding on for dear life to discover what I can see now.
My plate is different, and it can be as full or as less-full as I choose it to be.
So my revelation over coffee this morning (because I took the time to have it) was that perhaps the most compelling more of my now, is the greater freedom I have to choose.