Needs Updating

You know how you get those notices that it's time to download an update to your computer software? Sometimes I wish there was a way to update my psyche.

On Sunday evening, I was coming back from the grocery store (because you know how much I love the grocery store. I thought I'd go on the last night of Winter Break before school started the next day. That seemed like a really good idea. Ack --words cannot describe the agony.) and the sky was as dark as my black mood.

For my birthday, my husband had given me the new Indigo Girls CD called, "Retrospective" which is sort of a greatest hits collection but has two new songs on it. One of them, "Leaving," came on as I was driving home. (It's too new for a YouTube clip, I think, but you can listen to a clip from it here.)

But do you ever wonder through and through who's that person standing next to you
And after all the nights apart is there a home for a traveling heart
But if I weren't leaving you I don't know what I'd do
But the more I go the less I know will the fire still burn on my return
To keep the path lit on the only road I know
Honey, all I know to do is go

Anyway, I was sitting at a traffic light and thinking dark thoughts and thinking how "all I know is go" and I started to laugh.

Because here's the thing: in my reckless and wild youth, I used to end relationships and friendships and other ships prematurely, always filled with a sense that I'd like to leave the party before someone asked me to leave. Honestly, I'd convinced myself that I was a commitment-phobe and that I was destined to grow old and alone and bitter because I would never be able to cure my restless heart. I still have that feeling --that sense that I'm a dark, dark, lonely soul, a slave to my own wanderlust and craving for solitude.

Except, well, as I was sitting there and the heavens began to fall in wet clumps of snow and ice, I realized that:

I am a 44 year old woman.

Driving a mini-van which was filled with food to make a week's worth of lunches for my two daughters, one of whom will soon be eleven years old.

And that I was driving back to my house on the hill -- the lights were beckoning and the fireplace cheerfully ablaze-- to my partner of the last thirteen years with whom I am still madly in love.

And that actually? All I really know is how to STAY.

Yup. The psyche ought to receive some sort of periodic updates. Maybe Bill Gates could get to work on that.


Mary Ellen said…
I just love this post. I sometimes wonder how I got here, to this life I lead, when it was not what I always thought it would be.

You said it beautifully.
STQ said…
I agree with you, Barb, and with you Mary Ellen too! I often think back on the crazy journey my life has been and say that very thing. How did I get here? And while my life is not exactly what I thought it would be when I believed in princesses and happily ever after, it's been a good one, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Mama Ava said…
Just perfect. For everyone who searches for change and adventure and "freedom" (whatever that means), I say...hop in my mini-van, clear a space at the dining room table, shove the pets off the couch, and see how fantastically wonderful the "other" is.

We know.
Unknown said…
I had this feeling last week when my husband pointed out we will have lived in our current house for 5 years very soon. I was like NO! we're two year people, then we move on and up! But that changed when we had the boy, I feel settled now, and I kinda like it. just wish I had settled closer to my mom and dad
Miri said…
So the miracle, to me, is finding the family who moves on *with* you. The transitions and changes and earthquakes of life are so much better with loved ones who experience the same things... births, cross-country moves, birthdays, lunch dates.
Susan said…
As time goes on you will likely hear your children express these things - no wish for husband or fear of having children...I think it is part of the psyche of a great many of us.

Very nice post.
MadMad said…
Oh, what a great post! It is a dark and scary place in my mind, too.
Katie said…
I'm all for updating. This old software of mine is really dragging.
DK said…
I love that idea. But knowing how often Windows crashes, I'm not letting Bill Gates anywhere NEAR my crashes enough as it is!!

Welcome to 44. And ps - Retrospective, and Leaving, are among my very favorites, too.