Today was actually a fairly typical Saturday off, even if it was meant to be my first day of ‘holidays.’
I slept in, spent part of the morning in my pyjamas, while sipping tea and doing dishes, and pottering around the house. Later I got dressed, went out and ran a few errands, came home, did some cleaning, washing and so on. I even did some mending.
Mat came home from work for a few hours and watched the Grand Final, and then headed back out to work. So I did a couple of hours of gardening. I cleaned the dog yard, and took away two wheelbarrows of weeds (with still more to go!) from the flower garden. When the sun started to set I came back inside.
I often spend one day on the weekend more or less by myself, and I usually don’t mind the time alone because it’s ‘me time’ – I do what I like at the pace I want.
But today it really settled on me how lonely a day like that can be.
And that’s when I started to think about the life my grandmother, and for so many years even my mother, lived.
I can reflect now on how it would have been, as Grandpa got up and would head out after breakfast, work till lunch, sometimes come in for lunch, head out again, and come back in for dinner.
What did Grandma do all day? How did she stay busy? And how did she stave off loneliness?
There’s only so much cleaning you can do before you totally get sick of it. Crafts, baking, gardening, reading, and daytime TV can only supply so much stimulation. She must have made a point of calling friends, or having people over. Surely she didn’t just sit alone every day waiting for Grandpa to come home for a meal?
Though today, that is in fact what I did.
Today, late in the afternoon, as I was weeding away, I started to feel lonely. But instead of calling a friend, I just waited for Mat to come home.
I have these odd thoughts that somehow calling a friend is an imposition on their time, or that somehow I should not feel lonely and that I am being weak by wanting the company of another person.
Ironically, when Mat came home we didn’t really spend a huge lot of time talking or sharing. In fact, it was more just knowing that he was there that was most comforting. It’s not like I had a lot to say or talk about, but more that we are sharing this space together, and therefore we are not alone.
Sorry for the downer post. I was just reflecting on how I felt for a few minutes today, and the fact that I had time to realise that I am quite grateful to have a job and people around me most of the time, and how very different life could be.
The big positive for today is that not only did I clean the house, but I also did a couple hours of gardening, and though it wasn’t totally vigorous, it was enough for me to work up a sweat.
So I am giving myself a pat on the back.
Exercise day 1 of 7 – check!